Novana @ Jazz Cafe 03/04/2014

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 11.04.51It sounds like a cliche, but after watching Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit video on MTV at the tender age of 13, it really opened up my eyes and ears to the genre blending possibilities that would shape my music tastes forever. As a teenager, it was the Nevermind album that really spoke to me; with my newfound love of grunge and acoustic guitar in hand, it was then that I felt my most unstoppable.

So with the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death looming, I thought that by watching Novana (the UK’s number 1 Nirvana tribute act) it would hopefully be the closest thing to the real deal.

Opening the set with Aneurysm it’s all systems go, with the punchy number allowing James Cooper (Cobain) to showcase his gravely tone, which perfectly compliments the former Nirvana frontman down to a tee.

In fact, they do very well to pay homage to each individual member, with Sam Howell on bass owning the Krist Novoselic bounce and Rob Burgess on drums rocking the messy-haired Dave Grohl head bang.

Watch Novana play Lithium below:

The crowd go wild for every single song and I really am serious when I say every single song. There are 40-year old men in moshpits and crowd surfing topless…I mean, this is just crazy.

It’s a clean cut, well rehearsed set with obvious standout tracks like Heart-Shaped Box, Come As You Are and Lithium that build the most excitement.

It was inevitable that Smells Like Teen Spirit would feature late on, but unfortunately it’s just awfully disappointing. The track feels rushed and with tuning issues from Cooper’s guitar, it quite frankly means the song falls miserably flat.

Usually you might be slightly peeved that SLTS is a shoddy remake of the original, but tonight everyone is here to pay their respects and have a good time. It’s during a mid head bang moment that you realise just how special Nirvana were as a band and it’s tribute acts like Novana that are helping to keep their spirit alive.

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