Hole: The Demons are Winning

By Mark Clark

Hole's eerily titled album, Live Through This, makes for compelling listening because it chronicles a band grappling with many personal demons. Unfortunately, the band's live performance Oct. 19 at The Brewery's Thunderdome seemed to indicate that the demons are winning.

Singer Courtney Love, widow of Nirvana auteur Kurt Cobain, was a pathetic spectacle throughout the band's 90-minute set, acting like an impetuous child for most of the show. She spent more energy on affecting a cool-rock-star front than on playing the band's material.

Love cracked penis jokes with the rowdy teenagers in the mosh pit at the all-ages show. She trotted her infant son onstage, then shushed the crowd when they cheered. When a fan ran onstage at one point, the band halted in mid-song, so she could stop and chat with the young man. Then she abruptly walked off stage, returning after a costume change for a three-song encore that ended just as strangely.

Love dove into the throng to crowd-surf, but was quickly dropped. While working her way back to the stage, a fan ripped at her dress, tearing it, as well as her brassiere (although her chest remained covered). Love climbed back on stage, gave the audience an "F, F, fail" for its effort, pointed to her chest and said, "a $45 f------ bra," then stormed out.

Hey, Courtney: If you don't want fans to rip at your clothes, don't jump into the crowd. They did it to Kurt, they do it to Eddie Vedder. They'll do it to any rock star foolhardy enough to try this shopworn stunt.

Oh, yeah, there was music, too, although none of it had the power of Live Through This. Fans moshed frantically to sloppy renditions of "Miss World" and "Doll Parts" without appearing to notice the band's mistakes.

I've seen hundreds of concerts in my day, but I never left one feeling sorry for the performer -- until Oct. 19.

Veruca Salt, which opened the show, also proved disappointing. The band apparently doesn't have much in its arsenal outside of its hit single, "Seether."

Madder Rose seemed terribly out of place, sandwiched between those two bands. Madder Rose's sweet, melody-driven compositions were lost on the crowd, so the group surrendered to chainsaw-rock cliches. That was a disservice to both the handful of fans (including me) who were looking forward to the band's performance and to the thrash-hungry masses, who could tell the difference between genuine punk and pseudo-punk.