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Nirvana – 'Live At The Paramount' Album Review


1. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam

2. Aneurysm

3. Drain You

4. School

5. Floyd The Barber

6. Smells Like Teen Spirit

7. About A Girl

8. Polly

9. Breed

10. Sliver

11. Love Buzz

12. Lithium

13. Been A Son

14. Negative Creep

15. On A Plain

16. Blew

17. Rape Me

18. Territorial Pissings

19. Endless, Nameless

Live albums are a funny beast. Sometimes they can be absolutely brilliant examples of a band at their live best, often working as a much better greatest hits collection than a typical “Best Of” album would be. But on the other hand, live albums can sometimes be a random collection of poor watered down versions of songs that are much better on the studio album they come from.

And, if I’m honest – the live Nirvana albums I had previously listened to ('From The Muddy Banks Of the Wishkah' and 'Live At Reading'), never really gave me reason to listen to them. I personally don’t think that either of them gives you a great set of recordings, and you’d be much better off listening to Nirvana’s two amazing studio albums and their other two not so amazing but still pretty good studio albums.

Also, I haven’t mentioned 'Unplugged In New York' here, as it’s acoustic versions of the songs, and as such has a completely different vibe altogether. I am quite fussy about live albums (as you can probably tell), so I went into this one with a small worry – would it be any good?

Well I am pleased to be able to tell you that 'Live At The Paramount' is certainly the Nirvana live album that I have been waiting for, and it may well be the one that you have all been waiting for as well. Recorded just a few weeks after 'Nevermind’s' release, before the band had experienced the worldwide rocket to fame that they would experience not long afterwards, 'Live At The Paramount' captures one of the most influential bands of all time in all their rough and ready brilliance.

For me, one of the most brilliant aspects of this album is the tracklisting. Personally, I forget how many amazing songs Nirvana have, as although they were a large part of my teenage musical passions, I haven’t listened to them much in a good few years. And then, when reviewing this album, I was struck by the run of absolutely brilliant songs that occurs in the middle of it. Starting from Track 6, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (a massively overplayed song that is nonetheless amazing) right through until track 12, 'Lithium', Nirvana showcase a run of brilliance that is rarely matched by any band from any time. These seven songs for me are seven of the best songs Nirvana ever recorded, and to be able to listen to them live and full of energy is superb.

The other aspect of a live album is the mix. There are some that are superb and some that are terrible. 'Live At The Paramount' is firmly in the former category. This has been mixed brilliantly, with each instrument being distinct and easily identifiable, forming a perfect whole and perfectly capturing the feel of a live gig.

This album is my favourite live album I have listened to this year so far. I’m not sure what else I can say to underline the brilliance of it. If you are a Nirvana fan, whether a casual one or a die-hard one, this album is definitely worth your time.

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Review - Michael Braunton

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