After much delay, I have finally gotten around to post the bulk of the images captured from quite an evening at Club DV8, in San Francisco. Einsturzende Neubauten was the headliner; and just outside, immediately afterward, another performance awaited: a demonstration by Survival REsearch Laboratories https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_Research_Laboratories. This additional performance took place underneath a freeway overpass that ran just above/by the buildings on the street, that set the “ceiling” for the throng of people gathered around the edges of the parking lot surrounding the supports for the roadway above, and now served as the “playing field” for the radio-controlled contraptions set on demolishing each other in a “noisy, violent and destructive” manner [from the Wikipedia entry]. Unfortunately, I ran out of film in my attempt to capture as much of the kinetic energy of Einsturzende Neubauten’s set, as I could. And so, I was not able to do much beyond take my place in a somewhat safe area, and grin in wonderment, at the “icing on the cake” – the display of machines with their circular saw teeth, jutting spears and flamethrowers, along with their very loud explosions, which made for a very memorable evening, indeed. Those detonations, combined with the sounds coming from the machines, were really, really loud. I can remember my ears ringing for a few days after this night’s proceedings [perhaps another in a long line of shows that contributed to my relatively mild case of tinnitus, today]. See the links below for some footage of that night’s SRL performance.
Thanks very much to Hans at From the Archives http://www.fromthearchives.com/en/chronology1.html, for the use of the concert ad/announcement for the show featured today:
I clearly remember strolling into Club DV8 for the first time, and was a bit perplexed by the “appearance” of Rhythm & Noise – not on stage, but rather, as an installation, with their music being played over the house sound system, with the members [presumably] stationed off to the sides of the venue…. I do not recall ever actually seeing anyone that I could identify as “the group”, and seem not to have any photographs of them, as a record [although that may change, as I slowly make my way through my negatives].
The crowd had already clustered around the edges of the stage, and so I could not get quite as close as I would, normally, at such shows, in order to set up and take photos, and it would not be easy to move about, either, since people had packed in tightly, in anticipation. In retrospect, that was actually fine, as once the festivities began, it was obvious that to be at the edge of the stage was going to present certain difficulties that I was happy to avoid: the sometimes frenzied movement of the scrap metal objects that littered the stage; the occasional fragments that would fly off the stage; and later, the lighter fluid that was set alight on top of a garbage can lid. Nothing ever became completely out of control, but there was a sense that it could…
Instead, as you can see from the images, I was positioned about four-to-five-people-deep, back from the stage. Safe enough for my camera equipment, and while the heads of some audience members appear in certain frames, most of the results were quite satisfying. It was a new challenge: photographing quite a different performance than I was used to attending. I had seen Swans perform a couple of months earlier, and while that was also a very impressive sonic experience, there was no real threat, as it were, of something leaving the stage, as a projectile, of sorts, on that occasion. Again, I felt very lucky to have witnessed this Einsturzende Neubauten show, as their records, up to that point, had only hinted at the power of their performance[s] – “Halber Mensch” having caught my attention at the record shop I worked at, at the time, thanks to my colleagues and friends, John & Lexy, who had heartily recommended that I give them a listen to, along with many other great releases that were coming through Rough Trade distributors at the time, and that they were responsible for stocking at Asta’s Records [The “Industrial Releases/Difficult Music” section there, was their idea, and they occasionally lent a helping hand with the “Information Overload” show https://www.kalx.berkeley.edu/programs/information-overload, at KALX-FM, Cal-Berkeley, in those days].
The images do not follow a chronological sequence, other than the band’s entrance for the evening’s proceedings [left to right: N.U. Unruh, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit, Mark Chung & Alex Hacke]:
F.M. Einheit, Blixa Bargeld and Mark Chung appear in the photo above:
N.U. Unruh, early on, in the set, above:
F.M. Einheit, under bright spotlights, above:
N.U. Unruh working in & with the found metal objects, above [note the Safeway shopping cart, and cooling/heating ducts, amongst the array]:
Blixa Bargeld and Mark Chung, featured in the images, above & below:
N.U. Unruh working with his contact microphone amongst his metal array:
F.M. Einheit for a brief time in bright lights, above:
N.U. Unruh, above, working with the shopping cart, and slab of metal:
Alex Hacke, obviously enjoying himself, above, on guitar:
More on the group, and various other related links:
For information on Rhythm & Noise, the opening group, on this evening:
Survival Research Laboratories videos, from the 80’s, including footage from the Club DV8 extravaganza:
Survival Research Laboratories Official site:
Einsturzende Neubauten Official site:
Article from The Guardian; current (2020):
Neubauten Official – YouTube:
Highly recommended DVD and CD, if you can track it down, especially concerning this period of the group’s history:
Excellent website, for a number of reasons, run by Hans, which spotlights the likes of Neubauten, Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch, and more:
Link to my post on Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, which features a couple of photos of Blixa Bargeld, who was in the line-up, at that time:
For my images and recollections of seeing Swans, also in San Francisco:
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.