Record Store Day: Rough Trade East Review

Posted on 17 April 2011
By Martin Higgins
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Stepping into Rough Trade from the melee that is Brick Lane on a Saturday represents something of a journey through time; like jumping into the phone booth with Bill and Ted, riding the wormhole into another dimension where music is the language, and the graffiti’d walls of RT its religion.

An excellent adventure of epic proportions was to be had for Record Store Day.

The queue outside was impressive from the kick off, with fans turning out as early as 7am for the chance to get their hands on some limited edition vinyl and listen to the sweet sounds of Wild Beasts and Soundtrack of Our Lives.

A stretch of music lovers snaked out far beyond 1001 and The Big Chill, disappearing somewhere beyond the scrawny eyes reach.

Inside, we walked by some rockabilly town boy who was investing in an Iron and Wine EP, while Holy Ghost sat proud and untouched on the new releases stand with that famous DFA style.

Alex Kapranos was in situ and strutted round like king of the kids, parading in his denim throwback, as boys with cement hard quiffs bent down in supplication to their champion.

Wild Beasts walked onto the Rough Trade stage first and the attention suddenly swung their way.

The lads from Kendal, in the Lake District dazzled with a stripped down set, a low-fi menagerie of merry making and pop soul, surrounding the decadent tenor of Tom Fleming. It was a genuine beast.

All The King’s Men was the juiciest morsel of theirs and was unleashed to the East London prima donnas who were swooning by this stage.

Soundtrack of Our Lives ripped on not long after, suitably bearded and wearing something that looked like Warlock maternity wear, he chimed in with his best offerings at the sacrifical altar.

It was an acoustic wonderland: arty, lyrical, strange, beardo; everything East London personifies.

There is a rebellious edge to this setting, with bands like Japandroids, The Go! Team, Neon Neon, scrawling their names on the huge white stanchion holding up the floor above.

The walls are a patchwork of band names, drawings and insignia, a forum for artists to write what they want and say what they want. The divine scripture of the underground.

Franz Ferdinand had taken up a less prominent position for the good of everyone, tagging themselves in thick permanent marker on a small square of the augmented ceiling in the hidden underbelly of the store.

With all these bands on show like tattoos, the walls are rich with history. Some of the most pioneering and well known artists around have marked their territory.

It reads like a who’s who of the last 10 years in the musical landscape and it makes a starry eye’d scouser dream; oh to be a fly on the wall in Rough Trade…

Pictures by Jason Williamson. Check out some more of his work at