Courtney Love Slays It At Bristol’s O2 Academy
I was introduced to Hole through the protests of adolescent boys who were viciously defending the legacy of Loves troubled late husband, Kurt Cobain. She was referenced as a cautionary tale (at best) and a contemporary Lady Macbeth (at worst)… I loved her.
Looking to make my first purchase, I travelled with a friend to a record shop a couple of towns away with a larger selection than our usual haunts and was advised to pick up a copy of ‘Live Through This’. At first listen, I was hooked. Hole’s bile, bitterness, aggression and raw unbridled wit and angst took no prisoners, preferring to bash their heads in and loot them for change. I had soon plundered their back catalogue and still know most of the bands music off by heart.
In the years that followed, I continued to watch, listen and collect even through Love’s disastrous ‘Letterman years’ and cheered from the sidelines for the oft maligned American Sweetheart.
To finally bare witness to Courtney in the flesh was a dream come true – especially considering she was playing a rare gig on home turf.
So, how did it go?
Well, let’s start at the beginning…. A very good place to start…
‘Wedding Day’, B-Side to Love’s latest release, kicked off the proceedings. Chronicling the end of a relationship, by all accounts much to Courtney’s surprise, the tone is set for the evening – We aren’t picking over the bones here, we’re dancing on the grave! Love’s backing band, featuring Ginger of the Wildhearts fame, were tight and enjoyed playful banter with the ‘Violet’ singer as they slugged through songs culled from both the solo and Hole back catalogue. ‘Miss World’ followed, perking up a sluggish crowd, who practically drowned out Love during the first chorus and, as Love belted out the refrain ‘I’ve made my bed, I’ll DIE in it’ she seemed no less sarcastic or bruised than upon first listen.
In spite of calling out Bristol for being slightly quieter than expected (I put this down to being a hazy Monday evening) Courtney enjoyed an intimate atmosphere and not a single member of the audience was seen mute during reprisals of ‘Plump’ or ‘Reasons to be Beautiful’. Tracks from Hole’s Nobody’s Daughter album such as ‘Skinny Little Bitch’ received just as much applause as standards from ’94’s Live Through This or ’98’s Celebrity Skin.
Cover songs infamous to Hole fans such as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’ rang out to the audience later and were followed shortly after by blistering return single, ‘You Know My Name’ and (To be expected…) ‘Celebrity Skin’.
And so, the self-styled queen of rock, rages on. Her voice rasps and rips, howls and hollers. New T-Shirts feature her image as the famous Gorgon of Greek mythology, or proudly declare her as monarchy, enthroned atop the needle spire and cocaine addled alternative. She has bitten and chewed her way to the top and looked every bit the pro tonight from the minute she graced the stage to the last notes of encores ‘Northern Star’ and ‘Doll Parts’. It’s not been an easy ride but, a woman such as Courtney Love has never been one to bow down to disgrace and god, how this bitch loves her for it!
Here’s to you Courtney…
VIVA LE QUEEN OF ROCK! COURTNEY POR VIDA!