Record Store Day 2014 – Little 5 Points Style

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Somewhere in the planning process for the Wishbone Ash concert, I realized that Saturday was Record Store Day (RSD).  This “Day” is a very well intended effort to support independent music stores by artists who offer content that is released especially for RSD, usually music unavailable anywhere else and in very limited pressings. 

In the spirit of yesteryear, when record collecting was a passion, we detoured to a bar that harkens from another age.  Well, sure.  That’s a stretch.  There is no real reason other than we wanted to make a stop at Manuel’s Tavern, which we’ve passed by on many a trip to Variety Playhouse.  Since 1956!  That’s gotta be pretty neat, right?


The Tavern has a political history, is a gathering spot for many walks of life, and, I’m sure, has many other virtues.  More importantly, it was untried and on the way.  So, if you sit at the bar, here’s the altar before you. 


I give them points for the Atlanta Thrashers pennant, though how it got so smoky is a mystery.   They have a pretty good craft beer selection and as the picture indicates an obviously well stocked bar. 

The John F. Kennedy portrait stands out, doesn’t it?  If Manuel’s tends towards politics, it leans left.  I admired JFK when I was a kid, mostly because my dad liked him and I read the PT109 story.   He’s obviously revered here.

Still, I wonder how much Kennedy reflects the Democrat Party today.  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  I don’t think he was talking about tax increases and a massive welfare state.  If I had engaged with some regulars, maybe I’d find that he would.

I was just in for a beer and to appreciate the history.

I have to wonder how left leaning women feel about the few nudes around, such as the one just right of the Clydesdales.  I’d imagine that, though obviously Kennedy appreciated this sort of thing in his day, that the National Organization of Women and related constituents might take exception to that.  On the other hand, Clinton hardly suffered for his foibles, so we move on.  It’s history.


Pabst...  This is a brand that should be history as well, yet it actually thrives.  You can drink a lot of it without getting drunk, and tallboy cans can usually be had in bars for $2 – $3.  It’s a working man’s bargain, so I guess it makes sense that they keep this on the walls.  They might change their slogan to “Quantity always comes through,” as we’ve arrived at The Age of Craft Beers and all.

Still, as we were quickly passing through, Manuel’s was filling, an obvious favorite of many, given its abundant size and parking.


Right, Record Store Day.  So, we arrived at Criminal Records, which is increasingly true to its name.  Records.  As in, vinyl.  CD’s are on their way out in independent record stores as the current generation gives a nod to “it sounds better on vinyl.”   I’m sure there are Masters theses on the subject, but I disagree. 


My vinyl days are over.  They’re a pain to clean, they play for 20 minutes and then you have to flip them, they’re prone to wear over time, they take up more space, and they don’t play in the car.  Also, my turntable broke years ago.  Bah humbug.

If you checked out the offerings on the link back up top, ahem, you would find that 99% of the bands released their RSD specials on vinyl.  I’d be happy to support RSD, but why exclude the larger percentage of potential music buyers?  CDs support record stores just as well as albums.  Just skip the downloading sites!


Furthering my frustration is what was being offered under the “tent sale.”  A bunch of crappy CDs they’re trying to unload for a buck.  Not organized and not worth the time.  But, people were buying vinyl inside, and that’s a good thing.  So, RSD was a bust, then, right?


Another brief detour.

Little 5 Points is Atlanta’s bohemian village.  Tattoo parlors, recycled clothing, ample bars, shops with ample fragrance, colorful characters standing around... that kind of thing.   So, you take that and mix it with live music:


... and interesting things can happen.

Criminal Records in the past has had in-store performances during RSD.  But not this day.  Perhaps because of all the vinyl, perhaps because of past overcrowding, perhaps realizing that a forecasted dreary misty day is the perfect day for outdoor music... well, no.  But that was the deal.  And at least some people were around despite the weather.

Got art?


Got groovy biceps or a bouncy belly to accentuate your dance moves?


Like to dance with a stick?


Fun to watch.  Little 5 is like that.

Oh, and besides that, Spirits and the Melchizedek Children (or “The Spirits” as they called themselves this day) were actually really good.  Two other bands were known to me as well, and my concert buddy and I are thinking Little 5 on RSD in 2015 might be a pretty cool place to hang out.


Contributing to the prospects of a 2015 event is the formidable Porter Beer Bar.


And they let you drink just outside the door where you can hear the music.  That could be a good Record Store Day, indeed.

(that said, CDs, please)

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