The Eleven Greatest Record Store Performances, Part One

Don Van Cleave

8. G. Love and Special Sauce (Hoodlums/ASU)

This was our first monster in-store at the ASU Hoodlums, and I do mean monster. Over 800 kids crowded the MU stage on the first day of school to see Philly's favorite trio do their thing.

After signing autographs, at the boys request, we temporarily closed the store so the band could have a private "shopping" session. It was pretty cool to watch fans crowd all around the open-roofed store to watch the band buy about half of our jazz section (mostly). I would have done that too... especially if my label was paying for it (which they did).

Note: In case you were thinking, "Hey, that's not in a record store," let me clarify. Our first store was 500 square feet, so we used various locations throughout the M.U. to host our "in-stores." In other words, that counts.

7. Kings of Leon (Easy Street Records/Seattle)

As CIMS conferences go, none was bigger or better than the 10th Anniversary, which was hosted by Matt Vaughan and his crew from Easy Street Records. Easy Street had just opened a brand new store under the Space Needle, and with the extra "pull" of the CIMS brass, he somehow got the already-famous Kings of Leon to play on its stage.

The Followill gang kicked ass and managed to impress the entire room of jaded record store geeks (although I couldn't tell what the fuck that guy was talking about any more than I can on the records).

Here's the amazing thing: It wasn't even the best in-store of the weekend (see number one).

6. The Refreshments (Zia/Tempe)

This was about as personal as an in-store gets, especially for my late boss, Zia owner Brad Singer. Singer, one of the Valley's biggest local music advocates, had been working with the band, featuring local Valley legend Roger Clyne (still entertaining all over the country with his Peacemakers), for years. Brad's label, Epiphany Records, had helped release and promote the band's first album, Wheelie, and we were now seeing the band hit it big (OK, maybe not big, but at least medium) on the national scene.

True to their roots, and to Roger's character (still one of the nicest rock stars I've ever met), they played the Tempe store on the release date of the first ever major label album (and still classic), Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy, and we sold a truckload of records.

Can We Take a Break Now, Geek?

What can I tell you? I just can't stop myself from rambling poetic about all of these fantastic, one-of-a-kind events. And really, what the hell good is telling a story if you have to leave out cool details?

But I can stop myself for now. You need to get some work done anyway.

Stay tuned next week as I finish off the list with Numbers 1-5 .

As always, thanks for reading, and have an excellent weekend.

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I remember both Ben Kweller in-stores, but the first was my favorite. :) Can't wait to see the rest of the list, Steve!


I fondly remember the G Love & Special Sauce show. I was surprised that many students showed up. Seems like it was yesterday.

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