Smells Like All My Dreams Came True: Joan Jett, St. Vincent and Kim Gordon Channel Kurt Cobain

Nirvana was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night, a process that involves a lot of speechifying, hugging, and putting aside of old grudges, as well as the occasional musical performance. These first few criteria were easy to hit: everyone talked for a million hours, and Courtney Love and Dave Grohl ended their 20-year feud with a real nice hug.

I'M NOT WEEPING THERE ARE JUST LIKE 12 THINGS IN MY EYE

I’M NOT WEEPING THERE ARE JUST LIKE 12 THINGS IN MY EYE (VIA COURTNEY LOVE’S TWITTER)

Given that Kurt Cobain left us twenty years ago last week, everyone was wondering how they’d manage the performances (those are some big sweet sad-eyed Converse to fill). Rather than go the hologram route, someone decided to get the rest of the band back together — drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic, along with touring guitarist Pat Smear — and then bring on four rock heroines to channel Kurt, who once wrote in his diary “I like the comfort in knowing that women are the only future in rock and roll.”

kurt_cobain

So first we had godmother of punk Joan Jett, storming onstage at exactly midnight and tearing through “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Next came Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth doing “Aneurysm” (so far there’s only a Vine of this, which is useful because it’s hard to hit “repeat” when you’re in a catatonic state of admiration).

SHE KEEPS IT PUMPIN' STRAIGHT TO MY HEART (VIA ROLLING STONE)

SHE KEEPS IT PUMPIN’ STRAIGHT TO MY HEART (VIA ROLLING STONE)

After that, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark (aka “Annie Clark… from The Vincents?”)  pulled off a pretty and menacing “Lithium.”

And everything wrapped up with Lorde, who is younger than Nirvana and sang “All Apologies” in this bratty way that I didn’t expect to like but ended up liking a lot. If you have similar feelings and they confuse you, you should check out this piece by Ann Powers (h/t Audrey).

You’ll be able to see every blessed bead of sweat wrung by this performance when it airs on HBO on May 31st.

As if that weren’t enough, the band reconvened afterwards at little Brooklyn metal club St. Vitus for an afterparty and follow-up show, which included Joan Jett ripping through “Breed,” Annie Clark doing “About a Girl,” and Kim Gordon taking on “Aneurysm” again, this time a capella. This raises important questions, such as “Can Annie Clark REALLY see me every night, free?” and “How many of my organs will I have to sell in order to purchase these bootleg tapes when they appear on Queer EBay?” There are only a few blurry YouTube clips available so far (like this one of “Heart Shaped Box”). But that’s ok, because this is what imaginations were made for, right?

YES

RIGHT.

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Cara is a writing reading bicycling fiend and a lab mouse to the world. Sometimes she's also Hat Benatar. She lives in Jamaica Plain with five cool roommates and an ice cream machine, and is generally thinking about gender, words, sustainable biodiversity, and/or electric guitars. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 112 articles for us.

9 Comments

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    i can’t get over how thrilled i am that they had only amazing female talent on hand to pay tribute to kurt, who would definitely have appreciated that.

    annie clark… from the vincents? forever.

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    Just so great. I have no idea who those other women are (I guess because I’m elderly?) but the rumors about Joan Jett and Kim Gordon almost made me go wander the streets of Brooklyn trying to see it all happen on a work night last night. Almost. (Instead I slept, and probably had more direct contact with those gals in my dream than I would have at St. Vitus or Barclay’s.)

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    I was crying last night, looking at pics and vines from these performances. Just seeing the band back together was really emotional for me, but then adding in these amazing women was just transcendent. Wonderful tribute all around.

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      it was emotional, I felt privileged to hear their tributes to Kurt, and it was clear the band was really happy to be back playing on stage with such incredible talent, but it is such a loss that Kurt wasn’t there to share it in person. Happy and sad at once.
      I loved Annie Clark’s Lithium and Lorde’s All Apologies the best, though they are all incredible. Incredible tribute to Kurt and Nirvana.

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