I’ve seen few and far between ‘covers’ bands and largely they are not my thing. Birmingham based The Undercocks do a valid Punk tribute which focuses on many Punk and New Wave bands and classics. The genre spanning material does appeal. Separately I can only recall watching a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute, by accident, in the late 90’s and fittingly Bjorn Again on that Reading ’92 gig curated by Kurt Cobain himself.
So, on the day before the 20th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain will The Real Nirvana be any cop? Will this be necrophilia industry or a fitting tribute?
The venue, Moochers, in Stourbridge, West Midlands, is a great small venue. Fittingly a mural on the wall before entering the Live performance room is adorned with a rock wall of the dead, Kurt ominously is missing.
The room fills with people aged roughly 50 down to 16. The vibe is noticeably warm. People know why they are here. I guess the room can be split into three categories if need be. Fans who saw Nirvana (fortunately I saw them 5 times), fans of simply great music and youngsters who clearly did not get the chance to see Nirvana.
The Real Nirvana pull out the plugs, literally for an acoustic set and a full electric set. A fan of about 16 years age stands alone at the front for the Unplugged set. The tribute act are immediately well received and sound so much like Nirvana that, on a day like today, is both eerie and welcome. The attention to detail is phenomenal.
Wigs apart you really wouldn’t know you weren’t actually listening to Nirvana. Little touches like the bands appearance and stage moves ape the real deal with loving warmth.
The acoustic Unplugged set runs like this; About A Girl, Come As You Are, The Man Who Sold The World, Pennyroyal Tea, Dumb, Polly, Lake Of Fire, Something In The Way, On A Plain, All Apologies, Where Did You Sleep Last Night. All Apologies is greeted with whoops from the whole room part acknowledging Nirvana, part acknowledging how well The Real Nirvana are pulling this off.
The version of Pennyroyal Tea is performed, bravely as a solo piece, complete with the vocal breakdown, almost too much attention to detail. Strangers smile at each other acknowledging just how well The Real Nirvana are pulling this off. Tragedy turned on its head.
A brief interlude before the electric set. The 4 piece offer an electric sound that totally matches the acoustic set. Charged up simply by the music it becomes too much for the younger more energetic fans and as the set opens with Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. As two young lads with the look of early 90’s Sub-Pop fans go nuts at the front other attendees glance around and exchange musically induced smiles again.
Drain You, Breed, Serve The Serpents, Rape Me, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Aneurysm, Very Ape, Lithium, Blew, Heart Shaped Box and Territorial Pissings build with intensity and again so sound much like the actual band that The Real Nirvana do ‘covers’ bands a great deed here. Enough to change ones opinions of ‘covers’ bands, and with an example where the original band are not a feasible option it’s hard not to be totally won over.
No need to wait for another anniversary moment. This is no necrophilia cash in – just a detailed celebration of a fantastic band. Catch ’em live if you can…