On Tuesday I ventured the hip streets of Waterloo before checking out Those Darlins at the Beachland Tavern. Any time I ever see a show at the Beachland I make sure I stop at two of my favorite shops in Cleveland. Both shops are independently owned music stores by awesome folk.
First up is Blue Arrow Records.
Every time I go in this store I page through the bins of vinyl hoping to score something good to take home and throw a needle on. I have found some great finds there including some old Rollins Band records as well as a Propellerheads vinyl. I love the randomness that I can find there and the constant music playing on the speakers is enjoyable as well.
Focusing on mostly rock the store offers all sorts of genres of wax. Store owner Pete Gulyas not only knows his stuff but loves to share it with others. The guy also has one hell of a personal Clash collection on display at his store right now.
Blue Arrow Records is one of those stores for any seasoned music fan as well as novice collector to go crazy about. Recently Pete told me that he is going to be the east side distributor of Derek Hess prints. The store got even cooler once he told me that.
About a block down the street is the other shop I always make sure I stop in at when in the area. The store is Music Saves and recently the store celebrated their 5 year Store-A-Versary. More on that in a bit.
Music Saves is the other mecca of a music store on Waterloo I try and frequent a lot. The store is full of new and used vinyl as well as carries CDs most of which are indie bands but there is also punk, hip hop, and rock too. If you can’t find what you are looking for, the good folk at Music Saves will even attempt to special order you something. The owners are pretty damn cool too and so is their black cat appropriately named Vinyl Kitty.
While visiting on Tuesday I was informed that Music Saves was celebrating their 5 year Store-A-Versary on Thursday at the Grog Shop featuring some great music and guaranteed good times. I was invited to stop by and hang out so I made plans to do so. Sadly I knew Vinyl Kitty was not going to be there but I still planned on attending.
On Thursday before I headed to Coventry I made a stop with my friend to stop at the St. Greg’s carnival in S. Euclid as a handful of old friends were hanging out there and grabbing a bite to eat. There is a memory from my past that always comes to mind when someone says St. Greg’s carnival.
Story time… (Mom you might not want to read this, haha)
I met this group of friends while taking classes at Tri-C. There were five of us yet we called ourselves “The Four Horsemen”. These were the guys I bowled with and partied with while in my early twenties. I even got a place with one of them for a year but that is another story in itself. “The Four Horsemen” slowly drifted apart mainly because I moved to Akron and a couple of them started families but we made a pact to start hanging out a little more frequently.
Anyways I am sure you are wondering about this St. Greg story.
These friends of mine all grew up in S. Euclid, all went to school together, and have all been friends since childhood. They took me in and treated me like I was one of their childhood friends and before long they were taking me to a summer ritual of theirs, the St. Greg carnival.
The church ran carnival featured some of the best Italian food as well as legal church gambling, games, and of course beer. One particular year we attended I was broke and joked with my friends as we walked past the fishbowl game that if they won a fish I would eat it but they would have to buy me a beer.
I did not think they were going to do it to be honest, but they did and the guys started pulling out $20’s and bought endless amounts of ping pong balls to try and throw in the fish tanks to win a fish prize. Shaking my head as they keep trying to win the fish I asked myself what the hell I got myself into. After five minutes of throwing ping pong balls there were seven goldfish in bags being held by my friends with huge grins on their faces.
Not being one to ever back down I took the first goldfish, popped it in my mouth and had a nice little sushi snack.
People started gathering around me as I downed the second and third fish. The carnie behind the fishbowl game booth was cheering me on as were most of the crowd. There were of course a few people yelling at me for doing such a terrible think but they did not understand I was getting beers out of it. My friends of course were going nuts.
Seven fish later we were off to the beer stand for my reward. Was it worth it? Yes.
So it was to be expected when I saw my friends at St. Greg’s this year they offered to win more of fish. Instead I was treated to some fired dough, ciabatta bread, and other delicious Italian foods. We sat around for a few and chatted but just before 9pm I had to get going so I could make the show.
While driving down to Coventry I decided to make a couple of shortcuts so that I could just get to the parking deck without driving down Coventry and boy am I glad I did. As soon as I got in the area I noticed that there was an abundance of cars parked on the streets and soon started seeing streets closed off. I managed to get my car to the parking deck and snagged a great spot. When I went to put some quarters in the meter I saw this:
Honestly I had never seen anything like it before. The entire strip of Coventry was closed from Euclid Hts. to Mayfield road. It was crowded as hell too…
Slowly making way to the courtyard in front of the Grog Shop my concert going pal and I made it before the show started. My friend Ryan who is the drummer for Upsparing Sea spotted me and we chatted for a bit before they took stage. I’ll be honest with you all and confess that even though Ryan is a pretty good friend of mine, I had no idea what his band sounded like. So when he and his three other band mates took the stage I was just as curious as the rest were to hear them.
Unsparing Sea put on a great show and I have to admit I really got a kick out of their style. I loved the fact that they had a cellist and also an Ol’ DIrty Bastard poster hanging from the lead vocalist’s mic stand. Their sound was more indie folk and they really sounded well. I did feel bad for the band though as they had to pack their instruments into an already clogged stage thanks to the headliner but it did not seem to bother them at all. Head over to their MySpace page to get a taste of some Unsparing Sea. Who knows, you might like it just as I did!
Here’s a video of Unsparing Sea’s “Wolves At Wedding”:
The second band, Baltimore’s Ponytail really confused me because I could not decide if I liked them or not. Almost all of the crowed loved them but I myself could not grasp why. I enjoyed the music tremendously but the lead girl with the mic making random yeps and cries was giving me a headache so bad that I opted to leave mid-set and head home.
I of course took a video to share with you all. This was one of the tamer songs and the more and more I watch it, I think I like it…
Now on the other hand I am the one that Tweeted:
Ponytail on stage. This some weird indie sh@t…and I think I like it.
I lied. This sh@t is way too weird for me. Sounds like wild animals having sex on a piano.
Someone take the goddamn mic away from the little kid on stage. Oh wait, some people are actually clapping to this noise.
All I can say about this band is WTF. Seriously I feel so lost. I am not cool enough to be here. I do not understand. Help.
I was not kidding when I said I left mid-way through Ponytail’s set. I opted to miss out on Yeasayer and kind of regret it but at the same time I had a pretty busy day and just wanted to get home. I got hell from Melanie from Music Saves when I said bye to her and I deserved it.
Walking down Coventry with my friend we opted to hit up Phoenix Coffee for a little pick me up. It was a good ending to a busy day. With the streets still crowded after midnight we walked back to the car and headed back.
Good times. I needed them.