Record Store Day 2017 – 8 record stores, one Science March and a lot of Prince

12 year old: Is Record Store Day a competitive sport?
Me: Yes
12 yo: Does anyone else know?
Me: Nope, that’s how I win

Aine (12 year old) and I have been going to Record Store Day for four or five years. No matter the weather or whatever else is going on – we go. Yesterday was no exception but we went into it knowing we would not beat last year’s record of 11 stores in six hours. This year we had two other events – the Science  March and the first anniversary of Prince’s death – a sad and momentous occurrence.

So this is how our day went…

Because we were driving through downtown Minneapolis, we stopped and took a picture of Prince’s star at First Avenue. There was a gaggle of tourists in matching t-shirts posing when we got there. I thought they could have spent hours – but it was fun to watch them be so excited. (Also they let us sneak in our 30 second shot.) They had obviously come to Minnesota (maybe from Georgia) for the weekend for Prince. They were hitting all of the haunts. Reminded me to appreciate all that we have in Minneapolis and what a draw and influence Prince remains.

Our first official stop was Hifi Hair and Records. It was a quick visit but I went back later with a grownup friend to say hello and watch Paul Metsa play. I haven’t seen Paul play in 20 years. He still sounded great. It did feel strange to see him outside the West Bank (of the U of M campus).

We did a couple of drive-bys with Treehouse Records and Fifth Element. Treehouse is always a fun, old school used record shop. Fifth Element features a lot of hip hop and rap music. I am always astounded at how friendly the staff is – especially on what has to be one of their busiest days.

We hovered at Electric Fetus long enough to get a free Glam Doll Donut – purple for the day that was in it. And tasty! It was as packed as I have seen it. Busier than the in-store performance of Polica a few years back. Folks were buying. Somehow I got away with not buying a dress this year. I’ll probably be back soon though.

Next stop, we crossed the river back to St Paul to check out Eclipse. You know how records are organized by genre – then by alphabet by band name? Aine could not get over the fact that there was no “Q” section. She’s a huge Queen fan. Eclipse had two other things going for it – proximity to Candyland and the Science March.

In fact we had to scoot right out of Eclipse to hoof it up to the Capitol for the Science March. Rumor has it there were 10,000 marchers. There was a heavy youth focus – both in that there were a lot of young people there and speaking but also the signs people held urged people to remember science to help create a better future for you – really to ensure a future for youth.

After some inspiration science talk and feeling buoyed by the support for science and worried by the need to support science – we were back on the record store road. We went to Flashlight Vinyl in NE Minneapolis. I’d never been there. They were set up for fun festivities – and more free mini-donuts. They had a find the Doc Marten contest – where someone would win a pair of Doc Martens. I was tempted – very tempted – but also pressed for time.

So we trekked off to Hymie’s – where Record Store Day is a street festival. You can always pick up a free record, chalk up some sidewalk or grab a quick bite next door. I got a chance to see The Blind Shake, one of my favorite punk bands. They did not disappoint and I got a much needed opportunity to do a little dancing.

There was a shift of gears to check out Americana, country leaning of Miss Becky at Barely Brothers. She sounded great. We were able to sit in the sunshine and listen for a while. Best use of great weather and record store day.

The final record store for us was Dead Media. (And at some point “us” shifting to a grownup friend while Aine retreated back home, which opened the door to more punk than she’d like. We caught Kitten Forever. The tiny place was steamy hot and cheek to jowl – but worth it and a good shot of energy before gearing up for the shift to night time focus on Prince.

I like Prince. I saw a few shows. Prince was one of the most amazing performers I’ve ever seen live. His steaminess alone on stage leaves Dead Media in the dust. But I didn’t know Prince and I don’t have any Prince stories. But I have friends who knew him well. So I’m happy to celebrate Prince and his music to support his memory to support friends and because he was one of the greatest boosters of Minneapolis that Minneapolis will ever know!

We started the Saturday Prince festivities at First Avenue’s street party. It was nothing like the impromptu showing of love and mourning of last year – but it was well done and a chance for lots of people to remember Prince together. Local musicians (and dancers) played Prince songs – led and organized by Michael Bland. I saw Mark Mallman, Kerry Alexander from the Bad Bad Hats, Adam Levy and Jack Brass Band sing, accompanied by and Jeremy Ylvisaker, Ricky Kinchen and Bland. (I may not have gotten everyone.)

The event was free – but ticketed. There was a fence to keep people out. I have to think that was to allow First Ave to sell drinks and maybe for some insurance. It was easy enough to feel a part of the scene from outside the fence. Hard to keep in the music.

Next we made a quick stop into Bunker’s to see Jesse Johnson from The Time. So he can play guitar and look good doing it. You could see the influence of Prince or maybe on Prince. He’s fancy and good and has a that brighter look about him that stars have. We had to leave after just a few songs.

Our grand finale was the family party at the Metropolitan. It was great to hear musicians such as G Sharp, Andre Cymone and Apollonia play the songs as they were intended to be played – albeit without the main attraction. It was touching to hear the stories.

Through the generosity of a family friend, it was very fun to have VIP tickets, which meant no long lines on the way in and a fantastic view of the stage all night long.

But more than anything it was the best people watching ever! People had come from all over the world. Some folks were dressed to the nines! Lots of men in hats. Women in one-legged leotards, leather jumpsuits, lace and feathers and anything in between. People dancing. And minimal grousing about the bar closing at 1 am (for a party that started at midnight).

Also a treat – free breakfast starting about 3:30 am. It was surreal to walk into the full café next door to the Metropolitan and have it be full of fancy people at that hour. There was a little bit of a feeling like we’d all been through the high school lock-in together. Although maybe older and less able to stay up all night – or sadly sleep the whole next day!

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