Friday, May 21, 2010

Several Species of Small Furry Thoughts - Paul’s open forum

From left: Kevin Deal (PrimaLuna) John Atkinson (Stereophile), Joe Harley (Music Matters/AudioQuest). Photo: Eric Starling, ListenUp
On Wednesday night I participated in the annual Listen Up Music Matters event. It was an interesting experience on a number of levels. First off it was held at the Pearl Street location of Listen Up, which is a half a block from the original Twist and Shout location at 724 so. Pearl. Being on that block always brings me a bittersweet sensation as I both relish the memories of those early, simpler, more innocent times, and it allows me to reflect on the great distance we have come. When we started my only goal was to not teach high school anymore and to spend all my time in the music zone. Obviously things are never as simple as you would imagine, but overall I haven’t had to return to the public schools and I am still ass deep in music. It is the main thing in my life to this day, and getting that modest store on Pearl was the start of it all.

The Music Matters event was also a chance for me to see a bunch of music fanatics (many of them Twist and Shout customers) in their element, but not at Twist and Shout. Beside concerts I usually don’t see that many customers out and about. It was cool to see people exercising their music mojo and geeking out in a public space that wasn’t MY public space. The good folks at Listen Up put on a great event, full of good info on products and innovations and I got to talk records with a bunch of people. Aside from confirming what I already knew about the renaissance of vinyl, I was heartened to see so many people who were really conscious of the sound differences involved. I spoke to a number of people who were fully informed about all the great labels that are now on the market specializing in high quality vinyl pressings. I had lots of great conversations about what sounds great and why.

The big buzz, musically was a very un-high-quality recording - the remaster of Exile On Main Street. I brought copies with me and sold a handful of them. It is a phenomenal package, and an album that seems to bring out the collector in everyone. There are lots of strong feelings about this classic album and everyone seems excited to hear it again. The extra songs are a very interesting mixed bag. My favorites right off the bat were the demo of “Lovin’ Cup” and the version of “Soul Survivor” with Keith on lead vocals and the chorus missing.

Another interesting thing that happened was that at least five different people, of different ages, made mention to me of Twist and Shout’s always increasing online presence. Specifically, I was hearing about our Twitter and Facebook profiles. If you want a good example of how successful it is, look no further than the record-time sellout of our Widespread Panic instore. On the strength of one Tweet and one mention on Facebook we had a torrent of activity. The reaction of the people at the Music Matters event confirmed this again. Here were guys in their 50’s telling me they love getting updated via these avenues and that they hear about all sorts of new stuff that way. I am as surprised as I am delighted. Look for more and more online activity from us technophobes here at hippy central.

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