Music memorabilia auction spotlights Nirvana in Newcastle

CREDIT: Tony Henderson, Cultured North East.
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On a cold night on Tyneside in October 34 years ago, a band performed their first gig outside their American homeland.

The date at the celebrated Riverside alternative live music venue in Melbourne Street in Newcastle was the first performance of Nirvana’s UK tour.

The relatively unknown band shared the bill with fellow Seattle rockers Tad on October 23 in 1989.

Two years later Nirvana’s album Nevermind was released and sold more than 30 million copies.

The 150 or so Riverside goers who turned up for that night would have been unaware that they were in on the start of music history, and now a poster which advertises the gig is to be sold in Newcastle later this month.

Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic was quoted as saying : “I’d never been to Great Britain. We got off the plane and we were in this different world.”

That was certainly the case in Newcastle that night.

The poster, rated at £100-£200, lists acts for every night in that October at the Riverside and is part of a local fan’s collection of Newcastle music memories which features in the Anderson and Garland sale on June 28.

The Riverside member who is the seller of the poster said: “The show has attained legendary status as the first gig Nirvana did outside of North America.”

Acts at the Riverside in that month included Gaye Bikers on Acid, Disneytand After Dark and Del Amitri.

It was a different story when Nirvana returned to Newcastle in December 1991 to play the Mayfair venue.

Riverside operated from 1985 to 1999.and is the subject of a book, Riverside: Newcastle’s Legendary Alternative Music Venue, by Hazel Plater and Carl Taylor, published by Tonto Books in 2011.

Artists who played the Melbourne Street Riverside included Julian Cope, The Waterboys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, The Go-Betweens, The Primitives, Michelle Shocked,, Pop Will Eat Itself, Doctor and the Medics, The Smiths, The Fall, Bad Religion, Belly, The Cranberries, James, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays The Charlatans, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Oasis, Super Furry Animals, Catatonia, Faithless and David Bowie at what was the smallest venue on his 1997 tour.


The seller is also putting up for auction another 30 posters from the Riverside spanning 1989-91 advertising acts including: Sonic Youth; Throwing Muses; The Mighty Sparrow; Snuff; Cutting Crew; Last of Teenage Idols; Lenny Kravitz (first UK tour); Fuzztones; Gil Scott Heron; The Charlatans; Blur (first UK tour); Katydids; Pat Traveres; Crazyhead; Harley Dread; Fugazi; and Dr. Feelgood. Estimate £50-£100.

Also on offer is a collection of vintage music ticket stubs from Newcastle City Hall, from 1964 to 1989.

They reveal it cost 15 shillings to see The Rolling Stones, £1.50 for 10cc, 10 shillings ad and six pence for a 1964 show comprising The Searchers and Dionne Warwick, £1.50 for The Beach Boys, seven shillings and six pence for Gerry and the Pacemakers, 15 shillings for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1965 , 12 shillings and sixpence for the 1965 Tamla Motown Show and the same price for Chuck Berry in 1964.

Other ticket are for Eric Clapton, who cost £13.50 in 1989, Steeleye Span, Dire Stairs £5 in 1985, BB King, Elton John, Clanned, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck Quartet and Ry Cooder. Estimate £40-£60.

The same collector is also offering 17 lots of mainly seven inch and EP blues records.
Separately, the sale also features the punk band The Saints from Brisbane in Australia, who built up an international following.

A 1977 Fender Precision bass guitar which belonged to band member Kym Bradshaw is rated at £3,500-£4,500.

The band had a major hit with their debut single I’m Stranded, which was released in September 1976, leading to a three album contract. They toured in the UK with The Sex Pistols in the 1970s.



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