Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Courtney Love’s comeback an exercise in brevity

By Dean Goodman
April 23, 2010

For a woman who usually has too much to say, Courtney Love made a daring choice in favor of succinctness as the colorful rocker kicked off a U.S. concert tour in Hollywood on Thursday to promote her band Hole’s first album in 12 years.

CourtneyHole’s show at the Music Box @ Fonda theater (a 1,200-capacity venue where the band was set to play another sold-out gig on Friday) came in at an economical 51 minutes, including an admirably speedy two-minute costume change before a pair of encores. The call sheet had scheduled the band for 90 minutes.

“That felt short, right?” she said, after returning to the stage with guitarist Micko Larkin for the final song, an acoustic version of “Northern Star,” a tune from the band’s previous release, 1998′s “Celebrity Skin.”

Love, 45, struggled with her in-ear monitor for most of the show, but battled on gamely with her trusty Rickenbacker. Fans nostalgic for the good ol’ days of stage-dives and crotch shots had to satisfy themselves with rusty renderings of Hole oldies such as “Doll Parts” and “Violet” delivered in her trademark plaintive nasal drawl. Love clearly was not thrilled with her performance, and even apologized after singing “Miss World.”

The set included a handful of tracks from the new album “Nobody’s Daughter,” which comes out next week. Offerings included the riotous first single “Skinny Little Bitch” and the wistful “Pacific Coast Highway,” a sequel of sorts to the “Celebrity Skin” single “Malibu,” which also got a dusting off. Love¬†even attempted a pair of Rolling Stones covers, “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Play with Fire,” a song her hero Mick Jagger could have been singing about her.

Love is the only constant in Hole, a band that rose to mainstream fame in the early 1990s on the coattails of Love’s husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. After his suicide 16 years ago, Love took over as the goddess of grunge, rightfully earning fame and fortune in her own right with the Hole albums “Live Through This” (1994) and “Celebrity Skin.” She also released a solo album in 2004 to little notice. Love’s star had waned by then as drug problems, custody battles involving the couple’s daughter and financial woes took their toll.

Judging by Thursday’s performance, Love’s latest comeback is on a wobbly footing. But a Marianne Faithfull-style renaissance remains¬†within her grasp.

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