We started Record Store Day 2016 doing what needs to be done on record store day…hunting for records. We started out in the biggest entertainment store in London, HMV 363 Oxford street, who have benefited from the recent resurgence of vinyl and it shows with their extended vinyl section. We headed off into the outskirts of Soho into Berwick Street where we really started to feel the buzz of record store day.
The street was busy, which is nothing out of the ordinary for a Saturday but the line outside Sister Ray was something to be impressed by. It’s quite something when you see a company like Red Bull sending promo staff to an independent record store, a sign that sometimes even the small dogs bark just loud enough for the big dogs to pay attention.
We headed down the street to another bustling store Reckless Records where NME had cleverly placed someone giving out their magazine. As much as this day represents and clings on to the independent, it’s still good when the bigger companies feel the need to embrace it.
Berwick Street’s vinyl love didn’t stop there though as there was also a vinyl presence on the market stalls along with the street food.
We then took a walk to where the celebrations were taking place with music lovers alike at The Marquis pub on Chandos Place, near Covent Garden. The event had been promoted via Facebook and word of mouth and really picked up in the late afternoon when it started to get hard to move, which isn’t a bad thing when the atmosphere is as positive as this was. The guvnor Tommy was spinning records that customers had brought in to share and they had a number of DJ’s doing sets also.
The music wasn’t limited to one genre either, punters were treated to a variety of gems from Elvis Presley to Dr. Dre, there was something for everybody. It wasn’t just the two legged that were having fun though, even the dogs in the pub seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere. Not only could you bring your own records to this event, but you could buy some also, there was a stall set up by the DJ area with vinyls from as little as 50p.
The pub itself has an interesting layout with areas available for private hire that feel closed off enough to feel VIP, but open enough to mix with the rest of the pub’s atmosphere. The building dates back to the late 17th Century and has quite the history of regulars. Highwayman Claude Duval is thought to have been arrested here and later Charles Dickens was known to drink here in between his day job and his writing. The variety of drinks on offer at the pub is very good, staff at The Marquis were quick and pleasant and you didn’t have to wait long for a drink even though the place was packed. Looking at the food menu and the variety continues, but what stood out to me the most was the fact this independent boozer wasn’t only embracing the age old tradition of vinyl, but traditional London food such as Pie, Mash and Liquor. As a cockney boy this was hard to ignore and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it here.
I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint and although it wasn’t like I’d strolled off of the market into a traditional Pie and Mash shop, it was exactly what I hoped it would be and that’s Pie and Mash with a pub lunch feel to it. The main food area is upstairs in the dining room where there is another small bar alongside the tables. The price for food was pretty good and the quality was up there with the great service experienced on both bars.
As the day turned into the night, the customers didn’t stop coming in and the party only continued to grow as the music got louder and the punters got merrier. The DJ’s stepped aside for a short period whilst we were treated to a one man set from Glenn Hodge and his acoustic guitar. Glenn’s British folk style was a welcome addition to the festivities and felt like it fitted in quite well with a nice mix of some old and more modern sounds in his songs.
All in all, we had a great time at The Marquis and on Record Store Day in general and the other punters in the pub seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as we did on a day where music was at the forefront backed by some great drinks, food, laughs and entertainment. It’s a day where we should all be doing something different and take advantage of the unique things our love for music has to offer us. If you are somebody that sat at home and missed out this time round then make sure next year is different and you experience the buzz, because the celebrations seem to be getting bigger each year.
We would recommend checking out The Marquis any time you’re in the area and especially when they are holding an event like this one. If you would like more information on the pub and some of the live music played on this day then check out The Marquis online here and check out Glenn Hodge Banned here and tell ’em we sent ya!