PORTSMOUTH & SOUTHSEA'S No.1 CULTURE RESOURCE
READING

Listen to Nirvana Live at Portsmouth Polytechnic i...

Listen to Nirvana Live at Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1989

Back in October 1989 iconic label Sub Pop Records sent to Europe Mudhoney for a tour with labelmates Tad and a then relatively unknown Nirvana in tow. The bands played all over Europe and the UK, with shows at loads at cities all over including Portsmouth. Back then (and up until the late 90s) the Portsmouth Polytechnic (now the University of Portsmouth) Student Union Ents Hall was a great live music venue that drew bands big and small and on the 28th of October 1989 the young and fierce Nirvana hit the stage. As it was back then too, you had a bootlegger in the crowd capturing the performance and you can listen to that below. The show almost didn’t happen after Kurt in Rome a few days before almost called it a day and quit the band from emotional exhaustion.

Small live music venues were and still are the very best places to to discover tomorrow’s huge recording artists and festival headliners while they are learning their trade, while they are still raw, unpolished and vital. If you were one of the lucky few who caught the show please let us know your memories as a comment!

On this tour was Sub Pop Label co-founder Bruce Pavitt tagged along to document grunge’s first foray across the Atlantic, photographing the bands onstage and off. The best of his intimate shots are collected in the book Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989.

Nirvana Poster

“…I had a very deep belief that these were some of the greatest rock and roll bands in the world. And if only other people had the chance to witness this, they would be as swept up as we were.” – Bruce Pavitt

Kurt signing an autograph in the OG Rough Trade on Talbot Road in London. Photo by Bruce Pavitt.

Tad and Nirvana caught a hovercraft ferry to Portsmouth to meet up with the Mudhoney tour. Photo by Bruce Pavitt.

Set list:

School
Scoff
Love Buzz
Floyd The Barber
Dive
Polly
Big Cheese
Spank Thru
About A Girl
Token Eastern Song
Stain
Been A Son
Negative Creep
Blew


RELATED POST

  1. Neal Layton

    6 February

    I my GAWSHHHH– I was there. I think I can even hear my mate screamin in between songs!! MEIN GOTT!

    BIG props to whoever had the foresight to bootleg. Shame it did’nt capture the endless stage diving that I remember!

    Crazy crazy times that shaped my youth. Thanks for this guys.

    Wondered if there were any more bootlegs form this era? Mudhoney, MBV, Dinosaur Jr???!!!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW STRONG ISLAND ON INSTAGRAM