Like Rob Flemmng's Championship Vinyl in the book High Fidelity, it was "mostly young men." But for those waiting in line for the doors to Wax Trax to open this morning -- beginning the running of the bulls that is Record Store Day -- it was not deleted Smiths singles and Frank Zappa albums that the folks were after. Today it was Phish. "I want my Junta!" shouted Ken Smith while holding his well deserved place at the front of the line. "I came down here at 3 a.m. and got my place before anyone else. I'm going to get that Junta record."
When the next ten people in line were asked what they were after, they all confirmed that they were after the same thing Smith was after, the previously unreleased Phish debut album on 3LP vinyl, released exclusively for Record Store Day with only 5,000 copies in print. When the doors opened at 9 a.m. (an hour earlier than usual), the coveted album sold out in minutes, even before the line around the corner had a chance to make it into the store. Thankfully, Ken Smith walked home with the 1989 rarity in his hands.
"The biggest item [other than Junta] was the Flaming Lips double album," said Dave Wilkins, manager at Wax Trax speaking about The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. "We blew away all ten of those in about fifteen minutes. We did well on just about everything. Some Beach House and Captain Beefheart singles did well, and Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power double LP."
One hour later, it was time for Twist & Shout to open. Only a few miles down the road, the line for Twist & Shout coiled like the snake of capitalism that it was almost all the way around the entire building. "What's going on here? I just came to buy a CD?" asked one middle-aged man outside the store -- when the holiday was explained to him, he just said, "Forget it. I'll come back tomorrow."
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Like Ken Smith at Wax Trax, Tim Dobert had also been waiting since 3 a.m. for the infamous Junta triple LP. Though while Smith had only walked down from Sanchos, Dobert had made a bit further of a jaunt. "I drove down from Crested Butte last night and checked into a hotel," he said while waiting at the front of the impressively long line. "But there were some kids partying in the next room, so I came down here around three." He was joined by some other Phish devotees around 3:30 a.m., some of whom kept the party rolling with a cooler of beer. One unfortunate girl at the front of the line asked a neighbor to hold her place while she went to the bathroom -- when she returned the line had already begun slithering into the store and she lost her place.
Page down for more coverage from Twist & Shout.
Once the mammoth line made its way into Twist & Shout, it ultimately broke up into several smaller, yet very congested, mini-lines. There were lines to get into the vinyl section of the store, lines to get to the records, lines to get to the specialty items behind the counter, and one king-hell bastard of a line to checkout. Like the front section of a sold-out concert, the first hour of Record Store Day was only for the most vehemently committed. The big-ticket items at Twist & Shout were: Coldplay's 7-inch Up With The Birds/U.F.O., The White Stripes Handsprings/ Red Death, Ryan Adams 7-inch Heartbreak a Stranger/ Black Sheets of Rain and the Gorillaz 10-inch Do Ya Thang.
Though while the manic energy of Wax Trax and Twist & Shout's first hour of Record Store Day may be reserved for only the most obsessive record collectors, the event chills out as the day progresses. Wax Trax will have an afternoon and evening of live music entertainment, while Twist & Shout will have free beer and DJs from 3 to 5. Though if you don't live in the area, don't fret, there are plenty of participating Record Store Day independent record stores throughout Denver having holiday celebrations of their own.
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