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30 December 2020

Unseen Photos Of Nirvana’s Second UK Show Have Been Shared

Fabio Diena/Alamy Stock Photo
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A photographer has shared a selection of previously unseen photos of Nirvana performing in Manchester in 1989 for the first time.

Richard Davis, who attended the gig at Manchester’s Students Union on Tuesday 24th October 1989, had presumed the photo negatives had been lost or stolen.

The gig was Nirvana’s second ever performance in the UK, and was part of the Heavier Than Heaven tour the band did across Europe alongside the grunge band, Tad and ending at LameFest UK – a gig at London’s Astoria (now Rainbow Theatre) where they would perform alongside Mudhoney, to showcase their label, Sub Pop.

Nirvana had played Newcastle the night before, and in Manchester they would perform songs from their 1989 album, Bleach including Floyd The Barber, Scoff, Negative Creep and About A Girl. They would also perform their two Shocking Blue covers, Love Buzz, which featured on the album, and Big Cheese, which Nirvana released as their debut single and which appeared on later reissues of Bleach. Nirvana played with Chad Channing on drums, as Dave Grohl wouldn’t join the band until 1990.

Nirvana would return to play their second – and last – Manchester gig, performing songs from Nevermind in 1991.

Richard Davis reviewed the band for the Manchester Polytechnic photography magazine, Pulp but the photos he took were never published, and he only discovered them while searching through his old belongings during lockdown this year. Speaking to Manchester Evening News Davis said, “For years I was convinced that someone had nicked the negatives. But about two months ago I was going through my kids stuff and found it among the old primary school photos. I looked at it and though ‘Oh my God, I thought I’d lost them.'”

Speaking about the gig, Davis recalled, “The thing I remember most about the night was there was lots of stage diving. Punk had spitting, but Grunge’s big thing seemed to be stage diving.
Both bands were good, but the funny thing is I think if you’d have asked everyone who was there that night who was going to be the bigger band and go onto global stardom, I think most would have said Tad.”

The photos of Nirvana performing in 1989, which were shared by the Manchester Evening News, can also be seen below.

Taken from today’s Manchester Evening News, 4 of my Photos from Nirvana’s second ever gig in the UK which took place on 24th October 1989.

Posted by Richard Davis Photography on Tuesday, 29 December 2020

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