Daniel Johns of Silverchair Turns ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Into Gorgeous Piano Ballad

Daniel Johns delivered a piano-led cover of Nirvana’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' at triple j‘s Beat The Drum birthday concert in Sydney.

Tom Williamsby Tom Williams

Triple J’s Beat The Drum concert in Sydney celebrated the national broadcast giant’s 40th birthday, and saw some sterling performances from a number of Australia’s most beloved musicians.

Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns had the honour of covering Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a ubiquitously recognized song which served as a pivot point of music in the 1990s, and which topped triple j’s Hottest 100 Of All Time list. Watched by 25,000 music lovers in attendance, and heard by many more listening to the simulcast, Johns turned the Nirvana classic into a slow piano ballad, backed by a harpist.

Music Feeds reviewer Sarah White called Johns’ performance “a slow, heartfelt version of a song that defined a generation, covered by a singer whose diversity and creativity epitomises Australian music”. Official footage of Johns’ performance is now available to view in full, below.

Just hours before his performance, Johns took to his social media accounts to tease the arrival of new solo material. Johns — or at least his team — posted the January 29th premiere date of new track “Aerial Love”, alongside an image of what appears to be its artwork. A solo Daniel Johns album has reportedly been in the works for more than three years.

Two highlights sets recorded at Beat The Drum will be broadcast as part of triple j’s Live At The Wireless program at 8pm on Monday, 19th January, and again at 5pm on Sunday, 25th January.

Other acts who performed at the concert include Hilltop Hoods, who performed their hit “Cosby Sweater” with Illy, Drapht, Seth Sentry, Thundamentals, Tkay Maidza and Horrorshow, plus, The Presets, Megan Washington, Hermitude and The Cat Empire.

Read up on what went down over at Music Feeds’ full review of Beat The Drum, and check out some stunning pics in the gallery here.