First Night: A whole lot of lovelorn attitude

Hole Glastonbury Festival
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The Independent Online
COURTNEY LOVE: hapless victim or harpy? One of the difficulties surrounding Hole is one expends so much energy trying to assess Love's personality that the music fades into the background. A vision in pink and masquerading as an angel, Love's Glastonbury get-up compounded the confusion.

As she casually plucked over-enthusiastic teenagers from the front and rolled them on to the stage as if they were props, you wondered what would become of them. Would they experience the best rock'n'roll party of their lives or would Courtney be washing them down with fava beans and a bottle of Chianti?

But even though Love's personality sometimes threatened to overwhelm the proceedings and her vocals possessed the world-weariness of a wizened old man still smoking 40 a day, Hole, as a whole, were thrilling.

The band is in possession of some epic songs as well as beautifully poignant lyrics, heightened by the knowledge of Ms Love's tumultuous past. While the acrid sentiment of Live Through This - Hole's second album, released four days after the death of Love's husband Kurt Cobain - is still conveyed with impressive amounts of bile, the material on this year's Celebrity Skin was more affecting. Love betrayed near sweetness as she bid us be silent and invited us to admire a guitar sequence penned all on her own. She even admitted that it wasn't very good, and she was right. But all the other tracks contained the silky sheen of a newly polished car. Not surprising since the new album is said to have cost over $1m (pounds 625,000).

In contrast to the brash Love, Gomez seem positively overwhelmed by their surroundings. "This is amazing," they spluttered collectively, exuding a warmth that is rare at events of such a grand scale.

Their sound blends traces of country, folk and bloke rock, threaded together by the odd ska rhythm and all manner of percussion. But best of all was the uplifting nature of their melodies, seen in all their glory in their last song "Whippin' Piccadilly". A delight.