Hole / Little Fish

Brixton Academy, London on Wednesday 5 May 2010

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For years it's been easy to criticise Courtney Love, what with her personal downward spiral being so well documented. But she stands here tonight looking better and healthier than ever before, as thousands of adoring fans cling to her every word. With a new look band behind her, she appears invigorated and energised.

However, before talking about the main event (it always is an event when Courtney is in town), special mention has to be given to support band Little Fish. It's not often that support bands make a great impression, but this 3 piece band from Oxford certainly do just that. It's no wonder Debbie Harry has been making noises about them when they possess ferocious songs such as set highlight Whiplash. Their 30-minute set flies by as lead singer Julia Sophie commands the stage with such ease like a younger PJ Harvey or Patti Smith.

But even though Little Fish win over the crowd, as Courtney takes to the stage jumping around like a hyperactive 10-year-old, it's clear that everybody here has come for one reason early. Former Hole guitarist Erik Erlandson has questioned the legitamacy of Courtney continuing to use the name Hole, but with all due respect, nobody inside the Brixton Academy could really care less. Introducing themselves with a cover of The Rolling Stones' classic 'Sympathy For The Devil' and launching into new single 'Skinny Little Bitch' proves to be a master-stroke, as the crowd go wild.

Songs from the new album 'Nobody's Daughter' come across really well, with songs such as 'Honey' and 'Letter To God' being greeted as warmly as old favourites 'Malibu' and 'Northern Star'. An unexpected cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Take This Longing' sounds beautiful, with Courtney's weathered vocal drawing comparisons to Marianne Faithfull.

The evening takes a weird turn halfway through the set as Courtney decides to strip to just her underwear. Yes, she does looks incredible at the moment, but it's hard to work out the need for it. Regardless, her connection with the crowd is to be admired, as she makes the vast Brixton Academy seem like the most intimate of venues.

There was however a low-point to the evening, as she admits a shaky acoustic cover of The Smiths' 'Suffer Little Children' was a "gaffe". Although she asks for forgiveness, she doesn't have to, with the blistering two hour set ending as she pulls up a disbelieving fan to sing along with old favourite 'Doll Parts'.

During the beautiful 'Pacific Coast Highway', Courtney screams: "I'm too ashamed to show my face." Maybe that was the case in the past, but not now. Frankly, she should be proud.

As she left the stage she said, "It was good for me." For us, it was better than that.

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article by: Craig Jones

published: 07/05/2010 18:00


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