As the snow piled down onto the streets of Denver this weekend, the majority of the population cozied up tightly in their homes. After all, who wants to go out when you can binge watch the new Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? With the temperatures dropping by the second and I-70w closed, there was little fun to be had in the Mile High City. That is of course, unless one was to be one of the thousands of people across the city braving the frigid temperatures in the name of celebrating the ninth annual Record Store Day.
Dreamt up in 2007, Record Store Day started as a way to encourage consumers to break the monotony of commercial music hounding and make an effort to support their local record store. With 1400 participating locations, this comes as an easy feat, especially to those in the Denver area. With three very strong and solid record stores within blocks of each other, Angelo’s, Twist and Shout and Wax Trax, there is bound to be something for everyone hiding deep in one of those crates.
Record Store Day 2016 started out a bit gloomy and mysterious. With the weather so awful, would Denverites make their way into the shops? Would the rare releases and discount pricing be enough to overpower the cozy-couch aesthetic outside?
For plenty of folks yes, according to Mike, an employee at Angelo’s CDs and More off of Colfax. One of four locations, Angelo’s is easily Denver’s largest independent music chain. “We still had about 30 people out the door waiting for us to open this morning,” he said of the eager customers.
Typically, people wait in line to enter due to limited amounts of rare releases. Given that the idea is to get people out and supporting local records stores, one would need to ensure obtaining that special box set or picture disc by simply being in the store first. “We sold out of a lot of things right away,” Mike said, adding that his favorite pick of the holiday would be “The Grateful Dead Capitol Theatre, Passaic NJ 4/25/77.”
Just down the street from Angelo’s is probably the most well known record store in Denver, Twist and Shout, due to its towering sign and large interior, which is unique for record stores these days.
Twist and Shout embraces the holiday as its own by spurting out several weeks worth of promotional material regarding the releases and special prices. Having taken part in every single Record Store Day since its fruition, the owner of Twist and Shout, Paul Epstein, has more than a few memories of the annual celebration. “People get excited,” Epstein says in regard to what his favorite part of the holiday is. “They turn back to a child-like excitement. It’s a good-feelings day.”
On whether or not the weather had impeded noticeably on expected sales, Epstein did not seem to be worried. “The weather put a damper on things but not as much as anticipated. Things are neck and neck with last year, and last year was our biggest year yet.” When asked of his favorite release to come out this year, Epstein swiftly replied “Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball.”
Continuing on through the streets of downtown Denver looking for Record Store fun, the next plausible stop in anyone’s path would be the mighty Wax Trax on 13th.
A store so renowned, it is a two-parter- and the vinyl lives two doors down from the main entrance in a small room lined with crates. Also boasting a wall of RSD magic, the packed house was the culprit behind many excited faces. A set of bundled up patrons huddled together in front of a box of rock, thumbing through with hope.
“We came to Wax Trax because we figured it would be calmer than some of the other places in town.” They replied when asked of their business of choice that day. “I haven’t been out for a Record Store Day in years, but I am excited for the new Sun RA, Spaceways.”
If you missed out on Record Store Day this year due to the weather or anything else, wipe the sweat off your brow. There is still the annual Black Friday version, as well as the holiday itself again every April. With turnouts like the one Denver sees, the collector’s holiday should stick around for quite some time. In the meantime, visit Angelo’s, Twist and Shout and Wax Trax to make every day Record Store Day.