I’m usually quite skeptical at the idea of certain calendar days in the year being named for the particular cause of an organisation. They intend to raise awareness, but the more that keep cropping up the less effective each becomes.
That being said, Record Store Day, celebrated last Saturday (21st April), is rather more worthwhile because it is based on substance. Artists and record labels put out limited edition album and single releases with the aim of attracting music fans young and old towards record shops and the vinyl format. It’s an idea which emerged in the US in 2007, but now has over 230 participating stores in the UK.
A number of items of interest appeared when RSD published the full list of limited edition releases for 2012, however the release I particularly had my eyes set on was the Coldplay Up With The Birds/UFO 7″ single adorned with red Parlophone paper sleeve. Luckily, after queuing at Crusin Records in Welling from just before 9am, I managed to get one. Considering only 2,000 of the singles were released worldwide, with 500 made available in the UK, the store was fortunate to have obtained two copies. They didn’t take too long to shift; I took the first and the customer behind me took the second!
Having caught the bug, I travelled up to Rough Trade East on Brick Lane to experience RSD in one of the UK’s most well-known record shops, knowing that Keane were billed to make an in-store appearance later in the day. I have to say that considering the hype, Rough Trade fell short of expectations as a record shop; items were surprisingly hard to find, being categorised by the nationality of the artists. Perhaps that’s the way they do it, but it seemed unnecessarily complicated.
Keane, on the other hand, didn’t disappoint. Despite on the day only consisting of singer Tom Chaplin and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, the soft-rockers from Sussex gave a faultless performance of numerous hits and a couple of new songs from the upcoming album ‘Strangeland’. Chaplin really does have a great voice, and Rice-Oxley’s piano playing explains how successful they’ve been in the absence of guitars.