Courtney Love – O2 Academy, Birmingham 18/05/14

After a long warm, sunny day fans fill up Birmingham’s O2 Academy middle-sized venue to see the one and only Courtney Love. Originally booked for the largest room, it’s evident that the switch of venues is due to sparse ticket sales. Nevertheless the room is crammed full and the heat is only going to continue to rise.

Kicking off the proceedings with their latest single Fake Smiles, Madagascan duo White Miles – who describe their music as ‘dirty pole dance stoner blues rock’ – seem the perfect pair to open for Courtney Love. Singer Medina Rekic brings all the attitude a kick-ass female in rock needs, sporting a bra and sleeveless denim jacket. Belting out the lyrics while rocking out with her guitar it seems White Miles have definitely found some new followers in tonight’s audience, as they receive a loud reception song after song. For just a two piece Medina and drummer Lofi know how to make some noise and warm a crowd up.

As the stage is rapidly cleared and re-set for Courtney Love the excitement in the room builds. As the clock ticks both fans and security seem concerned that it’s going to be quite a wait before the queen of grunge appears on stage. Not wanting to disappoint, it’s no later than 15 minutes before Courtney Love appears on stage – it’s not cool to be on time, right?

Taking in their first glance of Courtney Love, the room erupts with screams and cheers from the crowd. Throwing out red roses to her adoring fans Courtney takes in the room and comments on how tiny it is. It seems the last minute venue change is as much a shock to Love as it was to the fans who turned up early to queue. Opening up with her latest single Wedding Song, the hardcore fans at the front who have become familiar with the song sing along word for word. As expected the set is crammed full of classic Hole hits and does not disappoint.

Performing Malibu, Courtney leaves her guitar and heads to the front of the stage leaning as close as possible to her adoring fans. Celebrity Skin sees the room go mental with their arms in the air, jumping around and shouting back the lyrics.

Getting slightly confused, Courtney asks if Birmingham is where the Lake District starts…and amongst various other ramblings, tonight’s crowd are kept amused and upbeat. Considering her 50th looms just around the corner, you can’t fault Love’s form to entertain or her performance one bit. With a 19 track set surely no-one can complain as we’re treated to Violet, Jennifer’s Body, Letter to God, Skinny Little Bitch and more.

Leaving the stage in darkness the crowd beg for more, while one of Courtney’s band members tells the room that if they want more they need to “shout Courtney 3 fucking times”. After a quick outfit change Courtney re-emerges in a red dress throwing more roses out to the crowd. Slowing down the night we are treated to an acoustic version of the emotional Northern Star. A barefooted Courtney crouches at the edge of the stage as one particular fan reaches an arm towards her. Not wanting to jump off the high stage, Courtney reaches as far as possible without falling and grabs the fans hand. It’s moments like this that musicians really show their appreciation for their fans. During Dying, Love spares a few seconds of the song to stop singing and return the blow of a kiss to a fan.

As the night begins to come to an end screams of Doll Parts become evidently louder. Finishing on the song tonight’s crowd all want to hear, the room erupts for one last time as they sings their hearts out. Before leaving the stage Courtney thanks the crowd, bows and curtseys. As someone who literally grew up listening to Hole this show did more than meet my expectations and I would recommend seeing Courtney Love live as a must.

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