The atmosphere at Post Malone’s Nirvana tribute livestream is a far cry from that of his mammoth stadium shows; it’s more like sitting around in a garage with your mates’ band rehearsing. The YouTube gig isn’t polished, but that’s the point: it’s intimate, loud and a fuckload of fun.
It helps that Post has assembled a pretty decent band for himself. He’s joined by “Sir Travis Barker on the tubs and skins”, guitarist Nick Mack and bassist Brian Lee. The latter earns high praise from Nirvana’s Krist Novoselić, who tweets early in the set: “Oh yes!!! “Lounge Act” — hats off to bassist.”
Part of the fun of all recent livestreamed shows has lain in getting a look inside the stars’ homes, and here we peek through the keyhole of Post’s mansion, which sits outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Last year it was reported that he was adding a massive underground bunker to the property so that he’d be able to ride out the apocalypse in style. Prescient guy.
For this performance he comes dressed in a spiked choker and a dress, apparently a sartorial nod to Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana frontman also appears in the form of a portrait propped behind Barker’s drumkit, and Post pays tribute to him right at the top of the show, giving thanks to the “gentleman who wrote these beautiful songs.”
He and his band are at their best as they tear through the heavier end of Nirvana’s canon, particularly on the likes of opener ‘Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle’, an explosive ‘Breed’ and the aforementioned barnstorming version of ‘Lounge Act’. They only really slow down for ‘Something In The Way’, with Lee on violin – or as Post referrs to it, “fiddle”. They don’t play ‘All Apologies’, which Post has covered in the past.
It’s clear that Post is a huge and genuine Nirvana nut – just look at the ‘Stay Away’ tattoo on his face. His devotion shines through both in the passion of his performance and in his song choices. There’s no crowd-pleasing ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, no matter how many people request it in the comments.
After ‘About A Girl’ he shouts out NME Icon Award recipient Courtney Love, who had earlier given her blessing to the show by posting an Instagram message that paid tribute to her late husband: “thank you mighty kc for writing these songs with your elegant and monkeyed hands that the kids still want to sing and play and hear and use to fight and hunt and cure and heal and eradicate this fucking covid19 virus. I approve the usage . Good luck mr malone.”
Of course, this is all for a good cause. The livestream features a prominent call to donate to The United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for The World Health Organization (WHO), so all the money raised is going to support COVID-19 relief efforts. At the time of writing this gig has earned $2.7m – and counting – for the charity.
Post’s regular calls to donate so that we can “kick this shit in the fucking ass” come across as a heartfelt plea to his audience, which starts with around 136,764 people tuned in and peaks somewhere close to 200,000. The YouTube views currently sit around 2.3 million. Not bad for what Post says was probably “my first performance without auto-tune… Everyone knows I can’t sing for shit, but I’m trying to sing my heart out for ya’ll tonight.”
Some of those watching will have been new fans, or half-interested listeners now seeing Post Malone in a new, grungier light. He promises that he’s been spending his lockdown “working on this new album we’ve got coming for you all.” Let’s hope it sounds as wild and heavy as this did.
Post Malone played:
‘Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle’
‘Come As You Are’
‘Heart Shaped Box’
‘Something In The Way’
‘About A Girl’
‘On A Plain’