Review and Photos by David Jackson – Winding Creek Photography – for LifeMusicMedia.com
As the tattoo on her right arm so vividly displayed the words “let it bleed” this is what Courtney Love gave the audience in Newcastle on Friday night. It flowed not as a viscous fluid but in the form of a rampaging rant via a journey back in time. Although Hole is gone you could not help but draw a comparison. From the all-male four piece band to the constant trip back to the days of Hole with her saturated song list constantly exacerbating this successful stage of her career. I have no doubt this is what the forty year old plus audience came and were looking for. Taking to the stage wearing black stockings and knee high boots, gone was the trashy lingerie however Love’s underwear was strategically positioned over her pants. Resting her leg on her fold back, orange Rickenbacker positioned ready to strike, the band opened up with “Wedding Day” from Love’s new album “Died Blonde” then jumped right into a well-received Hole reunion with “Miss world” followed by “Plump”. “Hello Newcastle, your small not like the other Newcastle” referring to our English friends, this echoed with a smile from Love’s mouth. Sitting on a speaker smoking one of her famous “lucky strikes” Love let loose with “Honey” teasing the audience grinding on the speaker.
A pleasant surprise for the evening was an upbeat version of Fleetwood Macs “Gold dust woman” done in a way only Love would know how. The four piece backing band was tight, the sound mix was sufficient even to the most fastidious ear. Make no mistake about this it, 50 year old can sing and entertain even a hard-core Newcastle crowd. “There will be no grunge here tonight” promptly dispelling any idea of a trip back to a day when her former husband ruled the music world with Nirvana. No grunge? Why would she? Love packs enough talent to entertain a crowd for hours. “Here is a song about a place you can’t afford to live, or even drive there” referring to the over inflated land that is Malibu.
Throughout the set you had to wonder is this Love’s last visit to Australia? Would there be a Hole reunion? And more importantly physically how much longer can she do this? Moving far too promptly through the set the band left the stage after “Celebrity skin” returning for a three song encore. For me the highlight came in the middle of the last set with a cool version of the Crystals song “He hit me” (it felt like a kiss), finally finishing with “Doll parts” before thanking this “small town” and moving off stage. The sweaty encounter left you wanting more. Love is a talent and thank you for including the “small town” on your tour.
Set List Wedding day, Miss world, Plump, Honey, Gold dust woman, Malibu, Reasons to be beautiful, Jennifer’s body, Honour, You know my name, Pretty inside, Olympia, Skinny little bitch, Asking for it, Violet, Celebrity skin, Encore Northern star, He hit me (it felt like a kiss), Doll parts.