“Where Were You?” The Three Johns, at The I-Beam, San Francisco [May 5, 1986]

This would be the other half of a double-bill, with The Flaming Lips sharing the stage on this evening.  Those photos appear earlier on my blog https://michaelconen.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/96/

This was just one of the many side-projects that Jon Langford, of The Mekons, would involve himself in over the years.  Photos of him with The Mekons appear as my first post on this blog https://michaelconen.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/hello-world/.

What would turn out to be their only major U.S. tour, featured three guys, all of whom would share vocal duties; a bass player; a lead vocalist; and a guitarist.  The percussion duties would fall on a drum machine: and I’ve since, never witnessed a better use of the programmed beat working so well with a live band playing along.  The songs would stop on-a-dime, and to this day, I’m still wondering who was triggering the stops and starts of the programming???  It wasn’t clear that the ever-busy Mr. Langford was in control of this, or if it was their sound man……either way, it worked like a charm.
Loud, driving songs they were, which contrasted sharply with the Lips’ performance, but I would say that enjoyed them equally, on this evening.  I was already familiar with some of their ep’s and really liked a few of the songs a great deal – they might have been a bit too political for some, but I’ve always thought they were a unique band, that deserved much more acclaim.  Oh well, that could be said about many groups and performers that I’ve followed over the years, who’ve toiled away in semi-, or complete, obscurity….

House lights were practically on full for most of the performance, and I was none the happier for it: I would not have to use the flash rig once!

An attempt to get all three members into the frame

Phillip “John” Brennan on bass guitar

Jon Langford on guitar and vocal duties

John Hyatt on lead vocals, with Phillip “John” Brennan assisting and on bass

John Hyatt putting his all into it

Phillip Brennan closeup

Jon Langford

The spotlight on Jon Langford is almost too much

Mr. Brennan enjoying himself and the crowd

I think the sense of humor the band has, is often lost when one just listens to the records, but I think their playfulness was on full display here

“John” Brennan all smiles again

John Hyatt sporting a popular shirt, from back in the day….wonder what he was “really” saying?

Jon Langford, once again in those bright lights, which created a nice glow in this image

The band was quite active, and without a drum set in their way, they were free to ramble – and did so

Another “angle” shot from the left side of the stage

One more attempt at getting all three in one frame

A favorite image of Mr. Langford, sporting a Frightwig t-shirt, for this performance

Just missed getting the headstock of the bass into the frame, on this otherwise nice image of Mr. Brennan

John Hyatt and “John” Brennan on vocals

John Hyatt, who often had eyes closed while he sang

One favorite image of mine from this performance, for the motion, lines and lighting

Look for more information and links to the Three Johns, Jon Langford projects, and The Mekons, here:

http://www.mekons.de/mekonhom.htm

NOTE:  A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WATERMARKS ON MY WORK

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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