fair to say that the Academy has been fuller, but rarely has it been louder, than when Courtney Love strode onto its stage.
Her gauzy scarf floating behind her like a train, Love looked every inch the rock goddess when she strapped on her red guitar to belt out new single "Wedding Day". The raucous song is a perfect match for her throaty howl, ravaged by years of shows and cigarettes. These days Love gets her nicotine hits from the electric ones they haven't yet decided to ban from venues, but combined with her foul mouth and a few onstage shots of tequila it's a stretch to say those are an indication that she's approaching her half-century gracefully.
Twenty years after Hole's era-defining Live Through This, Love's set drew heavily from those intensely personal, cathartic songs the roaring crowd came to hear. Although these days the guitar is as much a prop as an instrument - backing Love was Ginger Wildheart as well as regular guitarist Micko Larkin - songs like "Miss World" and "Plump" sounded as fresh and visceral as they did in 1994.
Co-writes with Larkin from 2010's Nobody's Daughter bogged down much of the middle of the set, "Honey" in particular the sort of soft-rock ballad that could have been written by anybody. By contrast, the same cover of "Gold Dust Woman" Love has been rocking since her Hole days could hardly have sounded like anybody else. A perfect performance of "Asking For It", dripping with hiss and venom, coupled with a thunderous "Celebrity Skin" made the draggier parts of the night worth it though; as did the sight of a pre-encore Love handing out roses to the front row dressed in what looked like her nightie.