Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Often referred to as the “reluctant voice of a generation” and the “king of grunge”, Cobain was the frontman of grunge trio Nirvana, who’s song Smells Like Teen Spirit single-handedly brought the Seattle Sound to prominence.
Nirvana released a total of three studio albums and it was their second, Nevermind, that cast them into the mainstream spotlight and popularised alternative music.
The trio visited Glasgow in 1991 as part of their Nevermind tour, with fans paying just £6 to see the now legendary trio. It’s not the best quality, but you can hear an audio recording of the gig here:
The anniversary has made the news all over the world, from BBC to NME, so a tribute night of music comes as no surprise.
King Tut’s was the venue, and the evening featured a host of local talent doing a mixture of Nirvana covers and their own material. All proceeds went to the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
A total of eight bands took to the stage and Nirvana tracks from all three albums were covered to varying levels of success. The room was packed and the gig was a sell-out. The crowd was made up of a huge variety of age-groups, probably due to the fact that every generation feels like they have a claim on Nirvana.
The gig was great overall with a range of talent, all of whom had clearly been influenced by Nirvana in some way. The only real issue I had was with the change-overs between bands. Each act only played three or four songs and the change-overs between them were slow as they each did a short sound-check, taking almost as long as each short set. At some points it was clear that the crowd was getting restless, especially towards the end.
Michael Cassidy impressed with their covers of Lithium and Heart Shaped Box, perfectly capturing the grunge feel. You can thus imagine my shock when they performed their own track and revealed themselves as a Bubblegum Rock band.
Chris Devotion and the Expectations didn’t look very “grungy” in their smart clothes so I have to admit I was quite surprised and impressed by their alternative rock sound.
United Fruit, Tijuana Bibles and Poor Thingsall impressed with different sounds, as did Felix Champion and Evil Edison. It was great to see such a variety of acts over the course of one night and it opened my eyes to a few different bands who I will be sure to try to see again live.
Paisley-based trio Carnivores were the final act of the night and quick became my favourites when they played one of my favourite Nirvana songs, Drain You.
Frontman Kenny Leckie then addressed the audience, introducing the final song of the night:
“Nobody was going to play this tonight, but if it wasn’t for this song, none of us would probably be here.”
The trio then sent the crowd into a frenzy as they launched into Smells Like Teen Spirit.
If you want to read some more about Cobain, there is a great article that was written by Jonathan Freedland in the aftermath of his death, which The Guardian republished on their blog: http://www.theguardian.com/music/from-the-archive-blog/2014/apr/05/kurt-cobain-an-icon-of-alienation
And finally, here is Nirvana’s famous MTV Unplugged performance from 1993, rest in peace KC:
Image Credits: http://www.theneonangels.com/2012/kurt-cobain-day-grunge-died/