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Courtney Love leads Hole through disastrous 9:30 Club concert

courtney loveWe saw Hole at 9:30 Club on Sunday. And we somehow lived through it. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By David Malitz

"You get the Bruce Springsteen set, sorry."

Courtney Love muttered those words at some point during Hole's show Sunday night at the 9:30 Club. It's hard to remember exactly when. Time seemed to stand still for so much of the evening. If she meant that we were in for a nearly three-hour concert, then yes, her statement was true. If she meant that we would experience a well-oiled rock-and-roll machine and everybody would leave feeling satisfied they got their money's worth ... let's come back to that one.

It's safe to say the people yelling "Bull[expletive]! This is bull[expletive]!" didn't feel like their $45 was well spent. There were more than a handful of patrons shouting and cursing at the endlessly controversial, occasionally coherent 45-year-old rock trainwreck. Many more simply headed for the exits. Three-quarters-filled at the start, the club was no more than a quarter packed by the excruciating end.

Make no mistake - this was an astonishingly awful performance that had few moments of redeeming musical value. Song titles, lyrics, guitar chords - Love remembered only some of them, and infrequently. Then again, what was really the best-case musical scenario? A competent recreation of songs more than a decade old, played by Love and her latest hired hands? Is that what people wanted to see - Courtney karaoke versions of '90s MTV buzz clips? Maybe. But probably not. Perhaps a bit more professionalism would have been nice but in 2010 you pay your $45 hoping for the Courtney Love Experience. And Sunday night was an experience like no other.

(The painful blow-by-blow, after the jump.)

courtney love

courtney love

She took the stage nearly an hour past the advertised 9:30 start time, smoking a cigarette, rambling for a minute about how she was late because she had just been hanging out with a senator friend. (Leave your best guesses in the comments.) She also introduced an assistant, Lisa, who was on stage for the entire show filming Love on an iPhone. Not on the side of the stage. Not filming a few songs. The entire show, on stage, often directly in front of Love. Love, naturally, played to the camera more than her fans. She preened, she constantly sang in its direction, she looked like she was trying to seduce it. Love and Lisa huddled before, during and after songs, conferring about what angles to shoot, like they were Bogdanovich and Kovacs.

When one fan near the front complained that Lisa was being obstructive Love quickly snapped, "[Expletive] you, she's with me." She introduced "Someone Else's Bed" as a "deeply emotional song" and spent the first 30 seconds of it instructing Lisa where to situate herself to get the best angle of Love giving it her faux-heartfelt best.

The between song chatter was more than just chatter. Ten minutes without playing a song? Sure, let's do that a few times. She talked about her courting style ("I never chase"), being anorexic and bulimic, quizzed fans on the meaning of her late husband Kurt Cobain's lyrics, twice mentioned how The Washington Post hated her new album "Nobody's Daughter," and name-dropped a "TMZ" episode's worth of celebrities, from Trent Reznor to Diablo Cody to George Clooney, even Douglas Fairbanks. She asked what the lamest Hole song was and cursed at people when they gave the wrong answer.

courtney love

When Love got around to singing, her voice sounded as if something died in her throat earlier in the day. Love has a blood-curdling howl, by far her most effective asset as a performer. She just should have used it more on Sunday. During the choruses of "Miss World" and "Violet" - two of her best and most popular songs - she turned the microphone to the crowd and didn't even bother singing. Other times she skipped lines in order to cough, or take a sip of water or just ... not sing. Of the nearly 30 songs (or song fragments), not even a handful were completed without some minor disaster.

Love took a request for "Rock Star" despite admitting she didn't remember how to play it. She stumbled through half the song without strumming anything resembling one correct chord. (Why didn't she just Google the tablature on the iPhone?) She played a new song, "Pretty Your Whole Life." It was bad. Half an hour later she played it again. It was worse.

Love eventually decided to have some of her fans join her on stage. She started plucking some from the crowd and they simply sat off to the side. "Do you really like rock music?" she asked one female. "Because you're African-American. That would be like me being into Lil Wayne." She wasn't joking. One fan came on stage with a poster and asked Love to sign it. "No socializing interaction! Go sit over there."

courtney love

Before the encore another one of Love's handlers told the remaining faithful that they would have to be loud because there was someone who was waiting to have sex with Love and it would take lots of applause to get her to delay that appointment. Sure enough Love did re-emerge, this time wearing a skin-colored see-through top, sans bra. It would have been blurred out on TV, even on E!

She quickly became self-conscious and asked the audience for a bra, promising unlimited merchandise to whoever gave her one. One came flying onto the stage and Love removed her top to put it on. She did this at the back corner of the stage, so we could only see her bare back. She then repeatedly talked about how the bra was too big for her.

The encore contained a Rolling Stones cover (the second of the night), a Leonard Cohen cover ("Take This Longing") and the back-to-back of originals "Car Crash" and "Awful." Was this irony or were we well past that? Most of her backing band had retired for the night by this point leaving Love and guitarist Micko Larkin alone on stage. Then came a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen" that likely had Alex Chilton doing 360s in his grave. Before closer "Northern Star" she ripped off the bra. Obviously. It's actually somewhat surprising she didn't play Nirvana's "Pennyroyal Tea" while completely topless.

"This is a really weird show," Love said in perhaps the understatement of the night a bit earlier. "I can't tell if it's really terrible."

Courtney, let me tell you something. In just the past year and a half, I've been to about 400 shows. I've seen some really terrible ones. And this was really the most terrible. No question. But the vast majority of those 400 shows, I went there, I saw it, and almost immediately forgot I was there. I'll never forget this night with Courtney Love, no matter how much I may want to. And isn't that really what she's always wanted?

courtney love

courtney love

By David Malitz  |  June 28, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Courtney Love, Hole  
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Next: The week ahead: Sleigh Bells come to Washington; The-Dream drops "Love King," visits "Kimmel"


Senator = Roland Burris
Post-show sex partner = Roland Burris (and/or Lisa)

Posted by: BabyStew | June 28, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

This review was fantastic. Thank you. I can't believe Kurt Cobain was with this chick...

Posted by: steampunk | June 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

That's not an IPhone, it's a Flip.

Her 15 minutes were over 15 years ago.

Posted by: ana1ana2 | June 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Rumor has it she was with Robert Byrd last night

Posted by: meeper_99 | June 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

wow, that sounds amazing. I wish i was there.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 28, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It was an iPhone.

Posted by: leafblower | June 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I mean did people really think that they were going to get a good show with this waste of a human being? You would've been better off going to a Tupac and Biggie concert.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, over in Columbia MD the greatest live band in the history of music was making thousands of people feel alive and in love with music.

Posted by: drinaldi | June 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

This was without a doubt the most fun concert I have been to. Was it the most technically good? Heck No, but this was Courtney Love. I don't need to see a performer flawlessly run through a set list with a few sentences in between, I can listen to the album at home. The crazy anecdotes between songs were long rambling, and very interesting for fans. Stories about Kurt, Linda Perry, George Clooney, Corgan, Reznor might have been name dropping, but they were fun stories giving some interesting insight into Love's life. Train wreck? Sure. Did I get my money's worth? More than enough. After the late start I was worried my wife would want to leave early (she's a hole fan, but has an early morning job). After the first 30 minutes I asked her how late she was willing to stay out, and she replied "If it keeps going like this, I'll stay out all night".

There were indeed people booing, but they were the same people yelling "Play freebird" between songs, so I wrote them off. How is that joke still funny? If you came to Hole expecting the height of professionalism, you were disappointed. I came expecting some great music, with some interesting spectacle in between, and I rewarded greatly. The best show of the year for me, and probably the decade.

Posted by: mikes8 | June 28, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Dang. I know you said Lisa was right up in there, but....
That last photo shows she's....well, right up in there.

Posted by: PlanetFlorida | June 28, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree that it was Robert Byrd. Upon meeting her, he must have felt such great sorrow for the world that he no longer had the strength to be a part of it and departed for the great coal mogul's country club in the sky.

Posted by: MyPostID27 | June 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

best review EVER!

Posted by: aka583 | June 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This was the worst concert I have ever been too. I admit I left early in disgust, but if it was a continuation of the first 3/4 of the show, it was excruciatingly painful to watch. Is is so wrong to expect a little bit of professionalism and a bit of good music for your money even if it is Courtney Love? I really like the new album, so I was so naively looking forward to it along with the old material I love as well. The chick with the camera filming her was so annoying I wanted to throw something at her, but that would be mean and illegal of course. I'm surprised it didnt' happen. I felt like I was in a basement watching Courtney babble and practice. The Senator reason for her being so late; I almost puked on that one after eating the 9:30 club Macho Nachos because I was waiting so long.

Posted by: atietze | June 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

How sad. The only time I ever saw her was in the movie where she played Larry Flynt's drug-addicted wife, and she was powerfully great. I guess it wasn't too big a stretch for her.

Thanks for an excellent review of a memorable exhibition.

Posted by: pundito | June 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

All of a sudden Yoko doesn't seem so bad...

Posted by: HughJassPhD | June 28, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

who goes to a HOLE show expecting anything other than a train wreck?? she gave the people/tabloids/critics... exactly what she is famous for... i loved it..


Posted by: suicide_blond | June 28, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Your pain is our gain. Very amusing and candid review.

Posted by: mlc5556 | June 28, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Okay, sure I was a little frustrated by the wait too, but I agree with Mikes8 assessment. How can you be a true Hole fan or know anything about Courtney Love and expect anything different than what you got last night? She completely lived up to my expectations. I definitely got my money’s worth and believe it was a true one-of-a-kind show. I’m glad that I didn’t miss it. A little rough around the edges? Sure – but so what! At first I was a little disappointed by the lack of singing, but she got it together and provided some kick butt entertainment. She is who she is – bold, brash, impulsive, crude, and beautiful in her own way. I thought the concert was GREAT exactly because it was not so perfect.

Posted by: StephA1 | June 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the facts of the review, but not the expectations. I bought my ticket knowing this show could have been a train wreck. I was impressed Courtney Love's level of coherence (knowing it could have been close to zero). I thought it was a high energy and highly enjoyable show. I love that she brought fans on stage. The looks on their faces clearly showed they were having a fantastic time. David Malitz is correct that the show had its technical flaws, but I wasn't looking for a perfect performance, just an enjoyable one. I think Love gave it. I wouldn't attribute the disappearance of much of the crowd to the performance, but the hour. The show ended just after 1 a.m. That's pretty late for a lot of people who probably had to get to work early Monday morning.

Posted by: MathewF | June 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I had heard that Hole stunned the crowd by not sucking at SXSW, occasionally even rocking hard. Still, I expected very little - she would play some songs, a mix of old and new. Surely her voice wouldn't sound as good as it used to, or how it sounds after getting sweetened after multiple takes in the studio, but that's OK. I expected she would have a set list, or at least be able to quickly pick the next song to play. And that she would know most of the lyrics and chords to her own songs.

Expectations: not met. I finally left as she started introducing her last song. This review really captured the whole flavor of the evening: "trackwreck" ... "Of the nearly 30 songs (or song fragments), not even a handful were completed without some minor disaster." ... "I'll never forget this night with Courtney Love, no matter how much I may want to." Nicely done.

BTW, I believe her line was "no interaction" when a fan on-stage decided to ask for an autograph. I loved the jackasses on stage taking pictures and making crazy poses in the background of Love's personal video vamping, it would have been classless and inconsiderate if that hadn't been exactly the same way Courtney herself behaved all evening.

It was like, as she put it, "a practice session with a bunch of strangers in the room." Except it was supposed to be an actual, organized performance. The bull session she did instead was incredibly sloppy even we were, instead, just hanging with her while she noodled around.

Posted by: ddowhan | June 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

You can find videos on the internet of people eating feces. They are not forced to do that. They like it. That's what they want. Going to a Love show is like eating feces for feces-eating people.

Posted by: garyr2 | June 28, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This article pretty much says it all. I left after Doll Parts, only because the rest of my party wanted to leave. I wish I had tomatoes with me. I also wish that someone from the crowd yelled something so offense that Courtney jumped in the crowd to beat them up. That would have made for a great show.

Posted by: Applesauce20011 | June 28, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

>>BTW, I believe her line was "no interaction" when a fan on-stage decided to ask for an autograph.

Yes, that was it! Thank you, ddowhan. Couldn't read the chicken scratch on my notepad. One of many moments that cracked me up...

Posted by: DavidMalitz | June 28, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't have written the review any better myself. My feelings are mixed. The one thing that was missing from the review is how amazing their opener, Foxy Shazam, was. They put on a hell of a show! VERY fun and entertaining (eating lit cigarettes, jumping on keyboards and breaking one over the Freddie Mercury-esque singer's face all while belting out amazing vocals).

I will say that people who left before the second half of Hole's set missed out. She did seem to pull herself together the later the night went on and really screamed her guts out for us who sat through the slow motion train wreck performance.

Posted by: shawful | June 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

You know what's really old? Reading defamatory drivel about Love online. This sounds like a great show, and I have no idea why you have to make every single thing about it sound so negative. Something personal, maybe? COurtney's shows are always off the cuff and unpredictable, that's what makes them exciting. She gave you a three-hour performance, and all you can do is bitch about it? The only thing lamer than this review is the lame comments people posted in response.

Posted by: glamrocktiger | June 28, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

She was more or less acting like a poor man's Kathy Griffith. She said that her "gays" are real and Kathy's are fake. Not to mention all the name dropping. And that awful cover of "Closer" by NIN.

Posted by: Applesauce20011 | June 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Courtney should have given it up after she ran out of songs Kurt Cobain wrote for Hole. Which was about 15 years ago. The Whitney comparisons are not apt, everyone knew Courtney was a drug addled piece of garbage from day 1, too bad KC was such a weak MF that he couldn't tell her to hit the highway. Only thing Courtney is good for is Foo Fighter hate-song fodder.

Posted by: dgb100 | June 28, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

That's Kathy Griffin, not Griffith. My apologies to Ms. Griffin, who I wish would have performed last night rather than Ms. Love.

Posted by: Applesauce20011 | June 28, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

That is so sad. Got to see her when she played in NYC. It was an amazing show...really pulled together. Glad I skipped the show last night.

Posted by: jayfred | June 28, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I held on until "Sunset Marquis" (and glad I did b/c if I'd stayed for her covering Big Star, I probably would have cried over her mangling of such a great band's work). But does anyone recall the song one or two before it? It was actually pretty and one of the few I recall her being able to complete start to finish.

Posted by: ericalbruce | June 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like people got what they paid for. If you like those kind of carrying on and self-obsessed antics which Love has always been about and think that that's rock and roll then you were probably satisfied. If you're silly enough to waste $45 thinking you were going to go to a well-played and professional show I guess you got what was coming to you. It ain't the Opera here.

Posted by: nvamikeyo | June 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Um, B4DarkDC?? I've re-posted your incoherent statement, spelled correctly. Geezus, don't rant about white people while making your own race look completely ILLITERATE!!

"And the white folks want to talk about and put their foot on Whitney Houston.

White America, I hope YOU'RE proud of your product of society. DRUGGED out, looks like she's carrying multiple diseases, and best of all, you were foolish enough to pay to see it."

Posted by: sigmagrrl | June 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the rest of the band -- I kept looking at the drummer who seemed LIVID most of the time. He kept making these "eh, whatever" faces to the bass player before they both walked off.

I was pretty disappointed by the show. I had seen Hole back in 93 or 94 and it was one of the best shows ever. When she could rock she really brought the house down. Now she looks like a clown and acts like an aging star... I've lost interest!

Posted by: savorypork | June 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It is ALWAYS the women who get the worst press for being sleazes and druggies and whatever. I bet Kurt had some BAD shows -- and I know for sure, this phenomenon is NOT new, Jim Morrison certainly did, Van Morrison also. And many others. But they never caught NEARLY as much static from the critics as Courtney and Lindsay Lohan and other females do----

Posted by: tzigane1 | June 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

None of you are mentioning opener Foxy Shazam. Foxy Shazam was tight as hooker pants and rocked. Adam Lambert, tonight, would have been buried by these glam monsters.

Courtney Love and Hole sucked and I thought the drummer was going to quit right there, but they did have a few good moments early. I left with Applesauce at "Doll Parts;" can't believe they "played" so much afterward. The review is right about the show, but I had a really good time -- terrific crowd, even though there were way too many enslaved by their handheld devices -- until I had to get away from her.

p.s. - Speaking of handheld devices, somebody should have knocked that Lisa chick right off the stage.

Posted by: bckstrtch | June 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

What I dont get is you all actually paid $45 to see a train wreck... since her fat assistant was filming it... it will be on you tube :) I know what to expect from Hole and Courtney love... it is why I stayed home and did not waste my money :)

Posted by: rvanags | June 28, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

It's Courtney Love, is anyone really surprised?

Posted by: RichinVA | June 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"Love has a blood-curdling howl, by far her most effective asset as a performer"


Posted by: cbmuzik | June 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Seattle and currently listening to Ella Fitzgerald's 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' on KPLU. Real singer. Real music. I love LOUD, DISTORTED guitars by people that can actually play them. Courtney rode Cobain's one-hit-wonder bs as long as she could. Now she should go away.

Posted by: Mitchavery7 | June 28, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

People paid money to see Courtney Love?

Barnum was correct.

Posted by: rmlwj1 | June 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I attended this show and the review is right on the mark, if even slightly forgiving. I didn't expect a completely tight show, but in 30 years of concert going, I never saw such a horrible show devoid of even one good musical moment or moment of good showmanship (and that includes free concerts that I have attended). Dropped verses, dropped lyrics, the incessant chatter, the amazingly annoying video thing in which her assistant was engaging (reason enough just there for outrage and a bad review). Finally, after sticking it out for two hours and the show plummeting further into the depths I left. Funny how when taking a break outside or when I left, EVERYONE, to a person, was cursing, outraged, disgusted, etc. What is even more outrageous was that each of us paid $45 (and for internet - handling fees of $9 on top) to see perhaps one of the worst shows ever and easily the worst show that the 9:30 has ever had on stage (and I am including the old 9:30 in that assessment). I think that the 9:30 should send an e-mail apology and a FULL REFUND to anyone who attend this sham of a show. As to the person who noted that band - it appeared that they actually wanted to play and were getting more and more angry with her - even the road crew was getting annoyed. It is almost impossible to find words to describe how bad this show was - just unbelievably terrible.

Posted by: fwillyhess | June 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If you were an actual Hole fan, and you were at last night's show, you were creaming your pants because of how effing amazing it was. Courtney was beautiful (moreso than I expected and definitely moreso than those horrible pictures this publication chose to display of her show), she was mesmerizing. She engaged her fans, took requests from the audience, played old faves and new faves, and showed us her boobs for christ's sake!!! She was coherent and charming and... Courtney. I thought the informality of it all made it that much more intimate. If you hate her or hate her band, well then you're an idiot for paying $45 to see it. Way to go David Malitz for writing a completely biased article. Snoozefest. It reeks of chauvinistic unrealistic expectations. If she would have gotten on stage and sang like Kelly Clarkson, you'd be writing about how boring she was. She's a rockstar. You never know what you're going to get at a Hole show. Sometimes she comes out, plays half a song, someone pisses her off, and she bounces. Last night she poured her heart out in a very intimate setting and gave her true fans an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Sorry you didn't get your organized, choreographed Miley Cyrus show. The reason Courtney's fans are so diehard is because she is a woman in rock who refuses to be anything else but herself and doesn't apologize for it. And she shouldn't. Because she's awesome.

Posted by: lkomatinsky | June 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, last night I watched "VH1's Behind The Music", featuring "Courtney Love". Please folks, go easy - this woman is so terribly damanged. Before viewing the program all I knew of her was tabloid fodder and that her husband committed suicide - that's just the tip of the iceberg. She is more then a "trainwreck", she's a trainwreck in slow motion - very painful to watch. For those of you that call yourselves "fans", you knew exactly what to expect so stop acting shocked.

Posted by: walonika | June 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

But, was it an iPhone 4 ?

Posted by: dezlboy1 | June 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Surprising that people actually pay to see/hear that cr**p.

Posted by: ceefer66 | June 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

For those of you posting things along these lines: "who goes to a HOLE show expecting anything other than a train wreck?? she gave the people/tabloids/critics... exactly what she is famous for... i loved it," then I have to say that I expected more. Courtney's always been a mess and a lightning rod for controversy. However, she always had the music and gave amazing rockstar shows (I've been to all her DC-area appearances, so I know). This trainwreck of a show was not what I expected. It was a mess. She didn't even try to sing and spent the whole night preening before the camera. I expected the chatter, we've always gotten that, but I didn't expect a lack of music. That's what really sucked. If you enjoyed the show, you're an enable.

Posted by: Madgrrl70 | June 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"lkomanitsky" must have been held down by the patriarchy or something, because saying Courtney Love sucks doesn't mean you don't appreciate women in rock. But part of rocking requires, you know, actual talent besides whipping your breasts out on stage.

If you're so desperate to support "women in rock," I suggest you find women who actually do know how to rock, rather than ride the coattails of their now deceased husbands. See: Janis Joplin, The Dresden Dolls, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, the ladies of the Arcade Fire, etc.

If you have the hots for Courtney, fine, but please don't pretend it has anything to do with the quality of her music. Please.

Posted by: NattyBo1985 | June 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

If young people can't learn from the likes of Courtney Love, they are doomed. And now she is just ripping off fans and doesn't care.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 28, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised she didn't launch into her "Britney was molested" story that she repeatedly blurts out on twitter over and over - in an effort to justify her feeling towards her daughter being removed by the same judge overseeing Britney's case.

I'd pay 45.00 for a pap smear over this mess.

Posted by: PoorBritney | June 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, over in Columbia MD the greatest live band in the history of music was making thousands of people feel alive and in love with music.

Posted by: drinaldi | June 28, 2010 11:29 --------------------------------------------

Eh'.... not so much. Feeding Trey's ego for another run or so does not constitute being "the greatest live band in the history of music."

Posted by: lingering_lead | June 28, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Why would anybody actually pay to see Courtney Love in the first place? Even in her so called "prime" I wouldn't have seen her if SHE paid me.

Posted by: ASW02 | June 28, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

so it wasn't a tight show and she forgot some words. yeah, the camera girl pissed me off, but i had a blast. i love courtney, and everyone knows she's erratic and you never know what you're gonna get. i saw the terminal 5 show, which was a tight set, no mistakes, and was only an hour. i had WAY more fun at this show. 3 hours, she was having a good time, and if you're a true hole fan, there is NO way you didn't enjoy yourself. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Posted by: arogin | June 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

And over on 9:30's facebook page Courtney is yelling at people who dared to complain about the show. Seriously. I have to give her credit, it is by far the most coherent internet posting I've ever seen from her.

I wasn't at the 9:30 show but I have seen Hole before. Ya know, when they were Hole. She wasn't as much of a mess then, and the rest of the band seemed to be able to keep her in check. It was a great show. With full songs and stuff. Sounds like I would have been disappointed in last nights show, but, I kinda would've expected it.

Posted by: NotForYou1 | June 28, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

You have my deepest sympathies….I cannot believe that you or anyone else stayed for the entire show. My sister and I saw Hole in the same space on 09/28/94 when it was WUST Music Hall. If last night’s show had been half of what it was in ’94 we all would have had a decent time. However, just thinking about last night makes by chest tighten up. Absolutely, hands down, the WORST CONCERT EVER….or as I put it in a text to my husband, thirty minutes into the show, “This is the worst self indulgent sh*t I have ever witnessed”. I could go on, but it is making me physically sick to think about it. I am just glad I didn’t buy a t-shirt before the show started, as I might have been charged with arson when I burned it in the back alley.

Posted by: greta71 | June 28, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

How Cobain checked out and left his infant with this trainwreck is a mystery. It's bad enough to commit suicide when you have a child; it's unspeakable to leave a defenseless child with someone this horrific.

Posted by: pepperjade | June 28, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Who even cares.... anyone that actually paid to see her deserves what they got, which was nothing.

Posted by: JMACSR | June 28, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Great review! It may have been a terrible concert, but how often can you experience something so gloriously disastrous? I wish I could have been there!

Posted by: via2005 | June 28, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

If you want to see a woman rock, you should have been at the Concrete Blonde show earlier this month. Johnette Napolitano knows how to ROCK. She sings, plays bass, and writes incredible lyrics.

Posted by: EconGirl2 | June 28, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

As to posters above who say, "you aren't a real Hole fan" or the same ilk, you either are delusional, or are a member of Courtney's entourage who is secretly posting to try to turn the comments section to positive. I have followed Hole since the early 90's (and the same for my friends who attended and left earlier than I did) and love their music. I even like a lot of the new disc. To say, however, that this was even an adequate show is to expose you as a member of the entourage above, a person who follows TMZ fanatically (celebrity following loser), or having either imbided a great deal/taken hallucinogens before the show. There is no disputing that this train wreck was just that, and if you took a poll of attendees, they would overwhelmingly agree. The WAPO review, for once, is spot on.

Posted by: fwillyhess | June 28, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

She's a performance artist, like Lady Gaga; you guys just don't GET IT.


Posted by: yumpickles | June 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you NattyBo, this has nothing to do with no appreciating women artists. I love A LOT of female artists, just not her!

You know, it wouldn't have been so bad if she actually gave a crap about the people that were there and tried connecting with them, but she clearly didn't give a crap about the people in the audience. That's really what made it so bad. She could have been "Yeah, I'm drunk, but let's hang out," rather than, "Don't ask me for my autograph you peasants." That kind of pompousity went out in the 70's.

Posted by: Applesauce20011 | June 28, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I was the African American rocker on stage. I just want everyone to know that I wasn't offended in the least by what Courtney said to me. Also, I don't actually recall her saying the Lil Wayne part, but she did mumble something I half-missed when I was getting on stage. But she was joking! The show was great and I had a great time! She made so many of my middle school dreams come true.

Posted by: BridgetTodd | June 28, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

reminds me of the Chris Rock joke:

"Why would the people of DC elect a coke-head to office? Aren't any junkies available?"

It's like that. Why would anybody pay to see a junkie on stage? Aren't any coke-heads playing?

Posted by: woof3 | June 28, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Sick if you went to it.
Really sick if you wrote about it!!!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | June 28, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I've been to a lot of shows over the years and I'm a big fan of Courtney (yes, I even liked "America's Sweetheart"). Was this show technically perfect? Not even close. Instead it was a strangely intimate three hours hanging out with Courtney while she was being the train wreck that she is. And I loved it. True Courtney Love. Seriously, I think this was way better than a slick, one-hour set. I would have been sadly disappointed had we received the NYC shows. Half of loving Courtney is loving her insanity.

Posted by: ehenri1 | June 28, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

lkomanitsky... I see what you did there... cute. Listen, I love Janis, I love Arcade Fire, I love L7... women in rock... I dig it. I think Courtney Love is rad. She's angry, she's damaged, she's vulnerable, she's erratic, she's a junkie, she's sober, she's a mom, she's broken, she's fixed, then she's broken again. The main theme in all this is, she's still here. And there are still people who are defending her to the death. I think that this concert was a different experience depending where you were in the venue. My experience at the front was that we were all mega into it. She puts you in a trance. I'm going to go ahead and second the fact that despite hanging on her every word, I somehow missed that Lil' Wayne comment. It seemed like she was really into having culturally diverse people in the crowd and I think that's what she was trying to express. Despite everything that's been said, I still think this was an amazing show. It was raw, it was funny, it was unexpected, it was entertaining, and yes, it was a little self indulgent. There is no black and white definition of what rock music is or what a rock concert should look like. If there are people who were into it, that's what matters. I was into it and would gladly pay way more than $45 to see it again. Cheers to those of you that disagree. Differences are what make the world go 'round.

Posted by: lkomatinsky | June 28, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I bet she must be a real blast in the sack!


Posted by: clermontpc | June 28, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The senator in question was Scott Brown. He took her for a ride in his truck then banged her heroin rattled brains out in its back.

Posted by: azaghal1981 | June 28, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

People paid to see a drug addict act like a fool! Damn, there are suckers born every minute.

Posted by: Theone9 | June 28, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Came across your article by the way of (podcast and live Webcast for the TENS of us too hip to be called hipster).

Great interview with Luke Burbank on TBTL today, Mr. Malitz, and even greater writing! In TBTL parlance, your review was a solid "RAWR," and a huge "COME ON!" goes out to Courtney who was not LOVEd (boo hiss) that night!

Posted by: jhsu | June 28, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The senator she said she'd been hanging out with would have to be John Kerry.

In 2003, he actually escorted her to a dinner hosted by Elton John for an AIDS charity in LA. No paparazzi captured the duo for posterity, but there were over a hundred eyewitnesses. Just put his name and Courtney's into Google, and there it is.

Posted by: estoe1 | June 28, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell is Courtney love????

Posted by: rfsjms | June 28, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, over in Columbia MD the greatest live band in the history of music was making thousands of people feel alive and in love with music.

Sir, you have obviously never seen THIRD EYE BLIND

Posted by: mjanssen | June 28, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I am not a fan of Courtney Love but to read about her failure brings me no joy. It's just depressing.

I've never thought it was cool to see an artist, musician or whoever disintegrate in front of us, no matter how much I disagree w/ the value of their work.

Posted by: Wheresmydangpaper | June 28, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

who would pay to see Courtney Love in concert?

especially now.

Posted by: dubya1938 | June 28, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

the show was awesome.courtney rocked.the only thing bad i can say is that some of the people were pushing extremely aggresively at the beginning of the show.courtney rules.

Posted by: josephhhalljr | June 29, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

As always, Courtney gets paid, Courtney gets press = Courtney wins.

She deserves an empty house and the words of no one.

Posted by: MarianneSp | June 29, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

>>...saying Courtney Love sucks doesn't mean you don't appreciate women in rock. But part of rocking requires, you know, actual talent besides whipping your breasts out on stage.

If you're so desperate to support "women in rock," I suggest you find women who actually do know how to rock, rather than ride the coattails of their now deceased husbands. See: Janis Joplin, The Dresden Dolls, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, the ladies of the Arcade Fire, etc.

If you have the hots for Courtney, fine, but please don't pretend it has anything to do with the quality of her music. Please.

Posted by: NattyBo1985<<

EXACTLY, dude. I'm so tired of female bands (as in, the band is all or mostly chicks) who suck sh!t and are only famous BECAUSE they are women. That is their only selling point. If it were men playing the same caliber of music that these women play, no one would know who they are. Period. Being hot has NOTHING to do with musical talent and if that is the only/main reason you like a band, who is the real music fan here? For all of you people saying it's chauvanistic to dislike female bands, you realize you're saying that people HAVE to like them just because they're females, right? It isn't chauvanistic, in my opinion. Dude, HOLE sucks. The only thing she has ever done that's noteworthy in concert is the number of times she has pulled her boobs out. Somehow it's NOT perpetrating the "females as sex objects" thing for her to do that? Donita Sparks from L7 threw her used tampon into the crowd at a concert. Is that any different? I'm tired of female rockers thinking the only way they can be taken seriously is by being crude, disgusting, sexual and generally over-the-top instead of just backing it up with good f_cking music.

I'm not going to drop any names here (*cough* Kittie, Vixen, L7, Lunachicks, The Donnas...*cough*) but I can assure you, HOLE is on that list. I have nothing against female rockers. I AM a female rocker but I'm so sick of substandard music being accepted because the band playing it is a bunch of females. Can you see Slipknot coming out with a song called "Pink Lemonade"? Or Slayer making an album called "Bricks Are Heavy"? Many of these female bands are not even CLOSE to being on par with their male counterparts in the same genre. Not even CLOSE. I don't even like Nirvana that much but hands down, they blew HOLE away.

Posted by: SinDelleMorte | June 29, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

The only time I saw Hole was about 15 or 16 years ago. "Live Through This" had just come out. Tickets cost under $10. Great show.

Seems like it's all been downhill from there. Courtney Love looks terrible, and if this review is any indication, that is the least of her problems. Sad.

Posted by: micron26 | June 29, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd rather pay $45 to see Courtney Love have a psychodrama on stage than read another ponderous review by David Malice, or whatever the f@@k his name is. This guy's prose is so excruciating that the CIA probably plays podcasts of him reading his articles to prisoners at Guantanamo.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | June 29, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm just impressed the iPhone's battery lasted that long.

Posted by: LauraMcIntyre | June 29, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I missed her show in Philadelphia, but after reading this review, i'm sorry I did. This only makes me want to see her more. This is better than any trainwreck reality show!

Posted by: haneydm | June 29, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Can somebody please post the stuff she was saying about people!?? I must know.

Posted by: Tina9 | June 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"And isn't that really what she's always wanted?"

Maybe the best review that Mr. Malitz could have done, was to do no review at all. The last thing an attention whore wants is no attention.

Posted by: dhorton1 | June 29, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, because it seems that this is the stuff that fueled what was known as punk rock at it's roots. Early "punk" shows were known for their disasters, most including violence. In the mid eighties, one of Courtney's biggest influences, Sonic Youth, played a show in London, probably for very little entrance fee, got frustrated with their equipment, walked off and let the feedback play. They got raves for it.

And now, you can charge $45 for that and have VH1 cover it. Strange how these things go.

The difference being that Sonic Youth has played probably thousands of amazing shows since that incident, and has released so many albums I've lost count, each nearly as good as the last, for close to 30 years. And Kim Gordon looks really good at 57. The initial punk ideal of chaos onstage instead of a musical experience sells big, rather than being something shocking. Hrm.

And also @lauramcintyre - that made me laugh out loud. Do you think it was an iPhone 4?

Posted by: emilyscottmusic | June 29, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I bought the $90 V.I.P. tickets to this show. I was front and center. What you EXPECT and what you HOPE to see are two totally different things. If anyone expected to see Ms. Love baking cookies and being socially appropriate, I hate to tell you this, but there is also no Santa Claus. COME ON!!! This is punk rock. She is no different than Keith Moon or Keith Richards. Oh wait, yes, she has a vagina. This was one performance in a career of spanning twenty years by a troubled woman with a troubled past. If you were shocked and disappointed, then you just don't get it.

Posted by: originalgrrrl | June 29, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please post a link to her rants on the 930 Facebook page?

Posted by: Applesauce20011 | June 29, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

To those that somehow confuse Courtney and Hole with punk rock, I think you should check your classifications - Courtney was very much, from the beginning, alt-grunge-glam, not punk. And, for all of you supposed punk fans, I attended early (and real) punk shows - Ramones, Clash, Social D, etc., and later the "new" punk - Green Day, Blink 182, Descendants, Social D again, etc. and now on to Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, et. al. Courtney is definitely not "punk". Also, real punk shows were not defined by spectacular failures, but by agressive slashing shows - maybe even disrespect for the audience - but always a high energy show - and they actually PLAYED the music.

Posted by: fwillyhess | June 29, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

After reading this review, it makes me wonder what people are smoking over at the Post. All this space and energy devoted to covering such a waste of time and money and yet not a single review of one of the best shows the 9:30 Club has hosted in years: PiL in May, on their first tour in over 17 years. Hell, even NPR recorded the concert for its archives yet the Post didn't bother to send a reviewer out to it. Major failure.

Posted by: gregorybrian | June 29, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Excellent review. Even though it would have fit like an enema into the Borg/Matrix Entertainment guide, it was quite insightful. Glad a couple comments cited Foxy. Along with Love, they cracked the glass. That voice: God's little Harpy barking like a lost chainsaw. Talk about I am Legend.

Posted by: JunLee | June 29, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I came accross this article on digg and while it's well-written, everything that happened as a reaction of it is very worrying and showing the real state of the media and its consumers nowadays.

I liked all the Hole albums and I liked America's Sweetheart, but the only song that ever made sense to me was Awful. Everything else was some odd rambling and complete hate against everything in the world. What's going now was probably what Courtney somehow "predicted" for herself - "I was punk, now I'm just stupid, I'm awful". It's sad to see someone on such a decline. The other day, I came accross some old issue of Q Magazine where she was running naked around London and having her anus waxed in front of a journalist and one'd think a person can't fall any lower than that. Obviously, one can. And that's sad. But what's sadder is that there will always be a bunch of total idiots, enjoying it. What is their excuse? Oh yes, I remembered...everything that's original is necessarily cool and there's no difference in terms of originality between people like Vanessa Mae and people like G.G. Allin. If you're enjoying seeing someone so damaged and getting a kick out of that, you have a huge problem. Supporting an artist is one thing, cheering on while someone's killing themselves is another, alarming thing.

And when someone says 9:30 club, I always think of the 12th of June 1998 and the return (hopefully not the last return) of another drug victim, though an actual talent. Let's hope the poor wonderful man hasn't pulled a courtney himself (again) and that he might have a change of heart someday (again).

This scares me beyond belief. Honestly.

Posted by: wmsnow | June 30, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

While I wouldn't classify Courtney Love's music as punk rock, she definitely has the punk ethos going on. And yes, most punk bands put on great shows with great music, but to say that spectacular disasters and "performance art" weren't a huge part of early punk shows is just inaccurate. Sex Pistols, anyone? Entire crowds threatening physical violence on Iggy Pop, some of them succeeding? Along with the music, that's all in there. Punk in general was a huge influence on Kurt Cobain, and years before she met him, Courtney ran up to Alex Cox, who directed Sid & Nancy and told him, "I am Nancy Spungen." In so many ways, she was right, but she has survived to show us all how much more messed up someone can get into their mid-life.

And there are plenty of artists whose music played an integral part in early punk (ahem, Patti Smith) but who really stretched several genres at once. No, I don't really consider Courtney Love "punk", but I think she uses a lot of that mindset. Maybe she's a case of arrested development, stuck in her late 80s mindset, not realizing how much time has passed?

Posted by: emilyscottmusic | June 30, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

This review is terrible! This is a classic Courtney show - I would have paid double to see this...Only true fans understand. This is the kind of show that makes me proud to be a supporter of hers...

Posted by: abasar | June 30, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I attended the Hole show in Norfolk, VA the night before the 930 show. It was awesome...and I would have killed to have been at the 930 show, which sounds way zanier than Norfolk. At the Norfolk show, she was by degrees charming, funny, sexy, and rocking. Most of the songs were tight and did the band justice.

The interaction that Courtney has with the audience is part of the show. She has always liked stage chatter, which I think fans would appreciate for the insight it provides on the artist. How many icons would put themselves out there like she does? It may not all be pretty, but it is all Courtney.

She also signed about 40 autographs and posed for pictures after the Norfolk show (at about 2:30 am), with no makeup and dressed for comfort. The guy next to me who said he just wanted to meet her, and didn't want anything signed, merited a kiss on the cheek. How cool is that?

Courtney can be frustrating, but she is also honest, open, and genuine. To be scrutinized for as long as she has and still be willing to put herself out there speaks volumes of her character.

I would pay to see Hole play anywhere!


Posted by: stephenhorton1 | June 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: ImanAzol | June 30, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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