Recap and photos—Bumbershoot 2010, featuring Courtney Love
– recap by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson
In short order, Courtney Love namedropped: Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, (film director) Brett Ratner, Mariah Carey, Goldie Hawn (who she blamed for bad plastic surgery advice), Amanda Palmer, Madonna (a.k.a. “Madge”, whom Love referred to as one of her “bete noires”), Marianne Faithful (“Frances wants to live with a different kind of crazy”), Jessica Spears (Britney’s first cousin), Michael Stipe, (writer) Neil Strauss, and Jack White (“I wrote him an amends from rehab, and he never got back to me… that’s so uncool”).
The occasion was an acoustic performance for just over a hundred people packed into a small room in a building in the northeast corner of Seattle Centre, 4:30 – 5:30 Sunday afternoon, Day II of Bumbershoot. The famous former Seattleite (who has little nice to say about her former home: “Cornell doesn’t like it here. Vedder doesn’t like it here…”) was scheduled for a mainstage show with a revamped version of her band Hole later in the evening, but somehow had gotten corralled into doing this special, erm, event.
“The hottest ticket in town,” the End radio announcer called it, and this was hard to argue.
Since Courtney probably doesn’t do anything Courtney doesn’t want to do, she must have had her reasons, perhaps even musical—she and a spikey-haired, pasty-faced British youth, who never took off his sunglasses and accompanied her on guitar, played a couple of songs off the latest Hole album Nobody’s Daughter, a just-written tune called “Pretty All Your Life”, and, in a surprise move, a game attempt at Pearl Jam‘s “Jeremy”.
Part press conference, part private conversation (with audience member/music journalist Charles Cross), part comedy routine and part Hole Unplugged, it was a suitably bizarre and nutty way for Love to say “hello, again” to Seattle. And no, an actor to play the part of Kurt Cobain in a bio-pic has not been selected yet. Uhm, can I just say I’m not exactly waiting for this flick with bated breath?
Later that night, Hole—on the mainstage—did rock, kind of, although I’m convinced Love, the only remaining original member, needs a female foil in the band; her (male) bandmates are pretty much just sidemen, though she did try to convince us Miko the guitarist was one of the tribe (“he’s lived with me for five years, through all my craziness”).
With four actual Hole albums and one solo record under her belt, Courtney has just about enough material for a great hour-long set, though after “Violet”, “Doll Parts”, “Pacific Coast Highway”, and “Malibu” I would have happily traded new songs like “Honey” and even “Skinny Little Bitch” for “Awful” and “Heaven Tonight”. But, you know, Courtney does what Courtney wants.
Other highlights of Day II included Ra Ra Riot and the Dandy Warhols, both on the Broad Street Stage. The former, playing in the late afternoon, sounded a little like Vampire Weekend with strings and longer songs; the Seattle band seems bound for bigger things, especially with its heartthrob-y (an assessment confirmed by photog Robyn Hanson) lead singer.
Later, after night fell, Portland’s Dandy Warhols were as druggy and space-y as I remember them; a pretty respectable turn-out bypassed Weezer (on the mainstage) to see them end the night with songs such as “We Used to Be Friends”, a sentiment that might describe Courtney Love’s relationship with Seattle.
More Bumbershoot Day II photos, including:
Rah Rah Riot: