Counter culture

Record Store Day at Newbury Comics
By LUKE O’NEIL  |  April 23, 2008
Hooray for Earth

Like an e-mail from a long-lost ex, Record Store Day was designed to remind shoppers around the world that record stores still exist. But to judge by the crowd for the festivities at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square, it may not have been necessary. People are actually still buying records at stores. No joke.

“I come here all the time to get records,” said one 20-year-old customer. She was browsing on the outskirts of a paparazzi scrum surrounding local art scamps the Dresden Dolls. Throngs of creatively dyed and bespectacled kids took turns mugging with a curiously lingerie-clad Amanda Palmer. Drummer Brian Viglione pressed the flesh while his playlist of Ministry and Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS, yo) kept domes ringing. With units moving like this, it’s too bad the band can’t hang out every day. “In some way, shape or form, the drive to go pick up an actual piece of music will always be around,” offered Viglione.

Across town, a post-Hooray-for-Earth-performance lull settled over the celebration at the chain’s Newbury Street location along with the proverbial dust kicked up by the band’s amplifiers. Punk tots on Razor scooters, sunburned townies, and co-eds swooshing around in freshly busted-out sundresses, bones still buzzing, snaked through the aisles. Bass player Chris Principe soaked it all in. “I do both: go to the store and download.” (That’s a huge relief, because I’ve been meaning to steal his band’s record on-line for a while now.) Nearby, two high-fiving bro-man dudes fired up their fist-pump turbines for an impending set from recent Rumble also-rans Clouds.

Back in Harvard, a shift change found kids punching out to make way for a gang of dad-rockers who browsed the CDs with the type of casual deliberateness it takes decades of record shopping to master. The crowd, and many of the hairlines, had thinned, the schwag table was decimated, and the balloons were deflated. But when Dennis Brennan and his band kicked into a sick roots-rock groove, it was enough to remind us why they built places like this in the first place.

Related: All dolled up, Fallout joys, Gallery: Rock 'n' Roll Parents 2, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Chris Principe, Dennis Brennan, Luke O'neil,  More more >
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