Nirvana 13th December 1993.

On this day in 1993 Nirvana played a hometown gig in Seattle which was recorded by the global cable television music channel MTV. Whilst I never personally saw Nirvana perform as a four piece unit – listening to it now it’s perhaps an unassuming statement to suggest they were musically really still in ascendancy. That extra guitar adds to make a very solid sound – it’s like they’ve upped the ante whilst also adding layers of what is essentially Blast First goes Pop.

Whatever anyone may think of the bands commercial crossover, their sound was never as on edge yet fiercely strong but dangerously fragile as the delivery at the very end of their existence as a band. Be that the MTV Unplugged show or the Live & Loud gig one really could see that one member of the band didn’t want to be there. In the sound check for the gig the frontman looks disinterested and genuinely lost. You could, of course argue it was the drugs – or think deeper that at least one member of the band was feeling the weight of being in the most important band in the world at the time, which I’d say they really were. Revisiting the footage of the gig and sound check tonight, spotting the Converse trainers Kurt was found dead in, the tale tells its own story.

Check out the one track video below (Radio Friendly Unit Shifter) and see at the very end that hair masked smile – it’s simply why Nirvana were still going in late 1993 I feel – lost in music. With a sound like the Butthole Surfers eat a song by The Jam (Eton Rifles) the whole gig showcases Nirvana at their very best soundwise. Purists may disagree and, like many bands suggest their earlier gigs / performances were better, I’d go so far as to suggest the fact they were so far out ahead on their own resulted in them introducing a far more alternative yet still strangely accessible sound. They were a juggernaut out of control, their next couple of studio albums would have reshaped the 90’s – it’s both glorious and tragic…

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