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Listen to a 40-Minute Unearthed 1990 Nirvana Show


The 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind arrived with much fanfare last month. But rarities from the Seattle grunge legends continue to hit the Web and the Boston Phoenix has got its hands on a recording of of the band’s show at now-shuttered club ManRay in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 18, 1990 — before Dave Grohl joined as the drummer.

The crowd only numbered between 60 to 75 people, according to the Phoenix. They saw Nirvana play future Nevermind cuts “In Bloom” and “Breed” along with original songs from debut album Bleach and covers of both Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz” and the Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips.” According to the Nirvana Live Guide, Kurt Cobain poured an entire pitcher of water on then-drummer Chad Channing, and bass player Krist Novoselic sang a bit of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” This recording cuts out after “Stain,” but check out the full set list below; while the sound quality is fairly typical bootleg fare, Cobain’s throat-rending howls are unmistakable.

Don’t go anywhere without checking out SPIN’s complete coverage of Nevermind‘s 20th anniversary!

Nirvana set list, April 18, 1990 (ManRay; Cambridge, Massachussets):
“Love Buzz” (Shocking Blue cover)
“About a Girl”
“Spank Thru”
“In Bloom”
“Big Cheese”
“Molly’s Lips” (Vaselines cover)
“Been a Son”
“Negative Creep”
“Stay Away”