SXSW Music: Hole at the Dirty Dog

After having my mind blown by Foxy Shazam, Courtney Love and the band she is calling ‘Hole’ were up next. The venue was easily at capacity as getting to the bathroom had become a journey all it’s own. Obviously people were excited to see the “reformed” band going by the name Hole.

As the crowd continually packed in closer to the stage the once comfortable room had begun to get a bit crowded and personal space became an illusion. As the setup for the band dragged on, the female-strong crowd was growing impatient. The clock was showing well past midnight with the venue quickly on it’s way to last call. I was beginning to wonder if the show was going to go down at all, or turn into the catastrophe that, I’ll be honest, is part of what drew me to it.

As if from nowhere, and reading my mind suddenly Courtney Love appeared on stage; looking a bit like a hippie pixie. Say what you will about the various rumors of plastic surgery and drug use but for her age she looked pretty damn good and coherent. Further she still has her voice, well sort of. This was the second of two Hole shows that day. Being well into Saturday morning, Love made one thing immediately clear to the audience, this wasn’t for the crowd in attendance, it was for her. This would become something of a recurring theme that she would remind us of a couple more times during the show. Oh and she told us we were number one before getting into her set, or maybe she was flipping me off?

In what would be a mostly down tempo set, Love would throw banter in between each song. Not in attendance was any real growl or yell which can be some what common place in Hole’s body of work. Outside of Love’s quips, the music was mostly devoid of the fangs of even the new single, Skinny Little Bitch from Nobody’s Daughter. It was there faintly in the beginning but would quickly go away after Bitch was performed. The fangs did pop out in regard to the hour, Love observed that is was 1AM, said it was late, she was old and it was time to get her blowjob on. Further she mentioned that her hotel room allowed smoking but due to the AC her vocals weren’t with her and she was blown out. Thus, she was saving her voice for the Perez Hilton showcase the following night so as to not piss off the notorious celeb whore gossip blogger extraordinaire. This would lead into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman, which Hole covered on The Crow 2 Soundtrack.

For a set and show that started out with such enthusiasm it would certainly peter out in the end. The final couple of songs would include a Hole track, Northern Star and another cover, Bette Davis’ Eyes. The Stone’s No Sympathy for the Devil was covered early in the set. At the end, Love proclaimed it to be her worst show ever before jumping into the crowd and surfing back to the bar. A bit of pandemonium erupted at this point as every one attempted to get close to Love and or one of the other celebrities that were in attendance. It wasn’t long before bouncers began showing people toward the door and into the night to contemplate the highs and lows of the show.

Was it the worst show ever? Not quite in my estimation. I’ve seen plenty worse, and it wasn’t the train wreck I was cautiously worried it might be. The band that Love had assembled behind her and called Hole is solid but doesn’t have that ’90’s grunge look, all with the exception of guitarist Micko Larkin had too much of that ‘hired studio gun’ look going on. Love proved, as the first single she has released since some time in the early 2000’s that “Nobody’s Daughter” still has it.

I give Hole at the Dirty Dog 2.5 “ZOMG, WOODY FUCKIN’ HARRELSON’s” out of 5

By John Coovert

According to the setlist on the stage, The Setlist was supposed to go as follows:

Codine
Pretty/Sympathy/Skinny
Doll Parts
Honey Malibu
Gold Dust Woman
Celebrity Skin
Sunday Morning
Northern Star/Suffer
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