Special releases, live performances and crowds at record stores could only mean one thing: Record Store Day.
A celebration to support record stores across the country, this industry holiday has become a must-attend for vinyl junkies. In the Boulder/Denver area, one local band decided to make this record store day special, by playing at six different stores in just seven hours.
The Yawpers, a trio made up of Nate Cook, Jesse Parmet and James Hale, were originally going for the world record of most record stores ever played in a day, but couldn’t afford the proctor. Even though they had “failed before we even started,” as Cook put it, the band decided to stick to the insane schedule in support of this unique holiday.
The Yawpers perform outside of Absolute Vinyl on Saturday, Record Store Day. (CU Independent/Isa Jones)
“It’s a day for musicians to give back to these places that give us so much support,” Cook said.
He said that record stores play a big role in keeping local bands like them alive.
“They [record stores] are your biggest supporters as musicians and their patrons are big supporters too,” he said. “There’s a direct correlation between how strong a music scene is and the number of record stores in that area.”
While vinyl lovers wandered around from store to store browsing racks, The Yawpers set off on a marathon of shows. This writer got to tag along for the first half of this mini-tour to experience what Record Store Day was like for a hard-working local band.
“I broke my toe last night,” was the first thing out of Nate Cook’s mouth when the CUI met up with him on Saturday. A broken toe would be just one of many obstacles to overcome that day, including a tight schedule, a brand new drummer and the whole six shows in two cities.
Bart’s Music Shack is a tiny store hidden far up West Pearl. Though still early, there was already a sparse crowd hanging both in and around the store. The Yawpers went to the back of the parking lot, and after a fast set up and soundcheck –– something they would become pro’s at that day –– it was show time.
Shoppers browse through records at Albums on the Hill on Record Store Day. (CU Independent/Isa Jones)
The trio has an alt-rock, stripped down sound, with just a drum-kit and two acoustic six string guitars. Singer Cook has a dynamic and howling voice, and it’s his impressive vocals and Parmet’s talented guitar playing that make this band stand out from many other local acts. Texas born and raised, Cook writes songs to match those origins, with clever lyrics and guitar riffs that are both nostalgic and rowdy.
The crowd at Bart’s was only a dozen or so, but they were enthusiastic. While their songs are slightly repetitive musically, the energy of the Yawpers is impressive and you can’t help but want to stomp your feet or clap as they play.
After Bart’s it was off to Absolute Vinyl, and while Bart’s felt low-key, Absolute was a real celebration. The store was packed and there was a large stage set up outside. Twice while we were there, students from a nearby martial arts studio did a kung-fu demonstration in the parking lot.
Vanessa Rydquist, who was at Absolute, said she and her husband had already gone to three other stores that morning.
“We come out every year,” Rydquist said. “It’s fun to support the stores. We had a whole list this morning [of records to buy] and got about half so far.”
It was at Absolute Vinyl that the tightness of the schedule started to kick in. At 1:45 p.m. the trio stood and watched another band casually break down their equipment, knowing they still had to set-up, play, break-down and be at Albums on the Hill by 2:40 p.m. to do it all again.
Despite the time crunch, the band put on another great set, this time with the encouragement of a larger crowd. It was obvious that the band wanted to play longer, even though they were cutting it far too close.
The third show was held upstairs at Albums on The Hill, and while it had the smallest crowd so far, it didn’t stop The Yawpers from giving it their all. They even challenged themselves by playing a new song.
A crowd watches The Yawpers outside of Absolute Vinyl on Saturday. (CU Independent/Isa Jones)
But, at the halfway point, the fatigue started to show. All three members look sweaty and exhausted and Cook was struggling to keep his powerful voice going, with the added obstacle of not having a mic. He even joked with the crowd that it was “going to be a fun day, if I don’t have a heart attack first.” While the band’s talent came through, the set was overall a bit sloppier than earlier that day.
The show ended with The Yawpers accompanying a brief poetry reading, and then it was on the road to Denver.
At the end of the day, Cook caught his breath and said, “It’s starting to catch up with me. We’re halfway done.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Isa Jones at Alexandra.email@example.com.
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