Elvana: Elvis fronted Nirvana + Skull @ O2 Academy2 Birmingham, 9th September 2017

Posted by Zyllah Moranne-Brown on Saturday Sep 9, 2017 Under 60s, 80s, Grunge, Tribute

Review by David Stone with photography by Jessica Stone.

“Sometimes I sound like Nic Cage. Sometimes it’s Matthew McConaughey. If you’re very f***in’ lucky, I might sound like Kurt Cobain. Mostly… I DO NOT sound like Elvis f***in’ Presley! But DO WE CARE!?” Not one bit. A packed house at the O2 Academy2 in Birmingham were firmly behind Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana as they brought their UK tour to the West Midlands on 9 September.

Elvana5

That message, delivered in the early stages of a one and a half hour set, sums up what you’re in for. Grabbing a ticket to Elvana doesn’t just gain you entry to a gig – it’s your pass to a Nirvana appreciation party & sing-along hosted by the incredibly entertaining drunken-uncle version of Kurt Cobain, who just happens to have turned up dressed as Elvis.

Opening the show were Leeds-based four-piece Skull, who brought stacks of bass-heavy, driving riffs to wake up the room. With a constant onslaught of rock-guitar rhythms giving a vibe akin to a less surreal 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, the band just ooze rock ‘n’ roll and put on a solid performance to kick things off.

Skulls

A short while later and the room is full, the barriers are loaded and it’s time for a raucous celebration of 90s grunge.

Accompanied by a trio of dapper blokes in suits, Cosplay Kurt arrives in full Elvis regalia – topped off with long hair and a beard in Cobain’s signature style, but jet black. He proceeds to dance, gyrate and thrust his way through Nirvana’s catalogue, starting with ‘Aneurysm’ and seamlessly flowing into and out of the band’s classics via segues into grunged-up versions of the King’s greatest hits.

Elvana4

Elvana3

Oh, what? You’ve never heard ‘Territorial Pissings’ drift into ‘Suspicious Minds’?  ‘Rape Me’ alongside ‘Love Me Tender’?  What about a few hundred people singing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ then ‘Heart Shaped Box’?

No? Funnily enough, neither had I – but it sure was fun, and that’s what the group from ‘Disgraceland’ are all about. After hopping the barrier and performing ‘Heart Shaped Box’ from the centre of the room, the King headed back on stage to wrap up their main set with ‘Come as You Are’.

Returning to the stage for the encore, Kurtis Presley took a few minutes to deviate from the theme and turn around any doubters by leading the entire room in a rendition of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’, which culminated in the previously dapper blokes returning to the stage in blonde wigs and dresses to a chorus of cheers & wolf whistles.

Elvana2
Elvana: Elvis fronted Narvana

Now backed by the Priscillas, the King took us through a few more tracks before reaching peak surrealism to close the night with ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, leaving us to ponder how the world would feel after seeing Kurt Cobain… dressed as Elvis… covering David Bowie.

Elvana6

If you were a fan of Nirvana and you don’t take your music too seriously, check this band out. They’re not just a really good Nirvana tribute band. They’re a really good Nirvana tribute band that knows how to put on an incredibly entertaining night out. Just be aware – if you were never that big on grunge and only really know ‘Teen Spirit’, it might be lost on you.


Setlist:
Aneurysm
Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
Breed / Viva Las Vegas
Drain You
School
Love Buzz
In Bloom
Sliver
Been A Son
Rape Me / Love Me Tender
Lithium
You Know You’re Right
Territorial Pissings / Suspicious Minds
Can’t Help Falling In Love / Heart Shaped Box
Come As You Are

Encore:
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling
Tourette’s
On A Plain
All Apologies
The Man Who Sold The World

Leave a Reply