Friday, January 27, 2012

Tremont hosts record collector's show Sunday

In July Charlotte's Greg Neal, a record collector and Mount Holly native, began holding collectible vinyl record shows here. After a couple of successful events in hotel convention spaces, he's teaming with Tremont Music Hall to expand the shows further. Tremont (400 W. Tremont Ave.) will host its first Carolina Vinyl and CD Show Sunday, January 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to vinyl vendors will also sell CDs, DVDs, and other memorabilia. The bar will be open and food vendors will be on hand as well.

Vinyl has experienced a resurgence in recent years due to decreasing cds sales and the popularity of digital downloads, which are more portable than both. Many artists, including mainstream ones, are releasing albums on vinyl and including digital download codes in the packaging. You get the best of both worlds - a portable copy and a hard copy with (hopefully) superior sound quality.

While old records don't include a download code of course, buying used is usually cheaper and allows you to discover new music (or music that's new to you rather) without breaking the bank. Manifest Discs, where Neal works, and Lunchbox Records both stock a fantastic selection of used and new vinyl (the Roots' drummer Questlove raved about Charlotte's prices and selection last summer on Twitter).

I prefer hard copies to digital if the music is something I want to hold on to. I'm a collector by nature - of music, action figures, DVDs, Barbies, art, trading cards...So the idea of a local record show is exciting to me. My co-workers at Record Exchange use to travel to Hillsborough every year for a show there.

Although I once hauled a carry-on bag full of vinyl back from England (where I picked up many a Siouxsie and the Banshees 12 inch single), I don't collect records much anymore. Yet there's still something exciting about buying an album you love on vinyl - larger artwork you can really appreciate, liner notes and lyrics written in large enough print you can actually read it, the warm sound, and the experience of much more active listening (you do have to pay attention enough to flip that record over).

Neal (pictured at a show above) has been selling collectible vinyl on eBay and at regional record shows for a  decade. +He left Charlotte in the `70s and worked in cd and record stores in Los Angeles before returning to town in 1993.

"In an ironic sort of way I was present at the death of vinyl and am now involved in its resurrection," he told me last summer.

Admission for Sunday's show is $2. The organizers hope to make this a regular event.

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