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(Credit: Julie Kramer)

Music

Extremely rare audio of Nirvana performing in a small Scottish bar, 1991

@LeeThomasMason

In the years that followed the death of Kurt Cobain, fans scrambled to cram in enough Nirvana content as they could, knowing full well that the chances of new material vanished as soon as Cobain pulled the trigger. Rare footage, stories of bravery, memorabilia and all other Nirvana-related content seeped into the mainstream. Here, we go back to the early 1990s as a small Scottish bar hosted something remarkable.

Back 1991 – December 1st, to be exact – the members of Nirvana played a very small acoustic gig in a Scottish bar. The band, having just released their second album Nevermind to worldwide acclaim, were touring the record to sold-out venues across the globe.

Nirvana’s popularity was booming, that ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video was all over MTV, and Kurt Cobain was on the cover of every alternative music magazine on the planet. With that, it would only go without saying that this was the perfect moment to support a small local band in a quaint, unknown music venue, right? Well, that’s exactly what happened.

Nirvana’s first full Scottish performance was to a sold-out Friday night at the city’s Calton Studios. It was after this show that a small Edinburgh-based group named The Joyriders decided to invite Nirvana to support them at a charity fundraiser for the city’s children’s hospital the following Sunday. Despite the international fame that they were immersed in, it was an invitation Nirvana duly accepted.

As rumours and speculation began to grow, on the night of the show, a large crowd gathered inside the Southern Bar. With little communication as to whether Nirvana would show, many of the crowd decided to bail and a loyal bunch of around 30 people decided to stay.

Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl set up on the bar’s small stage for an acoustic performance. With bassist Krist Novoselic not in attendance, Grohl stepped away from the drums and instead played the acoustic bass.

Not messing around, the Nirvana duo kept their stealth approach to the surprise gig very quiet and were introduced as Teen Spirit. Now, having been finally added to the internet, you can get an insight into how unique the show sounded.

Stream the audio, below.