SXSW: Hole returns to U.S. stage for first time in 8 years at Spin magazine party

Well that was anticlimactic.

Returning to a U.S. stage for the first time since calling it quits in 2002, Hole — or a version thereof — performed to a packed house at Stubbs Friday afternoon at SXSW as part of Spin magazine’s day party.

Supported by an unconvincing backing band, singer Courtney Love — the sole remaining original member — sauntered onto the stage dressed like one of the Band Aids from “Amost Famous”: beaded headband, gauzy top over what looked like a floral-print tank top, an orange sash that read “Beware” and, of course, a short skirt.

She opened with “Pretty on the Inside,” sliding quickly into a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” before getting to songs from Hole’s comback album, “Nobody’s Daughter,” which comes out in April.

First single “Skinny Little Bitch” sounded like vintage Hole, with a grungy, chugging bass line and Love’s rasping aggressive vocals. Later, she introduced a  slow number as “what Bret Michaels would call a ‘powerful ballad.'” Actually, it just seemed maudlin.

Although she was in fine form, singing, playing guitar and displaying her (covered) crotch, the set — particularly the new songs — was missing the bite that would have made it one of those legendary SXSW gigs.

— Text and photo by Eric R. Danton

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