Recap: Record Store Day 2014 celebrated at Daddy Kool, Bananas, the Local 662 and more
It’s fitting that this year, Record Store Day fell on the day before Easter. Just as some folks only go to church once a year, Record Store Day is the one day a year on which music fans of all stripes have all agreed to indulge their inner music nerd, getting up early, braving long lines, going to concerts and buying more vinyl records than they can realistically afford.
Not everyone is cool with that concept, but I am. I like the idea of a musical holiday – something like a day of reflection and support for the artists you've loved all year long, or in many cases, your whole life. It’s fun and freeing and kind of addictive, even if (let’s be honest) most of us are still going to listen to more music on our iPods, phones, computers or in our cars than we are on a turntable in 2014.
That’s why I was compelled to get up and out early to survey the St. Petersburg scene on Record Store Day 2014. Here’s a blow-by-blow of my 15-hour day – if you participated in any part of Record Store Day, I’m guessing some of it looks familiar.
7:30 a.m.: I arrive at Daddy Kool Records, only about 3-1/2 hours after the first folks in line. Which means there are about 70 people ahead of me, all of whom probably want exactly the same things.
8 a.m.: Daddy Kool opens. The store has a new layout, one that in theory should help alleviate traffic to and from the RSD exclusives. LPs and 12-inches are placed among the rock and hip-hop bins; 7-inches have their own stand; soundtracks and 10-inches are near the register, in a little alcove that gets packed quickly.
I grab Death Cab For Cutie and Magik*Magik Orchestra’s Live 2012 double LP and Oasis’ 12-inch Supersonic single; waver and pass on the Cure/Dinosaur Jr. side-by-side 7-inch of Just Like Heaven; and realize I’m out of luck on everything else on my list. It’s calm and orderly, but hard to move around, and all the good stuff – including a handful of Crosley Peanuts record players – goes quickly. Two lines open up, but they both move like molten rock, meaning that by the time I reach my next stop, it’s…
9:15 a.m.: Whereas Daddy Kool is energetic and bustling, Bananas Music, which opened at 9 a.m., is cool and orderly, with a long, slow line that moves with the regimented efficiency of the Soup Nazi’s deli counter. Here, you fill out your wishlist on a little slip of paper, hand it to an employee and hope for the best. I’m glad I went to Daddy Kool first, as Bananas quickly sold out of Death Cab and Oasis, but most of my other hoped-for titles were gone, too; all I get is The Muppet Movie soundtrack.
10:20 a.m.: It’s the first Record Store Day for Planet Retro Gallery in St. Pete’s Grand Central District. At this point, the opening bell has long since been rung, so it’s not crowded inside, yet there are still plenty of top releases. Considering how punk-oriented and immaculately curated Planet Retro tends to be, it’s hilarious to see two copies of One Direction’s Midnight Memories 7-inch picture disc languishing in the bins. They’re also having an excellent sidewalk sale out front – I pick up U2’s The Unfortgettable Fire, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and a double Ray Charles anthology for just $3 and change.
11 a.m.: The Sound Exchange in Pinellas Park is an oft-overlooked store, which may be why there’s still a solid selection here, including multiple copies (on all three formats) of Green Day’s Demolicious, plus titles from Eric Church, Bruce Springsteen, the Pixies and LCD Soundsystem. Still nothing on my list, though. Sometime around
2:30 p.m.: This is a unfortunately sort of a weird social-media humblebrag, but bear with me. After spending the morning tweeting and Instagramming photos from the St. Pete RSD scene, I keep noticing massive numbers of likes from people I don't know on a photo I took at Bananas Music. It takes me a while to realize that this is because @instagram -- yes, THE Instagram -- also liked the photo, which meant many, many completely random Instagrammers saw and liked it, too. As of this posting, the photo had around 250 likes. It's not an earth-shattering number, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the photo -- but however it happened, I just think it's neat that on Record Store Day, a photo of Bananas Music got noticed by people all over the world.
4 p.m. A bonus RSD treat from Daddy Kool, as Georgia reggae-rock band Passafire, who play later Saturday night at Jannus Live, drop into the Local 662 for a generous 9-song, 40-minute set loaded with fan requests. They seemed just as happy to be there as anyone, with bassist Will Kubley saying, "This is by far the coolest acoustic stuff we've done." They rocked fan favorties like Black Dog and Rude Boy, tossed in a cover of Vampire Weekend's Ya Hey and even played what they said was their first attempt at an acoustic version of Submersible. The melodic set emphasized their roots-rockier side, and was a cool bonus for fans killing time before their Jannus Live show.
5 p.m.: I'm feeling kinda bummed about not finding the RSD special 50th anniversary reissue of Henry Mancini's soundtrack to The Pink Panther on pink vinyl ... until I stop by the Disc Exchange way out on Central, and wouldn't you know it, owner Nick Sorace has not one but two copies of the original buried in his stacks. Sorace, you might recall, was the victim of a violent, allegedly drug-fueled January home invasion that made national news -- he was bitten and stabbed around his face. But he's been in good spirits since, having caught concerts like the Gasparilla Music Festival, Stephen Marley and Todd Rundgren in recent weeks. And his Record Store Day, he says, has been going gangbusters, with people lined up outside his store early in the morning. Anyway: It's not pink, but at $10, an original Pink Panther soundtrack is fine by me.
6 p.m.: We exit the 'Burg for a field trip to Clearwater, home of Pair O'Dice Brewing, which has created a custom beer for one of this year's tbt* Ultimate Local Artists, called Fowler's Bluff Session IPA. Fowler's Bluff is onstage when we arrive, ripping through the electric blues-rock track Wom3n in a makeshift stage inside the brewery. The beer itself is pretty solid, too.
7 p.m.: Back to Central, where many pockets of activity are just heating up. Across the street from Daddy Kool is the Oleson Gallery, where artist Eva Avenue has created "The Gold Room," a highly interactive walk-through art exhibit featuring opulent golden fixtures and tables, saloon-like piano music and, in the back, a baby goat. No, check that: THE CUTEST BABY GOAT IN THE WORLD. You can pet it, watch it, take pictures with it, whatever you want. We're willing to bet no other Record Store Day celebrations around the country have a baby goat exhibition right next door.
7:45 p.m.: A few doors down, Bluelucy Gallery is opening a new art exhibit called '100 Films,' a fantastic show in which more than 100 artists were given identical canvases on which to create artwork inspired by 100 different films. There are all-time classics, like Citizen Kane and Some Like It Hot, but also countless cult favorites across all genres from the past 30-plus years -- everything from Donnie Darko to There Will Be Blood to Pee Wee's Big Adventure to Piranha. It's impossible to pick a single favorite, but Joanna Ledingham's dazzling representation of Office Space's Swingline stapler and a 3D recreation of the Psycho house by Cody Meacham are both excellent.
8 p.m.: Here's where I'll be spending most of my night: At the Local 662 for tbt*'s Ultimate Band Showcase, featuring five of the artists in this year's Ultimate Local Music Guide, on newstands throughout the weekend.
Up first is singer-songwriter Mark Etherington of Mountain Holler, playing his second of three shows today. After warming the Local with his impassioned woodsman yowl, Etherington skipped right down Central to Green Bench Brewing, where his band RedFeather had a set later in the evening.
Psychedelic St. Pete group Archaic Interest comes next, delivering time-traveling tunes while bathed in neon paisley swirls, courtesy of a drip artists whose blobs of colored oil and water are projected across the band as they played. Fans can’t help but dance. Then it’s Fowler's Bluff, fresh off their beer release party at Pair O'Dice, ripping through a loose, lively and loud set. Good Graeff, a twin-sister indie-folk-pop act from Sarasota, follow them, once again getting the crowd dancing (including a few rowdy revelers who looked to have come straight from a Rays game) with their bright, vivacious and classically tinged sound.
Finally, around midnight, there’s Sonic Graffiti, a young blues-punk trio led by twin brothers Drew and Dane Giordano. They spend their late-night set thrashing and yelping and sweating like it might be the last gig they’d ever play; by the end fans are dancing with them on stage. This, despite the fact that it’s the brothers’ fourth gig together in the past 24 hours. Then again, they’re music fans. And for music fans, this day just means that much.
“Thank you for celebrating our favorite holiday,” Drew told the crowd.
“Easter? Meh,” added Dane. “But Record Store Day…”
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*