Illustration, graphic design, urban homesteading and cycling
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Rare Early Nirvana Footage Screened At The Crest
The iconic grunge band, Nirvana, played Sacramento three times before the lead singer’s death in 1994. The first performance took place at a little venue on Folsom Blvd. called The Cattle Club on February 12, 1990.
Concert organizer Jerry Perry had heard the band’s first album, Bleach and knew he wanted them in for a show… but he didn’t know much else about the Seattle-based group.
“We didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t know how old these guys were or anything,” said Perry. “They were cool guys, fun guys.”
It was a Monday night and there were about 65 people in attendance.
“It was just an explosion. They were this little band out of Seattle,” Perry said. “It was a great time. You felt like there was this roar coming back into the music scene. Here came Nirvana and it was really something. I loved them instantly.”
With a lot of Cattle Club shows there was a video camera set up in the corner of the stage. This night an electrical cord bisected the frame. Fortuitously, Shayne Stacy was also shooting video from the front of the crowd.
In 2010 Perry’s friend, Jim McLain, took both recordings and pieced them together along with an audio-cassette recording from that night. The sound is woven together from all three sources and the images go back and forth from Stacy’s hand held to the wall mount.
It all comes together to form what Perry believes is the first two-camera video of a Nirvana concert. It was the seventh show of the band’s first tour, which Perry screened at the Crest Theatre Sunday afternoon.
“There was no knowing where things were going to go in the next three years, and how these guys were such a vital change in the music industry. But at that moment it certainly suggested bigger and better things to come. It was pretty amazing,” said Perry in his introduction to the film.
Nirvana came back in August of 1990 to open for Sonic Youth at the Crest. They played the following year as an opener for Dinosaur Jr, also at the Crest.
“Nirvana outdrew [Dinosaur Jr.] like crazy,” said Perry. “This was just a grassroots explosion these guys were riding. When they finished half the crowd left... About five months later they put out [the album] Nevermind.”
It was at the Dinosaur Jr. show that Nirvana was left alone in the dressing room with a can of green paint and proceeded to make a giant mess - leaving behind green footprints on the wall. Those footprints remain there today, leaving a little piece of Kurt Cobain in Sacramento.
After the Sunday screening, ushers escorted groups into the basement to pose with Cobain’s footprints.
The crowd looking at Kurt Cobain's footprints in the basement of the Crest. Cody Drabble / Capital Public Radio
Mindy Sage poses with the rock-star foodprints. Cody Drabble / Capital Public Radio
It was clear from the turn-out for a last-minute screening of a 25-year-old camcorder recording of a concert - Nirvana still resonates with a lot of people.