Nirvana’s four-song set at the Rock Hall induction last night was just the beginning.
After the ceremony was over, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, and Dave Grohl headed over to Greenpoint, Brooklyn club Saint Vitus (capacity: 350) and rocked a delighted invite-only crowd with a full 19-song set list.
The format was the same as during the Rock Hall event, with Novoselic, Smear, and Grohl backing a revolving team of lead vocalists. Joan Jett, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and St. Vincent (the stage name for musician Ann Clark), performed the songs they’d just done at the Rock Hall, along with additional treats like “In Bloom” (Jett), “Negative Creep” (Gordon) and “About a Girl” (St. Vincent).
Other guest singers included J Mascis from indie rock Dinosaur Jr. (a Nirvana favorite) and John McCauley from alt-country act Deer Tick (who are known to transform themselves into a Nirvana tribute band, Deervana, for fun).
Though Novoselic and Grohl have occasionally played together on stage since Nirvana ended in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, they’ve always limited themselves to a few songs. But they went all out last night, with a set that could’ve been entitled “Essential Nirvana,” encompassing the band’s biggest hits (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”), classic tracks (“Pennyroyal Tea”), and abrasive noise (“Milk It”).
Nirvana friends and associates, and other notable names were spotted in the audience, including Jack Endino (producer of Nirvana’s first album, “Bleach”), Butch Vig (producer of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, “Nevermind”), and Sleater-Kinney guitarist/“Portlandia” show creator-star Carrie Brownstein.
Closing honors were left to Gordon, a fitting tribute, as Sonic Youth served as mentors to the young Nirvana (who would sign with Sonic Youth’s management company). Gordon struck the most punk rock note of the night by shouting, “I just want to say — Bruce Springsteen sucks!” between songs (Springsteen’s E Street Band had been inducted earlier at the Rock Hall event). Smear also decided this was the moment to smash his guitar, doing so after “Negative Creep,” only to be informed there was one more song left to play.
The impromptu show wrapped up around 4 a.m.
Smells Like Teen Spirit (with Joan Jett)
Breed (with Joan Jett)
In Bloom (with Joan Jett)
Territorial Pissings (with Joan Jett)
All Apologies (with Joan Jett)
Drain You (with J. Mascis)
Penny Royal Tea (with J. Mascis)
School (with J. Mascis)
Lithium (with Annie Clark)
About A Girl (with Annie Clark)
Heart Shaped Box (with Annie Clark)
Serve the Servantsm (with John Mccaluey)
Scentless Apprentice (with John Mccaluey)
Tourette’s (with John Mccaluey)
Aneurysm (with Kim Gordon)
Negative Creep (with Kim Gordon)
Moist Vagina (with Kim Gordon)