This Dec. 13, 1993 file photo shows Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana performing in Seattle. (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, File)

This Dec. 13, 1993 file photo shows Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana performing in Seattle. (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, File)

Remembering Nirvana in Victoria on Cobain’s 52 birthday

Nirvana played one show in Victoria on March 8, 1991 at the Forge

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain would have turned 52 years old today, and while the band split up after Cobain’s death, their memory is still alive worldwide.

Before the band hit the big time, pre-Nevermind, they played a show right here in Victoria at what was once the Forge, now called Distrikt. Andrew Murray, an assistant teaching professor for the department of English at the University of Victroia, was at the show on March 8, 1991 and recalls it well.

“I remember they played quite a lot of songs off their first album Bleach. I remember they played a Velvet Underground cover called Here She Comes Now, which I had never heard them play before,” said Murray.

RELATED: Soulful Songstress Morgan James returning to Victoria

Murray had already seen the band play once before in Vancouver, but says the low ceilings and grunge feel to the Forge made it a pretty unforgettable show. Murray was born the same year as Cobain and said he felt a special connection to the lead singer.

“In a weird way I felt not like a peer of his, but at least a contemporary for sure.”

He recalls how Kirst Novoselic, who played bass in the band, almost couldn’t stand up straight because of the Forge’s “basement-like” interior.

“He couldn’t really bounce like he wanted to because he would hit his head on the ceiling if he did, whereas Kurt Cobain was a very small man so he was quite comfortable,” said Murray.

According to Murray, the band played for about an hour, calling it a “proper show” even if it was just before the band’s big break that would come later with the release of their second studio album, Nevermind.

“It was a really really good show … but you could tell they had the power and the charisma of a great rock and roll band,” said Murray.

Murray still has his ticket stub from the concert in Victoria, although he describes it as a simple 50/50 raffle ticket with no band names on it.

RELATED: Young B.C. musician sings with the Foo Fighters

“They were a ferocious band, they really were,” said Murray. “What was different was at the later venues the mosh pit and dancing was bigger, but the band always played with real energy.”

With the release of Nevermind in September 1991, the band’s fan base grew exponentially almost overnight, but according to Murray they always played a good show — having seen them play a total of four times in his life.

“Victoria was the smallest one so it was cool to be a part of that and feel like you were on the ground floor of something — but it wasn’t like they were so small that nobody had heard of them. You went to the show knowing their songs … we loved it.” he said.

Murray still holds on to a lot of the memorabilia that he got during the climax of Nirvana’s fame.

“It wasn’t a time when you took photos or recorded parts of the show, you were just there and lived it and then it was over,” said Murray. “It was ferocious and energetic — a young band really hitting their stride. You could see Kurt Cobain had a charisma, that he was a rock star that hadn’t become a rock star yet.”

In celebration of Cobain’s 52 birthday, Lucky Bar will be holding a special event featuring Nirvana’s music and other ‘90s inspired grunge music along with a video tribute that will take place from 11:30 p.m. to midnight.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read