Back in '89 in the midst of my college radio days (KDVS!), we went to go see TAD down in SF at the Kennel Club since we had just missed them up in Sac, and had the great pleasure of being totally blown away by Nirvana. I was lucky enough to see them a few more times in some small venues before they got so big. Crazy to think how long ago that period was.
One of the great parts of the grunge movement was that the live performances were often as good or better than the recorded album version. Despite being an “alternative” to rock and roll, they brought the swagger and energy back to the stage. The same can’t be said for overproduced “Rock” acts of the time. The songs were all fat and shiny on the disc, thin and sloppy on stage.
Nirvana in particular always seemed to bring it whenever they (esp. Kurt) were in the sweet spot sobriety-wise. I would gladly pay for a recording from the board at this show.
Gotta love small venues, too. Man, I miss the days of the Covered Dish in Gainesville, FL.
Hardback Cafe? Not so much. Too many assholes in one place when I was living there.
And we Gen Xers thought we were cynical about the future back then!
Nirvana were not the first or last band to protest that policy mentioned on the video
Look for the unplugged power cables on top of Orbital’s equipment
Or you could go for the “we’re not even going to pretend we’re performing music” attitude of the Orb
Wonder what the cover charge was that night?
I like the fast version (~116 bpm) of Smells Like Teen Spirit in this video. The album version is about 108 bpm.
Somehow I never really thought of Nirvana as top musicians, even though I loved them the minute I heard them. But they clearly were. That drumming is just f’n amazing. And for Kurt to play those riffs so effortlessly while singing. Good lord.
Dave Grohl is an absolute animal on drums. Foo Fighters is a band I’ve never managed to see live (they don’t seem to love Detroit all that much), but it’s still on my bucket list.
It’s probably because they almost always hit Cleveland on tours and Detroit is close enough for a lot of people. Dave Grohl’s mom still lives in the Warren, Ohio area so they tend to do their rust belt swing that way.
My introduction to Nirvana was seeing them on The Word, a pretty terrible youf culcha show on Channel 4 in the UK. It’s a pretty great perfornance. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (The Word 1991 - full version) - YouTube
Just before they got massive, a friend of mine who religiously listened to John Peel asked me to drive him to a little pub in Bristol to see a little band (literally) called The White Stripes.
Edit: Was at The Louisiana in 2001.
It’s hard to believe that he’d be 75 today.
If you mean Cobain, he’d be 54. 27 years of life, 27 years since.
That Nevermind is 30 makes me feel old either way
Hell yeah! I haven’t listened to that song in ages but I got goosebumps, just like the first time, when I knew I was hearing something really resonant for my generation.
And I agree with the posts here about the energy of shows in small venues, but I’m also a big fan of vocals, and find a lot of smaller venues don’t get the soundboard (or whatever) right. I absolutely loved my Nevermind cd, played it until it cracked, and will always love that version a lot.
I saw The Foo Fighters a few times in their early years and often remember the way Dave Grohl was first described in the local music mag. It was something along the lines of:
“One of the worlds best drummers who insists on singing and playing electric guitar.”
Back then I found it fascinating (and encouraging) to watch people like him and “Dexter” from “The Offspring” become decent vocalists over time through sheer determination, practice and persistence.