Most Saturday mornings, you will find me and my other half in the market town of Mold. No visit is complete without a trip to what is reputedly the smallest record shop in the UK, VOD (aka Vinyl On Deck) run by music fanatic Colin (www.vodmusic.co.uk). Whilst my husband kneels reverently in front of a box of the latest black vinyl offerings, I often find myself chatting to Colin, and a few weeks ago, the topic of photography came up. I was positively chuffed when Colin asked whether I’d like to cover the next record fair he was organising, which it just so happened, was to be held on Record Store Day, known colloquially as RSD by those in the know! RSD celebrates independent record stores in the UK (and across the pond in the USA where it all started) and all things music, and usually involves new limited edition record releases and lots of queuing…more of that later. As part of this year’s celebration, live bands and DJs were also going to be playing as well. Well of course I said yes!
So by 8.00am on Saturday morning, I found myself and my camera bag at the Daniel Owen Centre, helping to set up hubby’s stall in anticipation of the day ahead. I busied myself with a few shots of the goings on before I wandered down to the shop.
Checking my watch as I reached the shop it showed it was just 8.15 a.m. so I was pretty amazed to see a line of at least 35 people, mostly guys, chatting amongst themselves and patiently queuing outside (one even had the forethought to bring his chair).
After another check-in at the fair, where the stalls were rapidly taking shape, I returned to the hub of RSD activity, the shop. Now 8.45 a.m. a young musician by the name of Luke Gallagher was keeping the ever-growing crowd entertained with covers of well-known songs as well as some of his own work. An enterprising guy from a local café a few doors down was handing out hot drinks to a line which now stretched to 70 or more customers eagerly waiting for the door to swing open which it did at 9.00 a.m. sharp. The avid music fans dutifully filed into the shop, made their purchases and filed back out again to let the next few in (I told you it was tiny!).
It later transpired that the man at the front of the queue had been there since 5.00 a.m. – Obsession? Compulsion? Devotion? Call it what you want, but Raphael, you deserved to be the first through the door, and I know from speaking with you later you got what you came for!
Back at the fair, there was lots of renewed activity, which could only mean one thing…the musicians were arriving – I can’t believe how much kit these guys have to carry with them – thank goodness photography is not like that!
Whilst they were setting up, I took a quick look in the Art Room, where a number of local artists were exhibiting and hoping to sell their work. I particularly liked some of John Pimlott’s stuff – he exhibits with the Saatchi Online gallery – although I’m not sure where we’d hang it if I’d bought any! There was also an interesting spin on art (pardon the pun) from another artist, Jilly – who created pieces using old records – they certainly caught the eye.
And then, the music started…DJs Ross Roberts of ROPE and Jim Hughes of Spaceships over Deeside kicked it all off with an eclectic mix of music…these guys were the entertainment between the four groups which played during the next few hours.
Then Keith Astbury and his pal Alex took to the floor and rocked the room for a 20 minute set…
It was approaching 12.30 p.m. when I received a call I’d been waiting for, I was thrilled that fellow ‘tog’ Gill McGowan had arrived to take some photographs too. So it was back up the stairs to see the next group ‘The Uninvited’ who took their place and belted out a number of great tracks – they must have been OK as the room filled up with music fans or all shapes and sizes.
After these we experienced the music of ‘The Fag Machine’ who had the most intense performer in Phil their lead singer – it later transpired that these boys had released a record for RSD and so their day and their performance was a just a little bit special!
To close the live music event, the guys who make up ‘The Revolutionary Spirit’ a three guitar combo with drums whose FB page says they play ‘Shimmering musical textures, crafted with a constant flow of change and motion’ took to the floor.
Photographically, the day was a challenge – the room where the bands played was pretty uninspiring – four brick walls if you please and the lighting was variable throughout the session…there were times when I found myself shooting at F2.8 ISO 6400 – but I’m pretty pleased with the images I’ve shared in this blog.
I even managed to squeeze off a few frames of candid photography – record collectors are so intent on looking for that special find they mostly didn’t notice me and my 70-200mm lens (which is the big one!)
This event has reignited my desire to watch more live music, something I used to do regularly. It’s also fair to say that the audience was left in no doubt as to the wealth of musical talent which currently exists on the North Wales music scene. Don’t take my word for it, go and find them on Facebook or Twitter – they’re all there and judge for yourselves!
Until next time…