After a tour’s worth of reviews, Hole’s finale date in Birmingham was fuelled by expectation. So far it had been established that her voice was ragged, that the fans would respond predominantly to Celebrity Skin and that it was likely to be only her stage antics which left anything noteworthy to review. Whether you love her or abhor her, no one can deny that Courtney is someone to be experienced and with rumours of her stripping and extending sets, tonight was looking to become one of those gigs you’d talk about for years to come.
True to form, Courtney’s voice was sketchy and the fans responded appropriately to the old classics such as Violet, but this was coupled with a distinct lack of drama and a set far shorter than expected. Despite slating the New York press for their unfavourable reviews, which she says came from a set lasting just forty minutes, in the end she closes Birmingham at a similar point. With a set lasting little over an hour, padded out with several minutes of the Bolero before she stepped onto the stage and countless apologies about her voice, Courtney seems to have given up.
Mid set when Courtney tries to dismiss her guitar, informing the roadie ‘I don’t play on this one, do I?’ then rapidly realising that she does, it’s clear Courtney has just paraphrased the entire gig. Nevertheless, the audience waits patiently for impromptu numbers and events to recount at later dates, but aside from a fan chucking a ring Courtney’s direction nothing comes. For the most part she’s carried by the weight of her band, who aren’t even Hole, but instead a bunch of disinterested guys who have been drafted in for the tour. Like Courtney though, they seem almost apathetic to give the crowd any kind of show and the whole things falls flat as if they too have given up.
It would have been nice to earmark Doll Parts and Asking For It as the standout moments, but whilst they were well received by the fans, alongside Skinny Little Bitch from the new album, it didn’t dazzled as anticipated. Whilst no one goes to see Courtney on the strength of her voice, the lack of anything overtly interest occurring during the gigs means most fans sat waiting for something that never came. Suffice to say the mixed reviews from the rest of the tour seem to repeat from the fans as they exit. Ranging from abomination to admiration, the only thing we can say for certain is that Courtney knows how to command people to watch her every move and hang on her every word.