Nirvana Photos from Band’s Second U.K. Concert Surface

2021-01-06

Nirvana photos from the band's 1989 U.K. concert have been released, showing a very young Kurt Cobain and company.

Nirvana, “Bleach,” album cover – Story by Anne Erickson

British photographer Richard Davis has released never-before-seen photos from an early Nirvana concert in the U.K.

Since Nirvana, tragically, were such a short-lived band, finding never-before-seen photos of the late Kurt Cobain and company in action are always a welcomed find. Now, British photographer Richard Davis has released a series of previously unpublished photographs from Nirvana’s second U.K. concert

The photos were taken during the band’s intimate show at the Manchester Polytechnic Students Union on Oct. 24, 1989, a few years before Nirvana broke big. Depicted is a young Cobain, bass player Krist Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing. Dave Grohl would later take over for Channing, but Channing served as Nirvana’s drummer from 1988 to 1990 and performed on the band’s Sub Pop records debut, 1989’s “Bleach.”

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, which has published the rare photos, Davis explains that he thought he lost the photos years ago. When he was in lockdown this past year, Davis took to cleaning out his storage area to fill the time and stumbled upon the images.

“For years I was convinced that someone had nicked the negatives,” Davis said. “But about two months ago I was going through my kids stuff and found it among the old primary school photos.”

Davis said the show also featured Tad, another Seattle, Sub Pop band that was stirring up buzz in the alternative music world.

“The thing I remember most about the night was there was lots of stage diving. Punk had spitting, but Grunge’s big thing seemed to be stage diving,” Davis said. “Both bands were good, but the funny thing is I think if you’d have asked everyone who was there that night who was going to be the bigger band and go onto global stardom, I think most would have said Tad.”

At the time of this show in 1989, grunge was still a rare term. Nirvana and Tad weren’t very known in the U.K. or anywhere around the world, really. But, as Davis recalls, “Within 18 months grunge had taken over the world.” View Davis’ photos here.

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