Tonight the documentary Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death of Patty Schemel made it’s theatrical debut. If I’m correct it’s open in NYC only this weekend with a wider rollout coming on April 20th. But check the official site to be sure. We reviewed the movie when it played last summer at a festival, to read that click the link above, and watching it a second time just reinforced my belief that this is one of the greatest Rockumentaries ever made. To celebrate it’s opening distributor Variance is holding some special screenings. The first of which is what I’m going to be writing about here. If you read this in time on April 14th at 4 they are showing 30 minutes of raw footage of Patty on tour with Hole and at 7 they are having a Q&A with Patty, Eric Erlandson, and Melissa Auf Der Maur. I suggest going.
I attended tonight’s sold out 7pm screening which featured a short concert afterwards by Patty & Eric, joined by Sia and Miss Guy of the Toilet Boys (side note: Miss Guy was nice enough to send me a review copy of his EP Dumb Blond after I wrote some nice things about the Toilet Boys opening set for Guns N’ Roses and I’ll have that review up soon) and James McNew of Yo La Tengo and Dump. Melissa Auf Der Maur who is a new mom was a last minute addition.
So as soon as the film concluded there was a short trivia contest by director P. David Ebersol and then Patty took over. It was so great to see these people together on stage. She introduced Eric and James.
This trio performed The Wipers classic and Hole b-side “Over The Edge”. Then Miss Guy came up and they did “Celebrity Skin” and “Violet”. Before they started playing Patty had mentioned she hadn’t played “Celebrity Skin” since she left the band in 1997. The first time she’d played it with anyone was last night. In fact I believe this is the first time the public has heard her play this part live. The album version was written by her but not recorded by her (as is the same with all songs from that record). During “Violet” Miss Guy grabbed a girl who was singing along in the audience and she was amazing. She did that song some serious justice.
Then they brought up Sia who performed “Miss World”.
After that lovely rendition it was the time we’d all been waiting for, Melissa Auf Der Maur came out and took over. The first thing they did was perform an instrumental, mainly bass & drum version of “Use Once & Destroy”. This was amazing. Patty was killing it on the drums. It was so amazing to hear her play these songs live. I’d only seen Hole once and that was in 1999, after she’d left.
A small bit of “Use Once & Destroy”
Then the former-Hole trio finished off the set with a cover of Sebadoh’s “Brand New Love“.
That was the end of this portion of the evening and it was time to leave Cinema Village and head to Brooklyn. This was a very last minute announcement. They announced on Facebook and Twitter mere hours before the show that they were going to do a bonus show at Public Assembly in Williamsburg right after this. So I headed over to Public Assembly, which is a pretty quick ride. Even though the posted door time was 10 they didn’t let us in until closer to 11 and in that time on line I got to watch a bouncer wrestle then tase some random guy who then got up and walked away. After a bit of a wait Patty, Eric, and Melissa took the stage at almost 12:30.
Melissa explains for tonight they scoured YouTube looking for clips from 90′s songs they thought would be appropriate. They then launch into a cover of “Seasons in the Sun”, sung partly in Dutch by Melissa. That’s followed by Beat Happening’s “Red Head Walking” and then that incredible version of “Use Once & Destroy” from earlier, as well as “Brand New Love”. Then Melissa talks about how she loved Morrissey in the early 90′s and they do a cover of the Smith’s “Death of a Disco Dancer“. It’s at this point Melissa talks about how they have a special guest. And after some searching for where that guest might be, up comes Courtney Love.
It takes a while for Eric to tune her guitar and then for someone to find her a strap for the guitar during which Melissa and Courtney hug and Courtney and Patty share a joke about Patty giving Courtney a strap-on. This is a huge moment. These 4 people have not shared a stage and played together since 1995. I’d literally dreamed of seeing this happen for a good portion of my life. It seemed impossible. But it speaks to the power of the film that it really brought Patty back together with Eric and Melissa who all seem like their wounds have healed and are actual friends again. But having Courtney on that stage, who even just recently there’s been some static between these people and Courtney and neu-Hole. But this was the classic Hole, the lineup most people think of when they think of the band. They did “Miss World”. It was incredible. Just beautiful and amazing.
After “Miss World” the band went to leave the stage but the crowd demanded one more song and although Courtney was leaving she heard them say they were going to do “Over The Edge” with James McNew again (Melissa left the stage at this point) and said she’d sing it even though she didn’t remember most of the lyrics. And she killed it. Even making up lyrics it was just great.
A small bit of “Over The Edge”
This was a perfect evening, a dream come true. And Patty, whom I’ve waited so long to see play these songs did not disappoint. She is an extremely talented drummer. She hits hard and plays great. The night was great and thanks to everyone who made it possible.
I suggest you see Hit So Hard when it’s at a theater near you, but if you can’t wait it’s available to rent on iTunes: