By Betsy Lopez-Wagner
Special to The Rock River Times
Rare musical finds and special releases are the ultimate prize for independent record store fans who wait outside record stores, sometimes for hours, on Record Store Day.
At Culture Shock Clothing & Records, the internationally celebrated April day begins in the early morning hours and goes past dusk to arm customers, new and old, with music.
Store owners Lauren Davis and Skyler Davis opened Culture Shock in May 2006, armed with an undeniable attraction to music, clothing and selling local products and gifts. In 2010, they became affiliated with the global phenomenon known as Record Store Day, and just last fall, Culture Shock opened in a new location, 2239 Charles St., across the street from its original stomping grounds.
April 19, Culture Shock shoppers can expect to see a beefed-up inventory with rare and used titles, and new limited releases. In addition, the entire store will be turned into a record store for one day only, which owners say will offer more options for music seekers. The day, which pays tribute to local shop owners who inspire music lovers to indulge in a day of record appreciation, has some customers in anticipation.
“This is a place where there are great owners who go beyond,” said Harvard resident Josh Longhi, 31. “They want to get to know people and have them fall in love with records.”
Longhi doesn’t mind the 35-mile drive from his home to participate in the event at Culture Shock — in fact, he welcomes the trip and invites others to accompany him. Rummaging through albums and bringing a few home is one of his favorite ways to spend his down time. Last year, he picked up The White Stripes’ reissue of Elephant, a 10th anniversary edition LP released for Record Store Day 2013.
“I am more than happy to go alone or go with friends because Skyler really makes you feel like a friend. He will introduce you to music that you end up loving,” he said.
Skyler and Lauren Davis admit that it is rewarding to make connections with each of their customers, especially on Record Store Day.
“It’s about getting them to a record store, checking out records and the vibes inside the store,” said Skyler Davis.
Record retailers make requests for albums and releases unavailable to big-box stores and chains in advance. Culture Shock’s patrons come from near and far to participate in the event, which has drawn music lovers from nearby cities and areas such as Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa, to pick up fun finds. This year’s big releases include The Animals’ EP, Devo/The Flaming Lips Side By Side series and more. For a full list, visit www.recordstoreday.com.
“It gives you that Christmas rush, sometimes you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack,” said Davis. “The way it works is that records are limited, but we can’t hold them for people — it’s first come, first served. People will help each other find a record.”
Rockford resident Nicky Phillips, 20, can still recall her initial fascination with the shop. She had driven by countless times and had finally talked her mother into stopping to take a look around. Soon after, she found herself asking for a record player. Three years later, Phillips finds ways to fuel her music addiction, and special deals at the record shop are part of her solution.
“There’s anticipation as you’re waiting outside on Record Store Day,” she said. “It’s a pretty cool event; it gets the life back into record stores, and Culture Shock has a little bit of something for everyone.”
Culture Shock is in the Charles Street corridor at 2239 Charles St., Rockford. Record Store Day hours April 19 are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Culture Shock sponsored DJs will be spinning records from 8 a.m. to noon. From noon to 6 p.m., the Rockford Hip Hop Congress will have DJs and live rap and hip hop acts. Don’t miss: Featured musical acts include D’Mario and Super Super after 6:30 p.m.
From the April 16-22, 2014, issue