Nirvana (yes, Nirvana!) reunites at Saint Vitus with J. Mascis, St. Vincent and more

Two thirds of the legendary alt-rock band, and new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, plays a secret late-night gig

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Local underground music fans thought they'd died and gone to heaven when punk legends Descendents rolled through Greenpoint metal bar Saint Vitus back in 2012. But that last-minute gig was just a warm-up to last night's insanity. Many of us waved off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame blowout at Barclays Center as just another corporate-rock spectacle. But little did we know that perennially cool alt-rock veterans Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic would turn up at the north end of Manhattan Avenue for a surprise gig, with special guests including Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis (!), St. Vincent's Annie Clark (!!) and NYC rock goddess Joan Jett (!!!).

We'd love to say we were there, but sadly, we're catching up this a.m. just like all of you. A couple observations from watching the videos that have surfaced so far: (1) Man, does Dave Grohl beat the crap out of his kit! If ever there was a drummer that needed those snazzy black gloves, it's him. (2) Nirvana's songs were really, really, really good. It's easy to downplay that fact, all these years later. Rock history has taught us that they were simply the one underground band that got the luckiest, that the climate was ripe for punk to "break" anyway and all it took was a little final push from Kurt Cobain & Co. But the truth is that Nirvana became icons because they bridged the under- and overground better than any group before them, with the scuzzy aggression of hardcore and the artful architecture of pop. It's all there in these classic songs, and even during an idiosyncratic treatment like Clark's rendition of "Heart-Shaped Box," you feel the sturdiness of the composition carrying you through.

We may have missed the gig, sure, but the real tragedy is that any Nirvana "reunion" remains a faint echo of the real thing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go blast In Utero.


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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