Nirvana - With The Lights Out
Reviewed by Ben on 30th March 2005
Yes, it is true. After years of legal wrangling, constant rumours and the somewhat cheeky release of You Know You're Right (previously unreleased, studio quality wise) on the greatest hits album, this is the release that fans finally have waited for.
Keen not to disappoint, the boxed set contains three CD's ranging from early Nirvana (Bleach era), through the whole grunge explosion right up to his death. The songs do sound polished for commercial release and they are indeed enjoyable to listen to (early versions of Aneurysm, Verse Chorus Verse and Sappy all stood out for me), but the sad truth is that there are a large amount of track you can pick up on bootleg Nirvana albums found in dark alley record shops. Sure the quality is better on With The Lights Out, but for the price of the box set, which is not cheap, you could pick up copies of the Outcesticide series which is already a hit with collectors of rare Nirvana material.
However, the DVD with the box set does somewhat justify it's price. It chronicles the rise of the band from their early gig at a house party with Chad Channing behind the drum kit up to their "Rio Sessions" recordings. It is a fantastic insight to the band showing the transition from Sub Pop favourites to global superstars and recounts the day Dave Grohl arrived in the band. It's truly sad to see Kurt Cobain's decline as well, eager to begin with slowly and slowly being ground down; it's captured on the DVD.
With a booklet also detailing gigs Nirvana played and also some writing from Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, to the casual Nirvana fan this is a must - this indeed is what a lot of you have been waiting for and no doubt have read on the Internet about various demo's floating around. If you, like myself, are already a big Nirvana fan with a back catalogue of their unreleased work, it is still a good buy just to hear some tracks polished.
But be weary of its price; some places charge up to £50 for this and indeed it isn't quite worth that for songs you've already got.
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