With all due respect to the other honorees at last night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, all eyes were on Nirvana. The chatter over who would stand in for Kurt Cobain was enough to drown out one of KISS’s uglier fights. As we suggested yesterday, a woman fronted Nirvana. No, actually, four women fronted Nirvana last night: Joan Jett (as rumored), Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, and — wait for it — Lorde. As Billboard reports in detail, each singer took a very different approach to heir covers, which were as follows: Jett with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Gordon with “Aneurysm,” Clark with “Lithium” (which she covered recently — now we know it was just a warm-up), and Lorde with “All Apologies” (featuring Gordon, Clark, and Jett on guitar). There’s shaky, fan-shot video of some of these performances (above, below), but for the good stuff, the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air May 31 on HBO. Watch the videos (and behold Lorde’s bright pink suit) while you can, as I imagine the Rock Hall/HBO will pull ’em down soon enough.
As reported weeks ago, Michael Stipe provided a touching induction speech for Nirvana. Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Kurt’s mother (Wendy O’Connor), and Courtney Love all made acceptance speeches. Grohl thanked all the Nirvana drummers that came before him, while Love played nice despite the audible booing from the crowd — shockingly nice, actually. Despite their legal battles and arguments in the press, Courtney and Dave hugged it out on stage. Kurt’s sisters also appeared on stage during the acceptance, but Frances Bean was not present (Courtney said she was “sick” from the stage.) You can watch the acceptance speeches below.
Following the ceremonies at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Nirvana and friends migrated north in the borough to Greenpoint metal bar St. Vitus. It was there that they played an aftershow featuring Jett, Kim, St. Vincent, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, and Deer Tick’s John McCauley. Videos below.
The St. Vitus setlist was as follows:
In the press room, Billboard reports that Clark discussed Nirvana’s influence: “Nevermind came out when I was nine and it changed my life. It’s the reason I’m playing music. I would be lying if I said [tonight] weren’t a little melancholy.”