Hole - Manchester Academy
"We're having an implosion", says Courtney Love, as a failed amp causes a false start as she heads into 'Asking For It', midway through her band's set at Manchester Academy. A few years ago, this might have been case for concern, but the new Hole simply shrug it off and head off into a brief, impromptu acoustic set until the problem is resolved. It's just another example of the way that a Hole live show has changed. Whereas a decade ago at their final UK headline show, Courtney climbed speaker stacks, dragged so many members of the audience up on stage that fire marshals threatened to halt the show and rambled between songs, she now delivers a straightforward, workmanlike 90 minute crowd-pleasing rock show. It might be Hole 2.0 and they might have their critics, but there's something new and improved about the delivery all the same.
It's still a bit ramshackle in places, and she freely admits that "I gave my voice to Glasgow - four hours in my underwear for 500 Scots", but she ably covers for it by frequently allowing the audience to take on the big choruses, which works particularly well on a punishing version of 'Violet', dispensed with early on. It's a slightly unusual set list, though, with a recurring Rolling Stones theme (during the encore they even somewhat bafflingly cover Big Star's '13' (complete with 'Paint It Black' reference), and too many covers, but they're mixed in with enough old crowd pleasers to keep the room entertained.
Hole played: Pretty On The Inside/Sympathy For The Devil (Rolling Stones Cover) /Skinny Little Bitch /Miss World / Take This Longing (Leonard Cohen Cover) / Violet / Letter To God / Once In Your Life / Gold Dust Woman /Pacific Coast Highway / Dirty Girls Get Clean / Asking For It (aborted) / Boys On The Radio (acoustic) / Best Sunday Dress / Malibu / Asking For It / Play With Fire (Rolling Stones Cover) / Celebrity Skin // Doll Parts / 13 (Big Star Cover) / Jennifer's Body