Live recording of Nirvana’s 1989 Portsmouth gig emerges online

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Graeme Clark of Wet Wet Wet

Popped in, Souled Out and going strong 30 years on

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A RECORDING of a pre-fame Nirvana playing in Portsmouth has emerged online.

The bootleg dates to October 28, 1989, when the grunge trio were on their first visit to the UK with Sub Pop label-mates Tad, who were fronted by the 300lb former butcher Tad Doyle.

The 14-song Portsmouth Polytechnic gig drew heavily on debut album Bleach, which had then only recently been released. It features early classics such as the Shocking Blue cover Love Buzz, About a Girl and a very early version of the Nevermind track Polly.

Those lucky enough to attend only paid £4 for their tickets to the Saturday night gig.

While frontman Kurdt Cobain was joined by bassist Kris Novoselic, Dave Grohl, who went on to find further fame with Foo Fighters, was yet to take up the drums for the Seattle band. Chad Channing manned the kit during this period.

The 42-day, 37 date European tour marked the start of the band’s rise. Second album Nevermind would go on to sell more than 30m copies worldwide, and the grunge sound and style would dominate pop culture of the early ’90s on both sides of the Atlantic. Troubled by the impact of his fame and drug addictions, Cobain killed himself in 1994, bringing the band to an abrupt halt.

Latter period Nirvana. From left, Dave Grohl, Kurdt Cobain, Kris Novoselic

Latter period Nirvana. From left, Dave Grohl, Kurdt Cobain, Kris Novoselic

The recording has been put on YouTube by a channel dedicated to the band, MoreNirvana.