BBC RADIO ULSTER
Monday, 8pm / Friday, Midnight
The previous albums covered in this series of celebrations - Nebraska, Astral Weeks and Ok Computer, are all, without doubt, stunning works of art. But Nevermind still stands out. It's arguably the most inviting, life changing record of the lot. It made us want to play guitar and shout about what mattered. It also invented an attitude and sparked an entire genre, as well as encouraging young men all over the world to steal their grannies oldest cardigan.
Tonight is an absolute treat. Thirteen local bands desperately keen to perform their own versions of a track on Nevermind. From those famous opening chords, the enthusiasm both on stage and throughout the venue is at a level which Kurt would no doubt disapprove of.
Fighting with Wire and Mojo Fury, like around half the bands in this country, may not exist (in their current guise at least) if Nirvana hadn't written Nervermind. They acknowledge this fact with startlingly precise renditions of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and 'In Bloom' respectively. What a wonderful celebration.
Push Borders are the first act to deconstruct a track, bravely removing that famous bass line from 'Come as You Are'. JP Mc Sorley (formerly Red Sirus) is barely getting those lyrics out, giving bundles of emotion to what host Stuart Bailie says is just about the only song on the album which suggests the kids are alright.
'Lithium' and 'Territorial Pissings' are given faithful, suitably noisy airings from new act Nocturn and The Dangerfields respectively, while 'Breed' is given a haunting makeover by Rachel Austin, an incredible guitarist and a man with the darkest sounding cello in music. 'Polly' is also tweaked, with former members of Coda giving it a vaguely poppy feel - of course that nasty, confrontational subject matter remains intact.
It's all been building up to The Lowly Knights. Granted there's thirteen of them, so strength in numbers may have helped them steal the show, but their bluegrass, Arcade Fire/Broken Social Scene style reworking of 'Drain You' is absolutely breathtaking. Such an odd little song has never made so many people smile.
(review to be continued....)