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- Posted on Jul 11th 2010 11:15AM by Innika La Fontaine
The often controversial, always-entertaining Courtney Love celebrated her 46th birthday in front of an excited crowd at the Ottawa Bluesfest Friday night.
"Um, it's my birthday," she said with faux modesty, reminding the audience mid-set following a rendition of Hole's breakthrough song 'Miss World.' "And every year it happens I turn 29 one more time."
The heroin-chic rocker and widow of Kurt Cobain howled through a 90-minute set of old favourites -- like 'Celebrity Skin,' 'Violet' and 'Malibu' -- and tracks from their new album 'Nobody's Daughter' between cigarettes and some light conversation.
The new songs -- the first from Hole in nearly a decade -- had a distinctly indie-rock vibe, which seemed more musically and visually suited to Love's youthful, hipster band -- which includes 23-year-old Micko Larkin -- than to the skulking black-clad, platinum-bleached vixen. The new generation band played hard rock comfortably, but struggled at times to sound grunge.
Two bouquets of flowers made their way to Love from the audience, and stage crew presented her with a birthday cake that stayed hidden from view in a white box. And there was of course a "Happy Birthday" serenade from the revelers.
"No, don't sing it yet," she jokingly pleaded with the crowd. "I'm not ready to be that age."
In the first of only two Canadian shows, a handful of covers made it onto the set list. Love opened with the Rolling Stones hit 'Sympathy for the Devil,' and later a roughed-up version of Leonard Cohen's 'Take This Longing.'
The birthday performance was the band's first real festival show together, Love admitted. The reformed group has been busy touring the US, playing intimate club shows to mixed reviews. The Washington Post recently slammed her visit to the capital -- she was late, forgot lyrics, and stripped down -- a performance "10 times worse" than a Courtney Love meltdown.
But while Friday's performance at Ottawa's 13-day Bluesfest (Hole shared a bill with another veteran rocker Joan Jett) was nudity-free and low on expletives, there were hints that these controversial antics were what many people had waited in the rain to catch.
As Love writhed on stage to a blues song, clawing at her hair and face, one reveler admitted to a nearby pal what a few people were probably thinking: "Now that's what I came to see."