It’s noisy, it’s indie and it’s going to be a ball: your guide to Saturday’s Record Store Day.
A raucous, noisy and strangely nail-biting annual event, Record Store Day has, since its UK launch in 2008, become something of a shopping success story – which is a phrase you don’t get to hear too often these days. And that success is not to be found in the big brands and mega budgets. It is instead rooted in independence, in the antithesis of the homogenous high street, and in the individual passions that are behind Britain’s best independent record shops. The nail-biting bit comes courtesy of the 450 limited-edition releases that are only available to buy on the day at participating stores – releases are sold in person, on a first come, first served basis. Music fans have been known to camp out to ensure they get their musical mitts on their picks of the records produced especially for RSD; at Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, for example, expect to find releases ranging from the likes of The XX and Frightened Rabbit to Caribou via Bob Dylan and Miles Davis.
Check your lists, get in line: these are the sights and sounds of independent music shopping at its best
In fact, Piccadilly Records is leading the RSD charge in Manchester. Alongside the music on sale is a roster of in-store DJs, plus Tim Burgess manning his pop-up Tim Peaks Diner (complete with Yorkshire Tea and cake). Close by, Beatin Rhythm and Eastern Bloc are also doing their RSD thing. In a neat hook-up, Piccadilly is working with the folk at Common to supply food, drink and more live tunes: get your hand stamped at the shop to get 10% off Common’s special “Quiff Ale” and “Piccalilli Burger”, and chow down at Common while listening to a live gig or DJ sets from the likes of Red Deer Club and Piccadilly’s own Pasta Paul. Retro hounds may also appreciate the limited-edition tape that’s on offer and which features all of the live acts and DJs playing at both venues on Saturday.
If Common is busy (which, let’s face it, it will be), try the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street. It is the host for a one-day mini music fest from the people behind the Carefully Planned Festival. Or for quick and cheap eats, try the pizza at Slice on Stevenson Square, from whose pavement tables you can properly observe the new street art exhibition on the walls of the ex-public toilet opposite (it looks a whole lot better than it sounds, honest). And Manchester doesn’t hold all the vinyl cards. Liverpool is taking part too, with the ever-reliable Probe Records taking part and in-store DJs at 3B Records. OK, you ready for it? All that’s left is to check what shops are selling which releases (every shop sells a different selection of the 450 flavours on offer), get in line – and enjoy the sights and sounds of independent music shopping at its finest.