This time around, will feature another set of images, from separate performances by Mark E. Smith and The Fall, both occurring in San Francisco, during the very busy year [of me enjoying shows and taking photos] in 1986.

The previous year’s release, “This Nation’s Saving Grace”, became a huge favorite of mine, after my colleagues [John & Lexy] at the record store we worked at, bent my ear and I gave it a listen, and then another, and another. That led to purchasing quite a few recent ep’s, and while not every earlier lp connected with me, there were always tracks on every release, that did. The most immediate element that attracted me to the band, aside from Mark E. Smith’s unique vocals and lyrics, was the riveting bass playing of Steve Hanley – no matter what track he appears on, he is the glue that holds it together, or drives the tune from start-to-finish.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley, Mark E. Smith & Brix E. Sm
Mark E. Smith, early on, with Steve Hanley and Brix E. Smith in the background, from The Stone appearance, in March
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley vertical flash no 2 [the Fa
Steve Hanley, on bass, from The Stone show
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Simon Rogers LG [the Fall - The Stone, S
Simon Rogers, on keys, also from The Stone performance, in March, 1986

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Simon Wolstencroft LG [The Fall - The St
As always, it is/was difficult to capture the drummer in an unobstructed manner, but most of Karl Burns is visible, from The Stone show
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Brix E. Smith well lit vertical LG [the
Brix E. Smith from the performance at The Stone, in ’86
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon under spotlight horizontal
Another long-time member of the band, Craig Scanlon, from The Stone gig
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith vertical contrasts LG [The
Mark E. Smith, with a segment of the backdrop they used for this gig

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley & Brix E. Smith flash horiz
Steve Hanley and Brix E. Smith during an instrumental bit at The Stone
This tour coincided with the release of the lp, “Bend Sinister”, which also featured some great tracks, so I was quite excited to see the band perform for the first time. As fortune would have it, they would pass through town twice that year, and with slightly different lineups.

At the Stone appearance, in March, the guitarist/keyboardist Simon Rogers would be in the group, and having never taken pictures at this particular venue before, I lucked into a good position, to capture most of the band from a good angle – my preferred side of the stage – stage left.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon & Simon Rogers horizontal
Craig Scanlon and Simon Rogers, both on guitar for this number, at The Stone
The performance, itself, was very satisfying, and when the opportunity came up to see them again, just about 6 months later, there was no hesitation to make the arrangements for a second time, and try for another round of images.  I was not in place early enough for the I-Beam show, and had to shoot from the other side of the stage, so the results were quite a bit different.  In addition, there had been a line-up change, with Simon Rogers leaving the band, and Marcia Schofield replacing him, on keyboards.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith jacket with Craig Scanlon
Mark E. Smith, at the beginning of the I-Beam set, with Craig Scanlon barely visible behind, and Marcia Schofield on keyboards, just to the right

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon, Mark E. Smith & Marcia Sc
Craig Scanlon & Marcia Schofield in the background, while Mark E. Smith snarls and sports some Cuban heels at the I-Beam performance
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Brix E. Smith bright & Mark E. Smith bac
Brix E. Smith in the foreground, with much of the band in the background

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley & Brix E. Smith vertical sh
Steve Hanley and Brix E. Smith at the I-Beam performance in October ’86
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon, Mark E. Smith tambourine
Mark E. Smith does a bit of pacing with the tambourine, with Craig Scanlon and Marcia Schofield riffing
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley profile horizontal LG [The
The ‘anchor’, Steve Hanley, with Brix E. Smith & Marcia Schofield at the back side
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon, Mark E. Smith, Marcia Sch
Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon just there, Marcia Schofield & Brix E. Smith in the foreground at the I-Beam, in SF, October 1986
The group performed at the I-Beam on two successive nights, and I have no handy record [ticket stub], to inform me as to which night I attended, so that is why the photos [and the blog], note both dates – at least until I confirm it, for myself.

The Fall were on a roll, at this point in time in their career, and I am very pleased to have seen them at this juncture.  Both shows were very gratifying, and I would go on to attend a performance at least once more, in the early 90’s, in support of “The Infotainment Scam”, which was also a very enjoyable show [no pictures though, as Slim’s in SF, was always a tough nut to bust on that account].

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon & Mark E. Smith vertical n
Mark E. Smith & Craig Scanlon at the I-Beam, October 1986

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] The Fall in motion horizontal LG [the Fa
The band, minus Mark E. Smith, at full tilt
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley & Brix E. Smith vertical no
Steve Hanley and Brix E. Smith, October 1986

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Simon Wolstencroft in the shadows LG [Th
Dark, but decent, image of Karl Burns behind his kit at The Stone in ’86

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith closeup bright LG [the Fal
Closeup of Mark E. Smith at the microphone

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Craig Scanlon horizontal under light LG

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith, Steve Hanley & Brix E. Sm
Mark E. Smith, Steve Hanley & Brix E. Smith at The Stone, March of ’86
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Brix E. Smith on the megaphone LG [the F
Brix E. Smith and the megaphone chorus

 

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Steve Hanley vertical LG [The Fall - I B
Steve Hanley from the I-Beam gig in San Francisco, 1986
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith & Brix E. Smith well lit v
Mark E. Smith & Brix E. Smith from The Stone, in March of ’86
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith background, Steve Hanley &

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith spotlight & Brix E. Smith

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith in dark light LG [the Fall

 

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Brix E. Smith vertical no 4 LG [the Fall
Brix E. Smith from the I-Beam performance in 1986
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mark E. Smith crouching full frame LG [t
Mark E. Smith

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As always, constructive criticism is always welcome – leave a comment if you feel so inclined. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy what you found here, and thought it was worth your time.

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For a group/performer that has issued so many recordings, it is hard to point in any one direction for detailed information on everything they’ve been up to, but here are a few starting points for you, to check out:

The Fall Offical website [as of 2016]:

The Fall Official

The Fall Online, with extremely helpful info on live dates from the past [which helped me on my particular post]:

The Fall Online

What little there is to be found on Marcia Schofield these days:

Marcia Schofield at Discogs

A starting point on all info related to Brix E. Smith:

Brix Smith Wikipedia

And, of course, a starting point on the core of The Fall – Mark E. Smith:

Mark E. Smith – Wikipedia

For entertainment purposes, two different takes on the NME interview that placed Mark E. Smith, Nick Cave & Shane MacGowan together, for a few drinks and a chat………..

NME interview via The Quietus

The NME interview via Nick-Cave.com

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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.