Archive for the ‘nirvana’ Category

Nirvana – Live @ Reading (1992)

November 5, 2009

Written By: Jim Markunas

Everyone from my generation, and one-to-two generations prior, have a Nirvana story and/or anecdote. Afterall, they’re one of those truly timeless bands that everyone at some point was obsessed with. Here’s mine: when I was 16, I somehow ended up at a keg party with kids much older than myself. After getting exceptionally drunk off two beers, I began to rummage through the house CD/DVD collection. To my absolute joy, I found an old VHS of “Live Tonight! Sold Out!” DGC’s second post-mortem Nirvana release (the first being Unplugged in New York). Like the kid I was, I sat as close to the TV as possible, drunkenly hanging on to Cobain’s every move.

Halfway through the video, one of the older guys at the party sat next to me on the floor and began the “one day when you’re older, you’ll no longer like Nirvana” speech. At the time, I thought he was crazy! How could anyone stop liking Nirvana?

“Everyone inevitably out-grows them,” he responded, “I used to be obsessed with Nirvana when I was your age. When you’re my age, you’ll out-grow them too. Hell, even Dave Grohl out-grew Nirvana!”

Sadly, he was right; at the age of 25, I found that my Peter Pan-like glitz and glammer over Kurt Cobain was pretty much completely gone. I never listen to my old Nirvana CDs (and believe me, my collection is extensive as fuck!), I dislike hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in restaurants/elevators, and I couldn’t finish “Journals” for the life of me. In 2009, I figured that I had buried Cobain, much as Courtney Love had to do back in April of 1994.

Then… Live At Reading and Sub-Pop’s re-issue of Bleach came across my desk. I had requested both releases because I felt we needed to cover them. I spent 2 or 3 days regretting that decision as both discs sat on my kitchen table. I battled with myself incessantly, “Should I play Bleach in the car? Do I really have to listen to this stuff, or can I get one of my writers to do it?” On, and on, and on… until I finally made the firm decision to put Bleach on in the car.

“Blew” came blasting through my car stereo. I began to bask in nostalgia, remembering my awkward teenage years. I found myself falling back in love with Nirvana, the same way I had loved them from 1998-2002. I learned something important: no matter what anyone says, Nirvana will always be timeless to all and new to some, much like U2 or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Nirvana is the type of band you can listen to with your parents, friends and kids. Anecdote about “Blew”: The song was supposed to be in “Drop-D” tuning, but Kurt (who had been high and nervous in the studio) had ended up detuning his bottom string an extra note too far, thereby accidentally recording the song in CADGBe, as opposed to DADGBe. Since they were on an extremely tight budget, they didn’t have time to re-record the guitar part, so they said, “Fuck it,” and released the song in the wrong tuning. That’s Grunge, baby!!!

Anyhow, I don’t review albums, so I farmed that one out to my trusty review staff (smiles), but I made the firm decision to watch and review Live At Reading.

Every die-hard Nirvana fan/geek has a bootlegged audio copy of Nirvana’s 1992 performance at the UK’s Reading Festival (I know I do). The video, on the other hand, has always been in high demand. 17 years after the fact, DGC has released an official (previously unreleased) video and audio (previously unofficially released) version of the performance. This is a must-have for any Nirvana fan, geek or casual listener.

The official package features footage of the performance, which took place on August 30, 1992 and is considered by many to be one of the greatest performances ever at the festival.

I watched the DVD from beginning to end, glued to the couch for a solid hour-and-a-half. I ignored all my e-mails, texts from girls, and other various CWG-related business, as Live At Reading had transported me to a time that was free of cell phones, e-mail, and the almighty Blackberry. Besides, Nirvana’s Seminole Reading Festival performance was killer from beginning to end. They just don’t make bands like Nirvana anymore, and nothing will ever top the innocence, hooks and punk ideals of the Grunge-era.

Thank you Sub-Pop, and thank you David Geffen!

After the credits, there’s a short, but candid scene of Kurt hanging out with a young fan and his dad. It reminded me of Kurt’s humanity, and was by far the best part of the DVD. Nirvana fans – Please go out and buy this DVD/CD set, it’s worth its weight in gold… or Platinum…

Also, everyone has a Nirvana anecdote. I invite you to write yours in our comments section below.

The CD version of the performance features the setlist (below) minus ‘Love Buzz’. CD-only and DVD-only versions of the release will be issued on the same day as the DVD package, and a double 12-inch vinyl version will come out on November 16.

The setlist for ‘Nirvana Live At Reading’ is:

‘Drain You’
‘In Bloom’
‘Come As You Are’
‘About A Girl’
‘Lounge Act’
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘On A Plain’
‘Negative Creep’
‘Been A Son’
‘All Apologies’
‘Stay Away’
‘Spank Thru’
‘Love Buzz’
‘The Money Will Roll Right In’
‘Territorial Pissings’

Nirvana – Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition)

November 5, 2009
Nirvana - Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition)

Written By: James Swigart

Label: Sub Pop – Rating:

Nirvana’s Bleach Deluxe Edition, re-mastered beautifully by Jack Endino, gets in our face from the get-go and stays there. Since this album is very attractive, we are stoked that wise people decided to make it.

Bleach Deluxe Edition contains both the original album and 12 live tracks. Six of the live tracks are versions of songs on the original. The live tracks are all from one show in early 1990. “School (live)” is simply stunning. The legendary and seminal Kurt Cobain’s vocals and guitar are both incredibly powerful. “Floyd the Barber (live)” is equally powerful. Krist Novoselic’s bass guitar is nimble and Cobain’s guitar a beast.

Novoselic’s simple yet elegant bass begins “Dive (live)” and Cobain’s trademark howl is in full effect. Cobain’s rasp has vocal power equivalent to that of the best Johnny Cash. We can not recall a vocalist having the raspy power of Cobain. The drums and bass keep a nice beat while Cobain’s voice pierces us over and over again.

“Spank Thru (live)” is a snappy little tune with some guitar similar to Johnny Marr’s while Marr was with the Smiths yet rougher. Of course the guitar’s rougher – it’s Nirvana. This tune rocks with the vocal fluidity shown by Cobain on his tragically final record, In Utero.

“Sappy (live)” begins with Cure-like guitar chords and then the vocals hit us hard and lovingly. Guitar swirls and forms a bed of flowers that we could lie on forever. The power, urgency, pace, and need of this song define Nirvana, one of the great bands in rock history.

“About a Girl (live)” is perhaps my favorite Nirvana song. The fast pace, vocal rasp, Marr-like guitar, and consistent bass display a band that’s powerful and hungry. The album ends with “Blew (live).” Good drums, peppy bass, and slower Sonic Youth-esque guitar keep us enthralled.

The original album shows power similar to that heard on Joy Division’s Closer and on the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. Some of the pacing can be plodding as one would expect from a band with relatively inexperienced musicians. This plodding is heard especially on “Floyd the Barber” and on “Paper Cuts.”

“Blew” is the first track and we are taken by vocals and guitar. Cobain’s solo shows confidence that would serve him well musically. Chad Channing’s proficient yet much maligned drumming keeps a good beat. Channing drums on every track on the original album except “Floyd the Barber,” “Paper Cuts,” and “Downer” – tracks on which Dale Crover drums. The drumming is never bad and is frequently what we prefer – forceful and blending. We were unable to determine who drummed on the live tracks. The drummer was probably either Dave Grohl or Channing.

“School” is our favorite track on the original. “Love Buzz” shows uncommon power and a funky bass line similar to that used by Flea. In spite of the plodding nature of some tunes, the original is a good album because the string of songs beginning at the 7th song, “Negative Creep,” and ending with the original’s closer, “Downer,” is powerful, brilliant, impassioned, and seminal. In particular, Cobain’s use of prolonged guitar chords, staccato riffs, and raspy, powerful vocals is pioneering. The brutally underrated Melvins owe a huge debt to Bleach.

Need is a word that defines all great bands. The need to please; the need to perform; the need to improve; the need to experience. Cobain’s and Novoselic’s need is prevalent throughout Bleach Deluxe Edition. Those who heard Bleach shortly after its release and said that Nirvana would be great heard this need and knew how it would forecast.

Like Nirvana? Check out: The Melvins, Alice in Chains

Nirvana’s Never-Released 1992 Reading Concert Set To Debut November

October 9, 2009

Ranked #1 in Kerrang Magazine’s “100 Gigs That Shook The World” and voted as “Nirvana’s #1 Greatest Moment” by fans in an NME poll, Nirvana’s historic August 30, 1992 headlining appearance at the UK’s Reading Festival is one of the most bootlegged concerts in the annals of rock n roll. Now, fans will have an opportunity to own a pristine copy of that entire performance — color-corrected video from the original film with audio sourced from the original multi-track masters. Nirvana Live At Reading will be issued in a limited edition CD+DVD Deluxe Edition as well as DVD-only, CD-only configurations on November 3, 2009, followed by a 2LP version on November 17, 2009.

While the show’s centerpiece was a performance of nearly the entire Nevermind tracklist, also noteworthy were early performances of three as yet unrecorded songs which wouldn’t be released until 2 years later on In Utero: “All Apologies,” “Dumb,” and in its first ever public performance, “Tourettes.” The career-spanning setlist also reached back to the band’s 1989 Sub Pop debut album, Bleach, for “Blew,” “About A Girl,” “School,” “Negative Creep” and first single “Love Buzz,” and even further back to the mid-‘80s for “Spank Thru.” Other songs from the Reading set would appear in studio form on the Incesticide compilation later in the year: “Aneurysm,” “Been A Son” and “Sliver.” Additionally, the band played a pair of beloved covers by two bands that helped shape the formative Nirvana sound – “The Money Will Roll Right In” by Fang and “D-7” by The Wipers.

Only 2 of the 25 performances on the DVD have ever been released before.

Nirvana Live At Reading DVD:
1. Breed
2. Drain You
3. Aneurysm
4. School
5. Sliver
6. In Bloom
7. Come As You Are
8. Lithium
9. About A Girl
10. Tourette’s
11. Polly
12. Lounge Act
13. Smells Like Teen Spirit
14. On A Plain
15. Negative Creep
16. Been A Son
17. All Apologies
18. Blew
19. Dumb
20. Stay Away
21. Spank Thru
22. Love Buzz*
23. The Money Will Roll Right In
24. D-7
25. Territorial Pissings
* not included on CD/LP

Novoselic/Grohl Pissed About Cobain Guitar Hero Likeness

September 11, 2009

This is a statement regarding Nirvana, Guitar Hero and the likeness of the late Kurt Cobain:

“We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate – we have no control whatsoever in that area.

While we were aware of Kurt’s image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn’t know players have the ability to unlock the character. This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in “re-locking” Kurt’s character so that this won’t continue in the future.

It’s hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists’ music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better.”

-Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl