The Olympia Film Collective will host a five-band tribute showcase Friday night to commemorate one of the city’s most enigmatic figures: Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. The show — part of Arts Walk — will be filmed as part of the OFC’s in-the-works music documentary, “20 A.C.”
“I’ve always wanted to find out what the Olympia music scene was like and what made it such a creative area,” director Josh Lalley said. “You just can’t not look at Nirvana and Kurt when dealing with Olympia’s music history.”
April has been quite the month for Nirvana fans. Already this month, the music world re-eulogized Cobain on the 20th anniversary of his death. Then sadness gave way to celebration a few days later when Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now, Olympia, the place where Cobain created some of his greatest music, will have its chance to do the same.
Cobain moved from his hometown of Aberdeen to Olympia, to a house on Pear Street off Fourth Avenue, during the late 1980s. It was in that house that he would write and demo material for his band’s first album, “Bleach,” and much of their breakthrough follow-up, “Nevermind.” He called Olympia home until 1992, when he moved to Seattle.
Lalley and producer Russell Brooks made it their mission to delve into the city’s past and see what sort of lasting impact Cobain and Nirvana have left on the city and how the scene has changed since Cobain lived here.
The search proved more fruitful than either of them expected.
“I found a number of people still connected, that either knew Nirvana, played with Kurt, went to their shows,” Lalley said. “We interviewed the guitarist in Mosquito Hawk, Sean McCoy, and he had like a full museum in his garage of older materials.”
As part of their goal to merge Olympia’s musical past with its present and to honor Cobain in the process, the duo, with the backing of the Olympia Film Collective, reached out to a number of local rock groups — including Mosquito Hawk, The Hard Way, Under Sin, Full Moon Radio and Gebular — to have a show.
Each of the bands was chosen in part for the connection they had to Nirvana. “Jerry Ziegler (drummer in Mosquito Hawk) was asked by Kurt at one time to be a drummer, but he was already obligated to another band,” Brooks said. “Scott Taylor of The Hard Way resides at Kurt’s old residence and was heavily influenced by Nirvana.”
“Nirvana and Kurt’s influence is still a living, breathing thing, even though he’s been gone for 20 years,” Brooks said. “There’s been a lot of things that have opened up to us through this filming process that made us realize that that impact still exists.”
Remembering Kurt & Nirvana
What: Five local bands — Mosquito Hawk, The Hard Way, Under Sin, Full Moon Radio and Gebular — unite to remember Kurt Cobain, who died 20 years ago. They will cover Nirvana’s hits and play original tunes.
When: Doors open at 9 p.m. Friday, show starts at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
Admission: $5 at the door night of the show