It’s not Nirvana, but it’s Near-vana. Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear are making eye contact from opposite sides of the stage. Dave Grohl is beating the living shit out of some poor, unsuspecting drums. Between them, St Vincent and Beck are trying their best to work a sort of secular voodoo and summon up a little of the spirit of Kurt Cobain.
They opened with St Vincent taking care of lead vocals on a thunderous version of ‘Lithium’. Then it’s over to Beck, who stumbles a little through the lyrics of ‘In Bloom’ but saves himself with a series of blistering guitar solos. Afterwards, he waxes nostalgic. “That was a pretty good mosh pit,” he said. “I was in the most intense mosh pit of my life in this room. I remember being carried off my feet, and when I got out my hands were bleeding and I didn’t know why. The band was Nirvana.”
That would have been in 1990, when Nirvana played the Palladium a year after the release of ‘Bleach’. That was 30 years ago, so how can it be that when Beck leads the band into ‘Been A Son’ – which they played that night, along with ‘In Bloom’ – it still sounds so fresh, urgent and dangerous?