“Everybody knows I give the best blowjobs in Hollywood, but there's gotta be something in it for me too,” said a fairly subdued Courtney Love at her not-so-secret Roxy show presented by MySpace last night.

Might have seemed like a Love-patented non-sensical rambling, but anyone who heard her impromptu K-ROQ call-in earlier yesterday understood what she meant. She was comparing her recent series of unannounced shows to the give and take of good sex: the fans get to see her in an intimate setting and she gets to try out new material -see what works when and how much- in a relaxed atmosphere.

Well I was standing up front, stage-right most of the night (next to Paris Hilton (!) and I would say everybody ended up getting off.

Love came out in a pin-striped suit, platinum bangs (think Debbie Harry's early 'do) and tons of beaded jewelry, her frame still as wiry and pasty as those famous tabloid bikini shots the blogs went crazy for a couple of months ago.

She smoked like a chimney throughout the set, tossing her smoldering butts all over the stage as she went from number to number. Old faves like “Miss World,” “Doll Parts,” and “Celebrity Skin” sounded tight and bright (though “Malibu” kinda sank) and she didn't talk much (not for her anyway).

The new stuff? There was a little bit of everything really. “Stand Up Mother Fucker” evoked Hole's more aggressive rousers and it was catchy as hell, but most of the tunes (titles include: Sunset Marqui, Dirty Girls, PCH, Loser Dust, and Car Crash… a roadie offered me the set-list) showcased a mellower, groovier, even kinda sophisticated Courtney.

She actually reminded me a lot of Marianne Faithful and Patti Smith, but with a bit more torchsong swank and even some twang, though this dude I met before the show (her jeweler— not bling by the way, but new-agey coins and crystal type stuff) said she was telling her band to be “less country, more White Stripes” in rehearsal.

The band (2 gals, on bass and keyboards and 3 guys, guitars and drums) were good, but none of 'em had the magnetic mojo of Love's past music partners (Eric, Melissa, or Samantha) and that seems intentional. It's Courtney's world and these kids (and we mean kids… they looked really young) just live in it- for now.

Our favorite song of the eve (and Courtney's too) was called “Letters to God” and -you read it here first- it's a certified hit. Love thanked Linda Perry on stage for that one, as well she should. The hearty ballad will surely be her “Beautiful” (the Perry-penned Christina Aguilera hit).

I've known Perry since she was in 4 Non Blondes (I was her stylist's assistant back then) and I just had to give her props last night. She's come a long, long way baby. Gave her a hi and a hug, and told her I loved the tune, to which she playfully shined her nails on her chest, “Well, what can I say” style, before being scooted backstage.

Who ended up getting me backstage and what happened there?

Who was Hilton with and what was she drinking at the afterparty at On the Rox?

Whose presence at the show almost saw Courtney refuse to go on? (Hint: he came with Kimberly Stewart and they're rumored to be dating).

Why was the encore my favorite part of the show?

The answers in next Thursday's edition of Nightranger.

LA Weekly