So Record Store Day 2012 seemed to be another success. At least based on the vibe in Plugd on Saturday. Whatever about sales and business done, the atmosphere was convivial, you might even say fraternal, and certainly extremely good-natured, with Jim and Albert holding court at the counter (Sounds like a normal Saturday – Ed.).
And as ever, there were some fascinating characters rolling through as the day wore on. It was a whole bunch of craic, basically.
Your corrrespondent landed shortly after lunch, when Phil Hope was playing a beautiful mix of Northern Soul, garage and RnB, all on 45. Some dancing may well have broken out, if it wasn’t for the daylight and absence of alcohol.
Yours truly was up next, with partner in crime Stephen Purcell, steering the UCC 98.3FM outside broadcast. Stephen had some fascinating research to impart on the range of limited edition releases for Record Store Day, with tunes to accompany. I had only tunes (along with some Grinderman and Amadou & Mariam albums to give away as prizes, kindly supplied by the Mute and Because labels, respectively – they all found good homes). I must say it was a bit weird to be doing links over a mike between tunes – to some at first puzzled punters, it was a bit Reardens, dare I say – but we got over it.
The acid test for me of the value of the stint, though, came in the form of enquiries from the customers about the playlist.
“Who’s that you’re playing?” said one man, mature, grey-haired, looking very unlike my idea of a Plugd regular.
“Lower Dens”, I replied, upon which he took himself away to the counter to enquire further.
“Who’s that you’re playing?” enquired another customer later, a shy 20-something wearing blue sneakers and a band t-shirt.
“M Ward”, I replied, before I realised I had none other than Patrick Kelleher standing in front of me.
I introduced myself and complimented him on his latest Doo Wop cassette release (go here for more detail). He shrugged self-deprecatingly and glided away to purchase a stack of vinyl. (Patrick was of course in town to play with The Jimmy Cake downstairs in the TDC later that night – pictures of that gig here.)
Ian Fiasco, another colleague of ours at UCC 98.3FM, was around, also weighed down with vinyl 45 treats, special Record Store Day pressings (Carolina Chocolate Drops covering Run DMC and The Black Twig Pickers, among others).
My favourite encounter came with another silver-haired gentleman, who was unknown to me, browsing the vinyl racks. He drew my attention to a special edition release of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
“Look at that”, he said approvingly, spectacles on his nose, pointing at the name of the mastering studio (which escapes me now).
He then announced that he would be attending a high-end audio convention in Munich in a few weeks and that he would be frequenting that city’s record shops while there.
“Is that your line of business?” I ventured to ask, meaning high-end audio sound systems.
“No, no, I’m a lawyer”, came the reply.
Later, I overheard Albert complimenting the same man’s choice of a Luna record. I had to marvel at the beauty of having your preconceptions shattered, the rug pulled out from under you.
I was personally delighted to pick up a copy of the new Hidden Highways EP, on Out On A Limb Records (see Rebecca’s piece about it here). Coincidentally, the main man behind that label, Ciaran Ryan, also surfaced in the shop under another guise, interviewing random punters for a radio documentary he’s making about record shops, which is to air later in the year on 2XM.
The crowds ebbed and floed throughout the afternoon, an influx of teenagers one minute, older solo browsers the next, families with young children, dudes in bands, music heads, collectors. All held together like glue by the easy banter from behind the counter.
Stephen and myself finished up our shift, to be follwed by Micí Durnin, playing under the Finders Keepers umbrella and bearing tasty gifts from that department (including FK mix CD’s, with, intriguingly, no trace of a track listing). He began his set with some wonderful folk records from his LARGE record bag.
At that point, I had to reluctantly shuffle off to other commitments. The tunes continued all evening, I believe, with John Byrne and Vicky Langan taking up the DJ mantle after Micí. And of course the live acts later that night downstairs.
The whole thing was very heartwarming indeed.
How was your Record Store Day?
*Thanks to Jim and Albert at Plugd for their hospitality, on a day that was basically the 1st birthday of the shop’s new location in Triskel Arts Centre.