This Saturday, at midnight, it will have been 21 years since Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home in Seattle, Washington. But if it still smells like teen spirit up in Palm Beach County, there's a reason. West Palm Beach's very own Smells Like Grunge, a Nirvana tribute band featuring drummer Jay Scott, bass player Hector Diaz, and lead singer Justin Hucker, are gearing up for a special performance at Respectable Street this weekend to honor Kurt Cobain.
On April 4, Smells Like Grunge will be hosting Legacy: A Kurt Cobain Tribute Concert. It will be the group's first hometown performance on the anniversary of Cobain's death since they formed in 2012. But the show is less a reminder of Cobain's death and more a celebration of the Nirvana singer's life. The trio will be performing songs from all four of Nirvana's studio albums, as well as some unplugged songs.
Just remember, don't call them a cover band. Smells Like Grunge is a tribute band — and there's a difference, says Scott.
"We all love Nirvana, and we wanted to be more than just a cover band," said Scott. "We wanted to bring them back, to recreate Nirvana and everything they used to do. Today, we promote it as a full show, not just the music."
In the past three years, Smells Like Grunge has toured up and down the East Coast, from New York City to Miami, lighting the stage with their very own brand of Nirvana nostalgia.
But the whole Nirvana tribute band thing was actually an accident.
Originally known as the Walk of Shame, the West Palm Beach-based trio had been playing the local bar scene as a '90's cover band for close to two years. Inspiration hit one night while doing a gig at Swamp Grass Willy's in Palm Beach Gardens. The act set to go before Walk of Shame bailed last minute, so they were asked to take the stage early. They decided to play Nirvana.
"It was such a success, we decided to keep doing it," says Scott. "It's been quite a ride. To date, we've played about 80 shows over the past year, everywhere from New York and South Carolina, to Georgia and Baltimore."
Today, Smells Like Grunge goes the extra mile to ensure its shows pay tribute to Nirvana with more than just music. For their Saturday show, the trio will dress in Nirvana-inspired costumes while they jam out to Nirvana's best-known hits. Hucker will even wear a blonde wig.
This weekend, expect the tribute concert to be one of the band's biggest, boldest shows yet, says Scott. The evening will have a Smells Like Teen Spirit-theme, complete with a bevy of beautiful girls dressed as the anarchy cheerleaders from the famous Smells Like Teen Spirit music video. The band will also be recreating some of Cobain's most memorable moments on stage, while live-streaming videos throughout the night.
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"We're excited to be playing this tribute show locally this year, so we want it to be something special," said Scott. "We'll be taking it a little further than our typical show, and we are definitely planning some big surprises."
Legacy: A Kurt Cobain Tribute Concert, April 4, at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5, and can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com.
Nicole Danna is a food and music writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. Follow her @SoFloNicole.