Doing the Rounds on Dallas' Record Store Day, 2014
We all have our Record Store Day stories. Maybe we pulled an all-nighter to stake out a spot in line before the stores had even opened. Maybe we planned our day to avoid the rush and make a quick record-grab-and-go. Or maybe we just went to stand around in the sun, have a beer (or four), and work off that Friday night hangover.
Regardless, audiophiles of the world -- and specifically of North Texas -- were out en mass this past Saturday, and DC9 at Night had our troops on the ground at some of the most popular locations in the area. Here's what we found along the way.
According to owner Lance Price, people began lining up as early as 2:30 a.m. in front of CD Source to take advantage of the Record Store Day deals. By the time Price opened at 6:30 a.m., the line stretched around the block. By 11 a.m., there were a few hundred shoppers perusing the bins and listening to the likes of Nicholas Altobelli, Colin Boyd and Matthew and the Arrogant Sea.
Altobelli's set was especially intriguing as he performed only new and unreleased material. Most of the songs will be featured on the singer/songwriter's upcoming CD. New songs included "Don't Let the World Get You Down," "Pile of Leaves" and "Ann Arbor." Ironically, Altobelli didn't bring any of his previous releases to sell. "I have boxes and boxes of CDs at home," Altobelli deadpanned, "because no one ever buys them." Despite the glum disposition, Altobelli delivered his new tunes with earnest aplomb.
Oddly, a near fight broke out in the middle of Altobelli's set. Seems a woman on the hunt for a single from One Direction accused a man of cutting in line in order to beat her to said vinyl. Heads were turning throughout the store as the woman raised her voice so that more in the crowd heard her than the music. Calmer heads prevailed as the woman exited CD Source still ranting about her lost opportunity.
Once Rahim Quazi went onstage, order was restored and people got back to shopping and eating. Food provided by several local restaurants was received enthusiastically by the (mostly) patient throng.
Since I had to work Saturday morning, I was not able to visit any stores when they opened. But I hauled ass to Denton once my shift was over to my favorite record store in the area: Mad World Records.
The weather was beautiful as many people took in the sights and sounds around the downtown square, and there was no line to get into Mad World. The store was busier than it normally is any other day of the year, but the great thing was, a majority of people there were looking to buy non-exclusive RSD vinyl and CDs. At times, the space was tight to browse, but people were respectful and friendly, something you often see in Denton anyway. Unlike my experience on Record Store Day last year at a different store, I didn't have to endure smelling other people's coffee breath, butt sweat or a late-night bender.
Talking with owner Mark Burke, who's usually reserved and soft-spoken, he had a big smile on his face seeing regulars come in happy and leave happy. They did some of their best sales of the year on this day, and I was lucky to snag a couple of RSD exclusives (the Sunny Day Real Estate 7-inch, the Hüsker Dü reissue of Candy Apple Gray) along with a rare Hot Water Music compilation.
Though I live a good 20 minutes (sans traffic) away from this store, they never disappoint with their selection (especially their punk/hardcore/emo section). Burke's approach makes the store a place that warrants repeat visits. You can't argue with a healthy selection of all musical genres, fair prices, plenty of space, and friendly employees who actually give a shit about selling stuff in great shape, including used vinyl.
Predictably, Good Records was another shop with long lines outside well before its crack-of-dawn opening. And yet, the hoards of record buyers didn't pose as much of a problem as the concertgoers (supposedly) did: Around midday, the in-store performances repeatedly saw the police drop in to enforce fire code.
By late afternoon, the elbow-to-elbow rush of morning crate-digging gave way to long beer lines and small talk in the parking lot. There were food trucks, merch tables, and the store's ubiquitous chicken mascot to help move the party along. Nervous Curtains played a set of jittery punk that was worthy of the name. Son of Stan matched the energy of their heavy riffing with their impassioned sports banter. Dovetail complemented the increasingly moody lighting with their lush ballads.
There were DJs too. At one point, Midlake played inside -- streamlined to a three-piece for their short, acoustic performance -- but just outside the door their sleepy, sun-soaked folk was drowned out by the hip-hop and R&B grooves of Danny Balis' DJ set. Such are the things a Record Store Day is made of.
Gradually, the heat of the day subsided, and if the beer supplies ran out, it didn't slow down the proceedings. As the sun went down, an impromptu dance-off broke out in the parking lot -- anything to keep the energy reserves going for a party that stretched late into the night.