It's easy to hate Hole and its leader, Courtney Love. She does her best to make her defenders look like fools and her enemies look brilliant thanks to her caustic comments, plastic surgery and inconsistencies (like indie-rocker-turned-Hollywood-starlet). Like Madonna, Hole has too much cultural baggage. But the music is undeniable. Celebrity Skin was one of the best rock albums last year, the single "Malibu" was made for the radio, and "Reasons to Be Beautiful," the moving and poignant tribute to her deceased husband, Kurt Cobain, is very sad. Skin has sold better than its predecessor, 1994's Live Through This, but because Love had songwriting assistance from outside of the band (Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Gos) the work has been smeared by those who accuse Love of being talentless.
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Jumping off the Marilyn Manson tour opened Hole up to further criticism and gossip. The band claimed it left the "Beautiful Monsters" bill because it would have ended up losing money, splitting costs for Manson's huge stage production. After leaving the tour the band fired its management, and rumors circulated that Love was pregnant. Now Hole is doing a scaled-down tour in more intimate (read: smaller) venues. Though the music has the power to fill places like the Compaq Center, Love's showstopping rants are always better when you can see the look on her face.
-- David Simutis
Hole performs Sunday, May 9, at 8 p.m. at the Aerial Theater, 520 Texas. Tickets are $25. Call (713)230-1600.
Jesse Powell -- You know, it's kind of infuriating when a performer doesn't receive the kind of props he should get when he first bursts onto the scene. It happened with Usher. The boy cut an audacious, self-titled debut back in '94, but nobody bought it. Four years later, he got all sexed up and chesty for his second album, My Way, and now all the ladies are moist for him. The same thing is happening with Jesse Powell. In '96 he released a self-titled debut that was nothing short of charming and marvelous, but nobody was into it. So for the release of his second album, last year's 'Bout It, he had to be overhauled into a hip-hoppy, bare-chested, freaky-sneaky studmuffin, brimming with cool but hardly working any true feeling. And it seems to be working. His latest single, "You," was originally featured on his first album but is getting a second run on his new album so it can get the exposure it deserves. Maybe the gals can go back, buy his first album and get moist to something more captivating. Jesse Powell performs with Chante Moore, 112 and Vibe, on Friday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Aerial Theater, 520 Texas. Tickets are $18 and $29.25. Call (713)629-3700. (Craig D. Lindsey)