“Where Were You?” Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, at The I Beam, San Francisco [October 28, 1986]

Back to the small club shows, on the West Coast, where I was able to get closer to the stage and capture better images.

Nick Cave & Bad Seeds flyer - I Beam copy

Poster/flyer, courtesy of Cary [December 2017]

I have to admit that I was never a fan of The Birthday Party, but upon hearing the 12″ single of “Tupelo”, I finally opened my ears a bit more to Mr. Cave, and his new outfit with Mick Harvey, The Bad Seeds.

For much of the show, Nick Cave would not be too energetic, for during this period of his career, it is well-documented already that he was battling with some addictive dalliances….he would even sing one or two songs whilst sitting on top of the kick drum, before he could get back to prowling the stage a bit.  This “condition” made it fairly easy to take photos at the center of the stage, but because I always preferred to avoid using a flash, and as much of the band would be off in the shadowy corners of the stage, it would be harder to capture the others. I never managed a single photograph of the drummer, for example, and only one of the keyboard player and Kid Congo Powers, that were decent.  This was partly due to the lighting; and partly to the arrangement of equipment on the narrow stage of the I Beam.

Many images ended up with very little detail in the faces, because the spotlights were so bright, and I was already “pushing” the film to 800ASA. But, I am quite happy to have come away with a handful of striking images from this one.

Again, I refer to these as “proofs” of the negatives, which have had a bit of cleaning up and the sepia tone added [because I feel it replicates the “atmosphere” nicely], but they are by no means “finished”.

Early on during the set, and cigarette has just been started

Although the spotlight is very bright, this image came out alright

Blixa Bargeld is in the background in this one, and the lighting is quite uneven

From the same sequence, with the cigarette smoke and Blixa Bargeld barely visible in the background

Blixa has moved toward the amps, while the cigarette still burns

The spotlight is a bit too bright here, but it brings out the cigarette smoke as it swirls

Nick Cave is putting a bit into the vocal – or it could be a mouth harp – while Blixa is again in the background singing a bit

My favorite image from this ‘cigarette’ series

Mick Harvey plays and sings while Nick Cave’s face is obscured by his hand on the mic

The only decent photograph I managed to capture of Kid Congo Powers

Yes, that *is* Nick Cave, although it could almost look like a couple of other performers I can think of…

Another favorite of mine, in which my timing worked to capture the moment just as his eyes widened, and revealed a bit

The lights were low, and Mr. Cave had also gotten lower to the stage at this point

I am not absolutely sure that this is Roland Wolf, as the few images I had to compare with, show a bit heavier face than this one. Any help on clarification would be appreciated. mc

Another fave image, with Nick Cave in motion while Blixa Bargeld riffs. The only shot I could manage with Blixa not completely obscured

Mick Harvey is rock solid in the spotlight for this one

During that portion of the show where Nick Cave would get his stage legs back, by resting on the kick drum for a bit while performing

A bit of mouth harp playing, from atop the kick drum

Lastly, perhaps my favorite from the entire show, simply because of the numerous details that show during a lull in the action, and the framing, of course

More info on Nick Cave and his more recent works can be found here:


You can also catch up on Mick Harvey’s work, here:



While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.


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