Nirvana’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week included an amazing on-stage reunion between Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but that was just a taste of what the trailblazing grunge rockers would have in store for that night.
At the awards show, the original Nirvana members were joined by female artists like Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) and Lorde in place of departed frontman Kurt Cobain, but after the ceremony, the party moved down the street to a tiny bar in Greenpoint, N.Y., where Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Deer Tick’s John McCauley also got in on the action.
The doors of the hush-hush show were only opened for about 230 friends and insiders of Nirvana, and those that gained entrance were treated to a rollicking 19-song set.
Including both Mascis and McCauley was fitting. Mascis’ mind-blowing guitar chops aded a brutal edge to tracks like “Pennyroyal Tea” and “School,” while McCauley’s raspy snarl called to mind Cobain’s iconic voice. In fact, McCauley and his fellow Deer Tick bandmates sometime perform as a Nirvana tribute band called Deervana.
Jett stepped up to the mic for gems like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Breed,” Clark’s offerings included “Lithium” and “About a Girl,” and Gordon led “Negative Creep” and “Aneurysm.”
“It felt like when you’re a kid and you sleep over at a friend’s house and you become part of your friend’s family for the night,” McCauley told Rolling Stone. ”Even though they haven’t been a band in 20 years, they felt just like a band to me. When I got up onstage, it was a lull, because we were trying to figure out what song to do next and there was just feedback and us yelling at each other and Dave was like, ‘Wow this is like a real Nirvana show!’ And my band has had a million moments like that onstage. I guess our bands are just of a similar breed, [laughs].”
While footage from the show is sparse, watch a fan-shot video of Mascis’ take on “School” below, in addition to a clip of Deervana in action for good measure.