NEW YORK, NY—My inner 16-year-old was jumping for joy when I heard Hole was hitting the road with a new album, Nobody’s Daughter, in hand. The new material comes across sounding as if it could have been written back in the day, but is exactly what fans today must have been looking for. However, the only band member from the old line-up would be Courtney Love, making this “reunion” of Hole even more confusing than the concert itself.
Playing two sold out nights at Terminal 5, I attended the first night and was excited when Courtney Love took the stage, looking quite nice, healthy, and dare I say even coy in a hipster-approved black dress. However, once her mouth opened, her rough vocals made her sound elsewise.
Once it kicked in to me where I was and who I was seeing and i was able to tune out the cheering crowd, I caught familiar lines from a Rolling Stones song, “Sympathy For The Devil,” before the lead single, “Skinny Little Bitch,” off the new album kicked in. Next thing, the set turned into one blur with new and old mixing as if there was no time difference between them in their creation. It all first started with “Violet,” a song from their older catalog that still had all the women in the audience growling along with anger.
As the songs went on, it was clear that Love is no Alicia Keys, however, maybe the sound system wasn’t just right that night. The set carried on with no antics from Love, surely those days have passed, but at times I felt like I was at karaoke night and Hole was the band of choice.
Halfway through, “Malibu” and “Celebrity Skin” played and that little combination got a heavy response from the crowd and I had hoped a few more from that album would surface. What did happen for the remainder of the set was a laid-back recap of the new material with little said from Love between songs. However, the slight smile on her face that came through did reveal there was some excitement about playing going on in her head.
A little more than halfway through, the lights dimmed and I couldn’t believe it was time for the fake-out encore. I was wrong and Love came back in an even more hippie style white dress to continue on with the evening’s festivities. From the new album, “Someone Else’s” stuck out with that kind of catchy, repeatable hook as heard on “Violet” and “Miss World.”
But just as it felt we were really ready to now let it all loose, Love said her “goodnight” and the house lights slowly, and unexpectedly came on. The crowd below looked half confused/half annoyed with the situation as the set time at the box office said they would be playing for at least another half an hour.
The realization that this was it and the barely-an-hour set would be all for the night started to sink in and I couldn’t feel one way or another. The music itself was fun and easy to listen to and excitable when ears picked up on tunes that fans hadn’t heard in awhile. But it was sad to only receive just this handful of songs— there was plenty of room for more.