The world’s number 1 Nirvana tribute band from the UK lived up to their reputation as they visited Australia for the first time this December and played their last gig of the year in Adelaide. Jive was an intimate and atmospheric venue perfect for Nirvana Tribute (UK).
To warm up the crowd of grunge enthusiasts, Purple Plush Revolver, burst onto the stage, reviving the legendary Scott Weiland and his profound contribution to Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots. In his silver pants and white trench coat exposing his bare torso, Dellacoma Rio was the perfect showman, dominating his space. Purple Plush Revolver pumped up the crowd to sing Stone Temple Pilots’ hits like Plush. By this time, the four-piece band had Jive ready to jam to upcoming Nirvana favourites.
It was The Nirvana Tribute’s turn to throw us back into a wonderful fit of 1990’s rock brilliance. Jon O’Connor the lead singer, skulked downstairs and onto the stage, intriguing and exciting Nirvana fans. O’Connor’s hair covered his face most of the night distorting the audiences view of him, adding to the same allure and mystery Kurt Cobain exuded during his performances. Nostalgic energy leaked through the room as the bands enigmatic stage presence matched Nirvana’s.
A guy in his mid 20’s wearing a denim jacket with ‘NIRVANA’ sprayed across it, sang along to School and In Bloom next to an older guy of the generation before him. The Nirvana Tribute performed a variety of covers, bringing a crowd of various backgrounds and ages straight to the mosh pit. As the night progressed, fans fittingly increased their intensity and angst. The mood constantly shifted throughout the beautifully turbulent set. A mixture of more eerily mellow tunes like Polly and David Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World, were layered with the harsh and abruptly sharp ones; Milk It, Tourette’s, Scentless Apprentice and Heart Shaped Box from Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero record. Jon, along with Moyano the drummer and Alasdair the bassist, performed with electric enthusiasm.
Jon perfectly explored Cobain’s introverted sensitivity, rawness, attitude and vocals with his gnarly growl through gritted teeth, shown especially in the bands encore performance of the night. The iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit and Love Buzz had the crowd wild and led to a crazy Nirvana mosh pit, with a crowd surf and a classic elbow to the nose. The angry, honest and defiant Territorial Pissings and Endless Nameless were the last two songs that explosively ended an authentic experience.
Finally, in true Nirvana spirit, Jon demolished his guitar with the help of bassist Alasdair, into unrecognisable pieces. This was visually destructive, violent and oddly satisfying. Bits of the black guitar flew everywhere as fans snatched parts of it from the stage in a frenzied trance; making for a poetically beautiful end to experiencing thirty Nirvana songs live. It was like swallowing razor blades and honey; a hauntingly bittersweet feeling.
Nirvana uniquely defined a generation and created confronting and emotional music like no other band. Nirvana Tribute (UK) has highlighted that legacy and is the closest we will get to feeling what it was like to be in a Nirvana crowd.
Live Review By Zara Zampaglione