The Rapidian

Massive crowds flood Vertigo Music for Record Store Day celebrations

Despite the dwindling numbers of record stores across the US, in Grand Rapids Vertigo Music is still a cultural force to be reckoned with.
Underwriting support from:

Artists featured at Vertigo's Record Store Day:

City Center
Cabildo
Pistolbrides
Corrosive Kids
Shores
Weird Signals
Drunken Barn Dance
DJ Snax

DJ Crooked Leg Craig
DJ Spyder Murphy

Vertigo Music - Record Store Day

Vertigo Music - Record Store Day /A.T. Kolkman

DJ Snax

DJ Snax /A.T. Kolkman

Cabildo

Cabildo /A.T. Kolkmsn

Last Saturday, the aisles of Vertigo Music flooded with enthusiasm as hordes of music lovers arrived to celebrate Record Store Day. Judging by the seemingly endless checkout line, which serpentined around several long rows of albums, the day’s sales could have put Vertigo in the black for the rest of the year. But, observing the crowd, it was apparent that the Record Store Day celebrations were about more than just commerce. There was a dynamic interactivity taking place on the store floor, one that transcended age, lifestyle and the trappings of musical taste. Young punks, straight lacers, and middle aged hippies rubbed shoulders and conversed as they slowly filed through endless rows of records together. Musicians wove in and out of the dense crowd with amplifiers, while photojournalists and cameramen buzzed about looking for the perfect shot. The room reverberated with constant shouts between old friends and acquaintances. Vertigo had transformed into one of the most vibrantly interactive community spaces I have seen in a long, long time.

I was happy to see that the lineup of bands was similarly inclusive. The bill ran a full gamut of musical aesthetics and genres, from the frenetic, howling weirdness of Corrosive Kids, to the chill, folkish vocals of Weird Signals, to the vibrant and energetic Latin harmonizations of Cabildo. In between sets, DJs kept the vinyl flipping with Motown, Classic Rock, Hip Hop, contemporary Electronica and everything in between.

Whatever their tastes, I hope customers appreciate that Vertigo has obviously strived to rise above the cultural tunnel vision that all too often dominates other venues. Judging from the buzzing crowds and enthusiastically supportive audience at the Record Store Day event, I would say they just might get it. It’s reassuring that there are still some places like Vertigo that trust their patrons’ capability of appreciating music outside of tightly compartmentalized musical tastes. More important than addressing today’s post-genre proclivities, however, is that Vertigo continues to provide Grand Rapids with a space that brings people together who would normally be divided by age, class, brand identity, and everything else that atomizes modern culture. I’d say that is the real story, the real motivating factor behind the commercial phenomena of Record Store Day. 

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