Review: Record Store Day & Waxwerks
Cynics (albeit the ignorant ones) might be forgiven for thinking ‘Record Store Day’ was just another corporate-led, pseudo-Valentines attempt to exploit our back pockets. In fact, since its inception in 2007, this US-founded phenomenon has been the hallmark of a recent international resurgence in vinyl sales. Saturday 21st April marked the UK’s fifth anniversary of RSD, celebrating in style with a wild and very impressive 50% increase on sales from last year. In Leeds, Crash and Jumbo proved, unsurprisingly, to be the city’s most popular spots, pushing, for the most part, all things guitar-centric. Rock music, however, was not what I was after.
Ever since the closure of the Basement at Crash in early 2009, which was, for over fifteen years, one of the North’s top specialist stores, Leeds has been crying out for a brand new electronic outlet. Since then, only dubstep and drum’n’bass purveyors Tribe were known to stock the odd, flavourless tech-house release, a travesty in a city with as vibrant and dynamic a scene as this one - a gap in the market had well and truly opened up. Finally, less than a month ago, Iain ‘Frenchy’ French and Tristan da Cunha extended their popular ‘Throwing Shapes’ franchise, alongside associate Steve Hawkins, and gave the people what they needed: namely, Waxwerks. Making up part of their new collaborative clubbing venture ‘The Garage’, Waxwerks masquerades as a record shop by day and a nightclub, well, by night. As a result, you can enjoy their modest but brilliant selection of records with a crisp bottle of beer in hand. That’s not all. Ask nicely and they’ll be happy to play your potential purchases over the room’s weighty sound system – that is, if one of the in-store DJs hasn’t already. The vibe inside is warm and inviting, with none of the intimidating pressure often first felt at specialist stores. Each vinyl is adorned with a sentence or two from the owners detailing just what it is about that particular record that works for them, adding that small but engaging, personal touch to your experience. More than anything however, and I’m speaking primarily to house and disco fans here, Tristan and Frenchy know their shit. I mean they really know their shit. Years of cumulative experience spent partying and djing on the local scene has afforded them not only a fantastic taste in music, but the knowledge and understanding to go with it. As a result, I doubt there’s a bad record in Waxwerks. I left on Saturday with four top-notch releases (see right) and with a feeling of deep satisfaction at having coincided my first visit to Waxwerks with Record Store Day. If you haven’t made it down there yet, my only advice is that you don’t wait until next year to do so.
words: Carlos Hawthorn
9 East Parade
Tel: 0 7817228073