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“Where Were You?” – The N, at The Beat Club, in Louisville, Kentucky [1982] – michaelconen “where were you?”

This post takes you back to the early days of my small venue photography adventures, when I briefly hung out at The Beat (Club), in downtown Louisville. That year – 1982 – featured quite some memorable experiences there: helping out as a (slight) doorman; occasional deejay; and where Sandy Campbell (aka Fret Hondo convinced me to get together with some others he knew, who were looking to start a new band, which turned out to become Poor Girls, who would go on to tour and record, for a number of years afterward

Sandy had been part of the initial independent/punk scene in Louisville, years earlier, as a member of the I-Holes, and The Blinders, and was not actively playing, at that point, but still very much interested in what was going on, musically-speaking. We would alternately spin records for the club patrons when not watching the door to the club, and compare notes on likes & dislikes, concerning music. He was an avid fan of The Jam at that point, and tried to convince me to go along with him to Chicago to see them, but finances kept me from taking him up on the offer, while I was able to convince him, the year earlier, to join a few friends on a road trip to see The Pretenders, in St. Louis (more on that show, and my photos, at this link: Where Were You? The Pretenders on Tour in the U.S. [August & September 1981]). It was thanks to him, that I finally took the leap, and attempted to play out with others – however briefly that turned out to be – in Louisville, anyway (a few months of kitchen rehearsals, and 3 live dates before I would bow out and leave for California…). A small number of bands, locally, had already been playing and recording, as documented on this cd release , and within the next year or two, there would be another “scene” that would bubble up and explode, over the next decade or so, as summarized on this blog post: .

For a brief time, the owners of The Beat were attempting to create a hot spot for new bands, in tandem with Tewligan’s Tavern across town, by bringing in regional and national independent groups, while providing opening slots, and the off-night headliner, for the newer local bands playing original music. On this particular night, I decided to bring along my camera while having a second chance of seeing The N. They had appeared at about the same point in time, at the New Music Festival, at Swiss Park, that summer, and I found their set quite intriguing, with the energy of their particular sound – not quite punk, and not quite “new wave” either (okay, maybe just a wee bit!), mixed with some touches of one of my old faves, the “power” line-up of King Crimson.(not sure whether that was my impression of hearing them live, or not, because after listening to the tracks that Chuck Baxter – who took over as guitarist in Poor Girls after my departure – directed me to, on FB, there is little or no resemblance to the aforementioned UK group, in hindsight!). Power trio line-ups, usually work very well musically-speaking, and they sounded very good, as I remember it – I enjoyed it enough to purchase their 10″ vinyl EP, and would hang on to it, for about 15 years, before finally letting go of it, along with 90% of my vinyl collection, when I made another major move in life, in the late 90’s

A sampling of the group can be heard, here – if you wish to hear more, seek out the videos on the poster’s link (Rick Bennett):

A few images taken at that summer outdoor festival, in August of 1982, of The N:

For more images of the other bands that performed that day, please see here:

Where Were You? The New Music Festival at Swiss Park in Louisville, Kentucky [August 7th, 1982]

As mentioned above, this particular point in time was somewhat in-between the “bold beginnings” of the Louisville / Kentuckiana music scene, and the Punk / alternative scene that would blossom soon enough. The following photos are from a night which featured two local bands, which did not garner any major following that I am aware of, and I have no record of the actual date, the names of any of the performers of The N, nor the name of the opening act on this bill – so, if anyone reading this, happens to know any of those details, please let me know! The only real information I could track down, online, was a review of the 10″ EP, by The N, without personnel credits:

Thanks to Rick Bennett, the drummer for The N, posting a response to my post on FB, I now have the rest of the names of the band to add to this post:

Rick Bennett on drums & vocals

Dan Mackowski on guitar

Scott Stoess on bass & vocals

The N, "Where Were You?", Michael Conen, Canon AE-1, The Beat, Louisville, Kentucky


As for the opening band on this date, the only information I have, is the name of the late drummer, Bob Strehl, thanks to my buddy Gary, who also informed me that Strehl played in no small number of outfits in Louisville, over the years. Perhaps that will help fill in some of the gaps on this post, which I put off for some time, simply because I had so little personnel information to work with, after all these years….


For more reading on the Louisville music scene of the 80‘s & 90‘s:







PS: If anyone reading this happens to have photos of Poor Girls performing live, in October or November of 1982, I would dearly love to see them!!!!



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 the curmudgeon in me explain why I choose to present my work in this manner.

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.

Want to change that situation? Contact me about donations, in return for removing watermarks, and providing financial support so that I can devote more time to working on more images in my archives; or, perhaps you might consider purchasing a custom print of your choice, which will not contain those watermarks