Friday, July 18, 2008

"First of all, their hair rules"

That's the MC introducing Nirvana at the Pyramid Club on July 18, 1989. Nirvana made their New York City debut that night as part of the New Music Senimar. They played a 14-song set. Other bands on the bill that night were Cows, God Bullies, Lonely Moans and Surgery. (This information came from the Nirvana Live Guide.)

Here's some grainy footage of their NYC debut:

During "Floyd the Barber," a drunk gets on stage. He's eventually shoved off by Kurt Cobain and second guitarist Jason Everman, who was later kicked out of the band. (This was his last show with Nirvava, who were so disappointed in how they played, they cancelled their remaining four gigs on this East Coast tour. )

Meanwhile, here's a video for "In Bloom," some of which was shot in and around East River Park, the Financial District and the South Street Seaport the day before their Pyramid Club gig. The peformance footage for the video was shot in April 1990.

This article by Joe D'Angelo and Jem Aswad published on provides more background about the performance at the Pyramid Club and the "In Bloom" video:

According to Michael Azerrad's "Come As You Are," the definitive Nirvana tome, the show was far from the band's best: One of the few who refrained from heckling was Iggy Pop, who cheered encouragingly. After the show, bassist Krist Novoselic was so disappointed with the performance that he shaved his head bald in the Jersey City, New Jersey, motel where the band was staying. This explains why, in the video, he's seen with hair in some scenes and resembles Kojak in others.

Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon stitched in the story's silver lining by bringing A&R man Gary Gersh to the show. Not long after, Gersh signed the band to Geffen Records, the company that released Nirvana's breakthrough, Nevermind, in 1991, after Moore convinced Kurt Cobain that signing to a major label wasn't selling out. The video, however, offers no indication that the band was on the verge of a bad night.

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