Nirvana night reinvigorates the Royal’s tribute series

Kurt Cobain might have hated the idea of a Nirvana tribute night, but it sounded so good.
Photo: Sam Morris
Leslie Ventura

Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen Las Vegas’ local music scene pay tribute to all sorts of iconic acts: The Smiths, Neil Young, the Pixies and now, Nirvana. And just when you thought we’d had our fill of covers, Saturday night’s Royal House revue rekindled the flame.

Dusty Sunshine’s Heidi Guinn and Summer Soll, teamed with Niko Saipale, helped wake up the crowd with an acoustic version of “Polly,” then were joined by Chani Riiell Leavitt and Megan Marie Wingerter for “Something in the Way.” Members of ’90s cover outfit Empire Records (called Just Us for the night) picked the lesser-known “Hairspray Queen” off Incesticide. “How many of you actually knew that one?” singer Jessenia Paz asked, after singing the number atop a chair.

Robot Nixon (an Asterionella side project) followed with a solid performance of “Come as You Are,” before the crowd of 60 or so moshed to Deadhand’s renditions of “Sliver” and “Breed”—easily two of the night’s best. Other notable sets: late performances by Same Sex Mary, full of teen spirit, and Black Beans and Hippie Liver, with vocals eerily close to Cobain’s own.

Kurt surely would hate the whole idea. But 18 years after his death, it’s about as close as we’ll ever get to the real thing


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