Houston Celebrates Record Store Day in Grand Style

Photos by Jim Bricker
Record Store Day fans waiting to get into Cactus Music
Frustrated. Nervous. Tired. Anxious. Wired. Those are pretty much the only words to describe the numerous Record Store Day lines throughout town Saturday. Nope, tax day was four days prior so these lines were certainly not at your local H&R Block. These were the emotions of a quickly growing group of collectors lining up around town at their favorite record stores.

Record Store Day is the equivalent to a vinyl lovers' Christmas. For hours and hours, people line up outside of their favorite record store in anticipation of getting one or several of a limited release of specialty records made for just the day.

Towards the front of the lines people had no worries about not getting a specific record, but they had earned their carefree ability with an unprecedented time of sitting and waiting, but as the lines grew the hope for those at the back of them started to diminish. And for good reason. If you're 50 people back in line, and your record store has only three copies of a specific album, then most likely you're not going to get it. If you're 500 people back, you're definitely not going to get it.

Outside Vinal Edge early Saturday morning
And that's why the diehard record collectors gather so early. While it might not be too fun sitting in the cold of the night with little to keep you entertained, the thought that you're walking away with everything on your list is a pretty nice little driving force.

In between, the random conversation with your line neighbors, being careful not to speak too loud on what you want and accidentally remind someone in front of you that they want it too, people pass time throughout the early morning hours by double-checking their lists and comparing it with the official one online, making sure not to forget a thing.

And thankfully the most prominent and potent emotion that was running through each and every line was excitement. It helped to drown out the frustration, calm the nerves, quell the anxiety and keep everyone awake in the process.

Many bands, like young UK synth-poppers Chvrches, autographed Record Store Day-exclusive items.
But no matter what happens, after your turn in line you're definitely walking out of the store with a fresh stack of wax that not many other people around the world will ever have. Yeah, you might not get that limited-run, regional-focus 7-inch cut with the blood of the artist or a few pieces of yarn strewn throughout, but you're still going home with a heaping helping of new tunes to throw on your turntable (and, unfortunately, a nice little dent in your wallet).

Saturday, I first stopped by Cactus around 7 a.m. to find a line of what looked like about 60 to 70 tired-looking souls. It seemed as if more than half of those folks don't regularly get to see the sun rise, so the dedication it took for them to get there at that time was impressive. After a brief chat with a few folks at the front of the queue who set up their camp at 8 a.m. the previous day -- a full 26 hours before Cactus opened its doors -- I took off in favor of an earlier opening time at Vinal Edge in the Heights.

The free-for-all inside Vinal Edge
Upon arrival to the 19th Street store, owned and operated by the famed local radio DJ/ record-seller Chuck Roast, only about 30 people were in line. While it paled in comparison to the several hundred already gathered at Cactus when I left, it was still a solid crowd and continued to grow significantly over the hour and a half before Vinal Edge opened up shop.

With the line about 250 deep at 9 am, Roast propped open the door, and after explaining the layout to everyone at the front of the line, the melee ensued. Each shop has their own ways of doing it, but Vinal Edge definitely has the most "Black Friday" feel to its approach. Once the gates opened, it was pretty much a free-for-all. While they did limit the amount of people in the store at one time, those 50 or so who did make it inside were left to their own devices to dig through several variously assorted crates all at once.

...All the way down 19th Street
So if you wanted something in particular, you better hope you picked the right bin that randomly had that one copy you were looking for; many folks around me were searching for Tame Impala's live effort, but no one seemed to find it. A glow-in-the-dark 10-inch featuring Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters theme song was also the quickest to go, featuring that song and three other versions including a rare dub remix.

One young girl and her father were desperately searching for a specific piece of vinyl, sadly digging past the numerous 311, Green Day, Dolly Parton and Nirvana records without any luck. Finally, towards the end of her search, she excitedly lifted up a 7-inch and screamed, "I got it!" That young lady is now the proud owner of the new One Direction picture disc, one of the most sought-after items of the day.

Story continues on the next page.

Location Info


Cactus Music

2110 Portsmouth St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

Vinal Edge

239 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Sig's Lagoon

3622 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Heights Vinyl

3122 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX

Category: General

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Ashley Kimel
Ashley Kimel

I rode by Vinal Edge, but saw the line and kept on driving. Glad they did well even without my support.

WestSideBob topcommenter

I was an early adopter but have let the spirit wane over the past few years.  The special packages weren't worth the wait.  I'm all for new music but not so much for recycled tunes in fancy wrappers.

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