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(Credit: Subpop)


Watch a pre-fame Nirvana perform a gig in Radio Shack, 1988


When you’re a big fan of a band that no longer makes music, it is easy to reach the end of the musical line. It’s a path many of us have travelled when looking back at our favourite artist’s back catalogue. However, every so often, a gem appears from the depths of the archives to ignite the childlike excitement within. Here, we explore the unearthed 1988 home video footage of Nirvana playing at Radio Shack, recorded just the day after the group put down their first demo to tape.

The footage was shot on the evening of January 24th, 1988, and is recorded in the band’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. The clip is shot in the evening as the store was closed and has the band under their original moniker of ‘Ted Ed Fred’. The clip was created by the then-manager of the Radio Shack and Kurt Cobain’s close friend, Eric Harter.

The day before the footage was shot, the band recorded their first-ever demo tape in a greasy Seattle studio. The group were buoyed by the recording and Cobain’s mission to become an iconic artist had begun in earnest. He asked Harter to record the band performing ‘Paper Cuts’ – one of the tracks they had recorded as part of the 10-song demo tape – while he and Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselic performed alongside Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums.

Crover provides the kind of mechanic and mettle-producing performance that endear him and his talents to so many fans. But, naturally, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic steal the show with regards to the performance itself. From Cobain’s epic ‘rock star’ jump into the scene, to Krist using a toy bass to highlight his hulking figure, the pair show the kind of chaotic crashing which would put them in front of the leading lights of a new disenfranchised generation.

The clip arrived amid rumours of more footage of the same show floating around, which includes Harter talking about the Radio Shack video and giving a copy of the tape to Cobain’s grieving widow Courtney Love. The video is also out there with the album track of ‘Paper Cuts’ laid on top.

However, if you want our preference, we much prefer to listen to the unedited, unpolished and under-produced version. We like to see the band warts and all. A band that would not only change the face of rock music but could quite easily change the world. Their music may have evolved from this point to achieve that, but these garbled and gritty notes are what made Nirvana the last refuge of the lost soul.

Enjoy the footage, below.