I’ve already written about my love for grunge. I told you about Nirvana, my favorite band, about the events I witnessed during some of the grunge concerts I’ve been to, and about the outfits, I was wearing at the time. However, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the actual grunge clubs and concerts I frequented during the 90s. You know, Nirvana had a song called “Smells like teen spirit”, but have you heard of the phrase “smells like the 90s”? Well, let me tell you what that meant for the grunge clubs.
Grunge clubs were dark, not sanitized, and salacious. If you measure them by today’s standards, they were not very technically equipped and they were very, and I mean VERY smoky and dim. Everybody was smoking in clubs back then. When you’d enter the club, you’d had to maneuver through a heavy white curtain of cigarette smoke before you could find somebody you know. A cigarette for most people was a part of their outfit and style. Standing or sitting in the corner and enjoying the music with a fresh cigarette in the mouth was part of our allure. The smoke was so heavy that the clothes we were wearing stank of cigarettes mixed with spilled alcoholic beverages. You had to wash the clothes immediately cause the stink was unbearable. But this is something that we rarely did back then.
On the stage, you could see a band, mainly guys, playing guitars and drums. The guys had long hair, they usually wore button-up shirts, baggy jeans, boots, or old sneakers. The shirts were in a different color, but the most dominant colors were different nuances of green, black, and red. And yes, we all had incidental (or not) cigarette burns on our clothes. The girls were in the front, dancing with their long hair and watching the band do their thing while waiting for a hookup. Everybody was in their own fantasy land, but we all tried to emulate Nirvana. That’s why the death of our idol was such a heavy hit.
Quite opposite from now, isn’t it? Now we have well-rounded clubs, equipped with the newest sound systems. Cigarettes are not allowed, or if they are, the room is equipped with air purifier devices for cigarette smoke. Now we have our indie bands who sing about romantic failures. The clubs smell like synthetic perfumes with notes of strawberries, vanilla, and coffee. Everybody wears branded clothing. Everybody is nice and dandy. Everybody is well behaved. There is no smell of cigarettes and cheap alcohol. And it definitely doesn’t smell like the 90s. It’s the 2020s.