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Hole on Halloween

In a week that's got the sure-bet L7/Melvins tour lined up against the scarier-than-you Halloween bill of Nine Inch Nails and the Jim Rose Circus, I'm going to go out on a small limb here and give highest recommendations -- or at least runaway anticipation points -- to an act I've never seen live. Hole is the band, and frontwoman Courtney Love is the cause for twittering anticipation.

Love, as you may have read somewhere, is the widow of the late Kurt Cobain, and Hole's major label debut Live Through This was released mere days before the Nirvana frontman up and capped himself with a 12-gauge, throwing the normally placid proceedings of the rock press into dead-celebrity overdrive and, if not exactly obscuring Hole's new record, burying it beneath an avalanche of psychological second-guessing and emotional archaeology. Love, after all, had read parts of Cobain's suicide note to a memorial gathering in Seattle, and no reporter ever got so much out of an interview. Later, when Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff OD'd on heroin, the Hole saga started to take on Spinal Tap dimensions, and much of the fun in following the besieged band lay in waiting for the inevitable end. When will Courtney self-destruct?

Still waiting. As anyone who's given more than a cursory listen to the raging power chords and banshee wails of Live Through This can tell you, Love doesn't go down easy. She writes better songs than Cobain ever did, and if Nirvana's musical ace in the hole was drummer Dave Grohl, Hole's got the secret weapon to match in guitarist Eric Erlandson.

But can the band deliver on-stage? Recent early tour reviews in Rolling Stone and Spin don't provide any answers, with the one claiming Love victorious and the other all but recommending she be institutionalized. So you've got one of the most powerful contemporary rock bands on the planet walking an emotional tightrope at a small club in front of your very eyes. On Halloween night, no less. Something is going to happen.

-- Brad Tyer

Hole plays at 8 p.m., Monday, October 31 at Numbers. Veruca Salt and Madder Rose open. Tickets cost $10. Call 629-3700 for info.

Also Recommended
* L7 with Melvins, Wool and Dive at Fitzgerald's, Saturday, October 29

 
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