Record Store Day Round Up!

Posted by Amoebite, April 25, 2008 01:44pm | Post a Comment
This past Saturday was that special holiday -- Record Store Day.  Amoebites at both the San Francisco and Hollywood stores turned in full reports, so read on to check them out!  SF is up first, then Hollywood:

To celebrate the m
omentous occasion of Record Store Day here at the San Francisco Amoeba, we had DJs all day, super stuffed swag bags to give to customers, extra special day-only limited edition 10" and 7" from artists like Steve Malkmus and Vampire Weekend, and we also had Mr. Alternative Tentacles, Jello Biafra, sitting at our Information Counter.

The day started off with a bang, with customers flocking to the limited vinyl-only product that artists had created just for Record Store Day.  We quickly sold out of the Steve Malkmus and the Jicks, Built To Spill, Death Cab For Cutie and REM limited edition 7"s.  Other popular items included the Vampire Weekend, Breeders and Teenagers 7"s. 

At 1pm the DJ sets kicked off with  DJ Vinnie Esparza, who brought the party jams.  Balloons and even more crowds soon followed.

The most exciting part of the day though, was when Jello Biafra stopped by to man our Info Counter.  The visit quickly turned into a hero-worshipping signing line, and Jello was kind enough to stick around to accomodate each and every fan who came to see him, signing their records and taking photos with them.  Apparently he recommended a lot of Prog rock, like Magma! He also recommended Triclops to a lot of people.  Triclops is playing an instore here at Amoeba SF on April 25-- this Friday! Superfan and Record Store Day DJ V. Vale even scored a mini interview with Jello!  To see his review of his experience and the day, go here.  For larger versions of the pictures you see here plus more, go here.

Once his signing was over, Jello shopped till he dropped-- he was here all the way until the store closed!  I'm told he was extra into learning about Death Metal and was also eager to talk to World Music employee Jeremy about Indonesian metal bands.

All in all, Amoeba San Francisco's Record Store Day was a swinging success!  Rest assured, we'll be back for more next year!


Now for a report from Hollywood:

Record Store Day is a good thing.  Sometimes you need a holiday to help remind you to appreciate something important that you take for granted -- gratitude at Thanksgiving, romance on Valentine's Day, civil rights and equality on Martin Luther King Day.  Green stuff and leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day.  Mother's Day, gosh darn it!

So three cheers for Record Store Day!  The record store is one of those wonderful things in life that we sometimes take for granted, and it deserves a little recognition. Record stores are temples of music and meeting places for the faithful, and a really good record store is a place of love, history, joy and delight -- and a source of groovy tunes!  It's really something to celebrate.

And celebrate we did here at one of the world's biggest and we hope, best independent record stores, Amoeba Music LA!  We were blessed with a record (sorry) crowd of thousands of our loyal shoppers, who are truly the all-important other half of the record store -- the folks who go there. Clearly everyone was in the mood to come together, cause there were more folks under that roof than I've seen outside a Dodgers game!  After all, that is what you do at a record store -- hang out with lots of like-minded music maniacs, and dig the tunes.  So we had a giant party here at the store and it was wonderful for us to see all the folks who love what we love all in one place on one day.

It kicked off with a bang on a slightly overcast Saturday morning when we opened the doors and were immediately rushed by a battalion of sweater-clad vinyl collectors looking for our display of exclusive Record Store Day 45s and 12"s by indie bands from Death Cab For Cutie to Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, all of whom recorded and pressed special treats just for their fans on the big day.  Those platters sure went fast and those kids were stoked.  Even the big protest march outside the CNN building across the street, a clash of pro- and anti-Beijing Olympics demonstrators, had no effect on our steadily arriving crowd of folks demonstrating for what they love, which is real music served up by real folks.

We handed out hundreds of gift bags to anyone who asked, full of fun promo stuff, CDs and Amoeba gear.  And we held drawings on the hour every hour from the list of folks signing up for our newsletter, with even more fabulous prizes.  But the real fun kicked off at 2, when our celebrity guest DJ sets got under way.

Our first celebrity DJs were David J. and Daniel Ash from the legendary Bauhaus and the recently re-formed Love & Rockets.  The always dapper David J. strode onstage and regaled us with a pretty amazing set of tunes, betraying a pretty wide set of influences; he started off with some ominous Ennio Morricone, and led into some hypnotic Indian grooves and eerie electropop.  A hundred or so avid Bauhaus fans crowded the stage and hung on his every word, as he explained what he was playing on the mic in deadly cool asides.  "This is a remix you can find back there in the electronica section," he said, pointing towards Sunset, and on the next tune, "This is a great remix by a friend of mine... unfortunately, you won't find this one anywhere!"  That is one nice thing about having all these guest DJs, though-- getting to hear rare stuff you can't hear anywhere else.  Mr. J took us on a wonderful dark, dancey journey through a surprisingly diverse range of styles while his bandmate Mr. Ash met and greeted the fans at the corner of the stage.  It's not every day you get to hang out with legends like that and we were pretty thrilled.

Next up were four rock & roll she-devils, beloved for their commitment to old-school, hard-partying, sweat-soaked, beer-drenched, classic rock -- The Donnas!  Yes, all four of them took turns DJing!  Whoa!  They got the crowd rocking with favorites by Kiss, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Motorhead and more, and clearly were having a great time themselves onstage.  They mixed it up a little too, with some unexpected crowd-pleasers... was that an Ol' Dirty Bastard song I heard?  I'm pretty sure it was.  By this point the crowd was pretty gigantic and folks walking in were greeted by a blast of crazy metal served up by four hot chicks from the stage, which I believe is something our shoppers are not opposed to.  Those Donnas rocked the party and they were very nice young ladies too--
we were glad they could celebrate Record Store Day with us.

Last up was the grand finale... local independent hip-hop label Stones Throw got started 10 years ago by a rabid music fan and beat creator named Peanut Butter Wolf, and has gained worldwide renown as one of the hottest and most creative labels in the game.  Mr. Wolf (Peanut Butter to his friends) is also a gigantic record store fan, and one of those folks who lets everyone know wherever he goes that record stores are where music lives, and where fans and musicians thrive, and that they need the support of anyone who really loves music.  The man himself is a lifelong record store devotee (in fact he's often in here digging in his spare time).

He showed his love for the stores on Record Store Day by bringing an extravaganza to the stage -- an outasite audio-visual DJ set, with synched-up projections on a giant screen behind him!  We dimmed the lights and hundreds of fans crowded the stage.  PBW took the mic and made an inspiring speech ab
out the importance of record stores and then launched into one of the most amazing DJ sets we've ever seen!  He cut up old school and new school, Motown and hip-hop beats, with classics and snippets from TV shows, movies, commercials and more -- all synched up to projections on the screen of the bands performing their tunes (lots of memorable '60s soul clips) or shots of random hilarious weirdness in time with the music.  TOTALLY AMAZING-- there is no other word for it.  Pretty much everyone in the store was just staring at him, jaws dropped.  Everything from '70s PBS commercials to clips from Heavy Metal Parking Lot got thrown in there, with bits of Run DMC freestyling in the studio and Stax artists going nuts onstage.  He mentioned that it was a little nerve-wracking getting it all together, and it was obvious why -- it was such a masterful and complex and wide-ranging explosion of music and images, that none of us could believe he had really put it all together, and in such an unbelievably cool way.  It was a real tribute to music of all eras from someone who loves it all, and it was one of the wackiest, coolest things ever made.  After many false endings and cheers for more, he took us out with an amazing video of Musical Youth rapping "Pass the Dutchie," which made everyone happy.  It's just one of those songs...

We did a few more drawings and got back to business as usual, which is helping anyone who walks through our doors have a good time and find whatever crazy kind of music they're looking for-- so in a way Record Store Day is every day here at Amoeba LA. But it's one of those things where having a special day really helps all of us remember to appreciate what goes on here, and helps us to appreciate you for being a part of it.  We're already looking forward to Record Store Day 2009... see you there!

For larger versions of the pictures seen here, as well as more, go here!