ROP’s Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain Event Recap!

On Friday night, Rock On Philly and friends honored the late and great Kurt Cobain on what would have been his 48th birthday with a special edition Songwriters in the Round event at Tin Angel. With candles lit, instruments sound-checked and drinks poured, the featured singer-songwriters Nik Greeley, Hayley Jane (a.k.a. Kate Nyx), John Gilbride, and Rock On Philly’s own Jennifer Logue and Devon O’Connor readied themselves for an extraordinarily fun yet intimate evening.  As the crowd filed in, filling the tiny space to the brim, reverent excitement filled the air as the magic of Cobain’s legacy would soon take over.


Hayley Jane (a.k.a. Kate Nyx) opened the show with a bright and refreshing self-effacing personality almost as big as her beautiful voice.  Her no-holds-barred openness about herself and her journey to music took the audience by both surprise and by the hand to her music, which is a bluesy mix of snark and the burn of a good whiskey.  Covering Nirvana’s “All Apologies” fit her raw, folk aesthetic quite nicely, almost as if Cobain had written it just for her.


Devon O’Connor was up next and put on a fun and swinging set, complete with an acoustic guitar shred on the floor of the stage.  Her rendition of “Polly” suit her Sara-Bareilles-meets-Alanis-Morissette sound in a way that any other Nirvana track could not.


If you needed anyone to connect to Cobain’s inner turmoil, Nik Greeley is your guy.  His set included a soulful mix of songs about pain and love to which the audience really responded.  Covering “Dumb,” Greeley set aside Cobain’s apathetic sound to a more vulnerable rendition that connected to Greeley’s own experiences.


Jennifer Logue, our hostess with the mostest, was up next, accompanied by Demetrius Millner andWill Winborne Jr. While sweet and bubbly, her delicate voice and stage presence nonetheless commanded an aura of power, connecting to that unimposing importance Cobain himself had on stage. Logue showed an unguarded side of herself by telling the audience her friend’s tragic story as way to honor her as well as Cobain.  Keeping both Cobain’s and her friend’s memory alive, she covered one of Nirvana’s biggest hits “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with a sweet yet commanding confidence, displaying her inner strength.


John Gilbride closed the music-centered portion of the show with a strong performance that made me want lemonade to go with his twangy yet booming voice.  His rendition of “Heart-Shaped Box” was refreshingly original, connecting to Cobain’s blues influences instead of a literal interpretation of the moody track.


Aside from these amazing performances, the other stars of this event were the Nirvana song-title cupcakes provided by Sweet Ruminations as well as the highly-coveted headphones by Velodyne. Following our highly-competitive raffle for the headphones, one lucky audience member won!


What was truly fascinating about this event was that each singer/songwriter was able to truly capture the essence that is Kurt Cobain’s legacy.  Whether it was the pain, the fun, the snark, the power, or a combination of these, each performer embodied each facet of the legacy in their own individual way and, simultaneously, surpassed it making each performance as memorable as the last. What a night!

All photos by Amanda Silberling and Samantha Sweeney

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