The 30 years of “Nevermind” (1/6). How many are there, on this evening of the 1er December 1989 at the Espace Icare, the MJC of Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine), to see “The future of rock’n’roll”, to use the famous formula of critic Jon Landau applied fifteen years earlier to the Savior Bruce Springsteen? The figure of 75 spectators was peddled on the Internet. In fact, 214 paying entries will be counted by the Fahrenheit association, which is bringing two Sub Pop groups to France for the first time.
This Seattle-based label (Washington State) is the emblem of a current from the northwest of the United States, mixing punk and metal, soon known as grunge. At the head of the bill, a quartet now forgotten: Tad, first name of its leader, a former butcher with a bouncer physique. The other group is a trio led by a weakling with a discolored blonde hair. Singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain called it ‘Nirvana’, unaware that the word had already been used in the 1960s by psychedelic Londoners.
The Washburn guitar that Cobain brutalizes lives its last days, destroyed two days later in London
The fans of the first hour and the curious will be rewarded: they will have the first, in France, to hear two songs called to appear on the album which was going to cause an earthquake – without a reply since – in the rock landscape. Object from nowhere (i.e. neither Los Angeles nor New York), Nevermind, of which a reissue is planned for the fall, will sell out to more than 15 million certified copies (the estimates reach the double) after its publication on September 24, 1991. By redefining the strategy of the recording industry and in s ‘accompanying sociological literature to identify this disenchanted generation that succeeded the baby boomers.
The novelties presented by Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing in Issy play in contrasts: Polly is adorned with a pleasant pop melody to evoke, from the point of view of the criminal, the rape of a teenage girl, inspired by a news item that occurred in the summer of 1987 in Tacoma (south of Seattle); Breed (then titled Immodium) is saturated fury to express apathy: “I Don’t Mind, Mind, Don’t Have a Mind”.
Nirvana’s move to Espace Icare joined a list of legendary concerts in France – the Beatles at the Olympia, in 1964, Jimi Hendrix at the Novelty d’Evreux, in 1966, the Sex Pistols at the Chalet du lac du bois de Vincennes, in 1976, Joy Division at Bains-Douches, in 1979… – where the number of mythomaniacs claiming to have been there increases tenfold the size of the rooms.
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