Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Asking For It
I booked the tickets to see "Hole" at Shepherd's Bush last week with a considerable degree of trepidation. Not the most reliable of performers at the best of times, this was Hole with only one original member. You know the one. Blonde. Shouty. Bonkers. You know.
And it really was the Courtney show. In response to chants of "Courtney! Courtney!" from the inevitably fanatical crowd, she replied "No! Not Courtney. Hole! We are a band." Hmmm. That remains to be seen. And I must confess, the cynical part of me was expecting disaster: either a no-show or a shambles, but Love was there, and they did a full set (aided by a teleprompter it must be said. Cringe.) And at times, between the rants and flirtation with the crowd and rest of the band, Courtney looked... almost... doddery. I mean, how ridiculous that a woman in her 40's should struggle to strap on her own guitar. But...
And that's just it. BUT. She still has it. She might be reading the words off a screen, fronting the grunge equivalent of a bunch of Sleeperblokes, but when she unleashes that voice it suddenly makes sense again. The old songs still have the same venom to them. The set feels all too brief and misses out some of my favourites (no 'Asking For It', 'Teenage Whore', 'Awful' or 'Boys On The Radio'), but 'Pretty On The Inside', 'Doll Parts' and 'Celebrity Skin' are blistering. And a sublime 'Reasons To Be Beautiful' is the highlight of the evening.
The new material feels like new material, yet a bit more of the same, really. None of the songs stood out, but then they rarely do in such circumstances. A fresh jazz-funk direction was always somewhat unlikely. They sound like Hole songs. But therein lies the root of my unease. Can you still scream out these angst filled anthems into middle age? At what point does Glorious Disaster become a bit... sad?
I mean, lest we forget, Hole's last original output was 12 years ago. Twelve years ago! And very little seems to have changed since then, other than mounting plastic surgery bills. Surely there has to be some kind of progress, some sort of maturity, some degree of closure? I mean, 12 years ago, I was a mess with no idea where my life was going and seemingly completely incapable of maintaining any kind of long term stable relationship. And now, I'm... I'm...
As you were, Courtney, as you were...
And Ten Songs to disaster gloriously to:
1. Be Your Own Pet - Becky
2. The Walkmen - The Rat
3. Beach House - Lover Of Mine
4. Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To?
5. Ringo Deathstarr - In Love
6. Spiritualized - Baby I'm Just A Fool
7. Cymbals Eat Guitars - ...And The Hazy Sea
8. Crystal Stilts - Love Is A Wave
9. Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
10. Los Campesinos! - A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or, Letters from Me to Charlotte
Never a dull moment.