Florida goes grunge: Experience Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Meat Puppets this week in Tampa, Orlando
2011: The year that grunge broke.
Okay, fine, maybe we're 20 years behind the curve on that trend. But this is a great week to break out your old flannel and Doc Martens, because grunge tributes, films and bands are popping up everywhere you look in Tampa Bay.
One of the big reasons for this: Nirvana's landmark album Nevermind is turning 20 this month, and several special deluxe remastered versions of the album are coming out Sept. 27. Click here for all the details.
We can't help but reflect on the one time Nirvana performed in Tampa, on May 5, 1990. Kurt Cobain and company hit the old Masquerade on Seventh Avenue (currently the site of Empire) for a sparsely attended 13-song set. Highlights included About A Girl and Nevermind's Breed. (Click here for our recap of the show from 2006.) After that, the closest they came to Tampa was a 1993 gig in Lakeland.
If you feel like driving to Orlando, you can catch a special Nirvana tribute show on Monday (9/20) at Will's Pub, 102 N Mills Ave., Orlando. The Pauses, the Great Decievers and Fever are among the Central Florida bands covering songs from Nirvana's entire catalog. Tickets are just $5. Click here for details.
But perhaps Nirvana wasn't your band. Perhaps you were more into Pearl Jam. Perhaps you attended their legendary 1992 show at Jannus Landing, when Eddie Vedder swung from the pole in the center of the stage out into the crowd.
In that case, we have good news. Cameron Crowe's acclaimed new documentary about the band, Pearl Jam Twenty, is coming to the Tampa Theatre for one night only on Tuesday (9/20). Tickets are $10.50, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Click here for details.
We would be remiss if we didn't also mention the Meat Puppets, who have reformed and are performing Friday at Crowbar in Ybor City. Nirvana covered three Meat Puppets songs -- Plateau, Oh Me and Lake of Fire -- during their legendary MTV Unplugged performance and album. If the Puppets perform even one of those songs Friday, we'll consider it a victory for grunge. Click here for tickets and details.
Finally, don't forget that grunge music is actually doing fairly well these days. Need proof? Check out Surfer Blood on Wednesday (9/21) at Crowbar or the Joy Formidable on Sept. 25 at the Orpheum. Grunge may no longer be music's next big thing, but those two bands are definitely capable of making you feel like it's 1990 in Seattle.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*