I found myself wandering the streets of Worcester on Saturday morning, which is unusual for me, as I like to have a sleep-in on the weekend. However, here I was, wrapped up against the cold, trying to dodge in and out of the hustle and bustle of Worcester’s Christmas market.
I had Google’d ‘Vinyl shops in Worcester’ prior to my visit, and found that there was an independent record store located in the heart of Worcester – Rise Music. So, with my headphones securely in place, ‘The Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane’ keeping me company, I set off on my way.
On my way to Rise Music, I found myself walking passed a Children’s Christmas Choir, so The Eagles had to take a back seat for the time being while I got in to the Christmas spirit.
The store wasn’t too difficult to find, located in the CrownGate Shopping Centre.
From the outside, you could see straight in to the shop, with vinyl’s lining the walls, a “40% off selected vinyl’s” sign scrawled across the window in chalk, and a steady stream of patrons milling around inside. It certainly was beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Upon entering the shop, the in-store music was an indie number which I hadn’t heard of, and I’m not overly surprised as the store claims to maintain the spirit of a classic indie record shop, and my indie knowledge being limited to the early 2000’s.
A quick glance around Rise Music told me that it wasn’t purely a record store, but also had books, CDs and clothing on display. Needless-to-say, my main priority was the vinyl.
I found myself confronted with a Black Friday bucket full of discounted vinyl’s, and had I any idea who the bands were in the crate, I’d have been more excited – but alas, I didn’t spot anything that tickled my fancy.
The window display and adjacent wall held new presses of rock & pop albums all alphabetised. The range was quite eclectic, and threw up some of the old favourites (The Beatles, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, etc.). It did feel a little bit like being in HMV, although the prices were moderately cheaper!
As I looked around the shrink wrapped new releases, I did feel as though I could have saved some time and warmth by purchasing these albums online – but then I stumbled upon Gogol Bordello, a band I had completely forgotten about and was fanatically obsessed with in my early 20’s.
I had to have it; so, I grabbed myself a copy of ‘Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike’.
The wall to the side of this was reserved for Metal, Hip Hop, Soul & Funk, Soundtrack, Blues and World Music, which wasn’t as broad as the Rock n Pop collection, but still plentiful.
I was on a roll by this point, I came across Mötley Crüe – Girls Girls Girls, so picked that up also!
The middle of the shop was a playground for CD enthusiasts, and of similar ilk to the vinyl’s on display.
This led me to the far end of the store, where stood in front of me was a floor to ceiling display of vinyl and CD counterparts.
I couldn’t justify spending any more money on new vinyl’s, especially as I knew the huge number of charity shops Worcester has, full of Jack Jones and Neil Diamond vinyl’s…
So, I headed to the till to make my purchases, and much to my surprise what should I find? A second-hand vinyl section right next to the cash register.
The display wasn’t huge, but it did have enough for me to spend the next 15 minutes flicking through. As you may have expected, the second-hand collection was what I class as the classic ‘second-handers’. They had Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen and more along that lines.
‘Oh boy’ did I count my chickens too soon. As I stood there looking through, I couldn’t help but notice that probably 80% of the offerings had already found their way in to my collection.
At the cash register, I was greeted by not one, not two, but three members of Rise Music staff waiting for me to make my purchase. Some people may have considered this overkill, and I would have been one of them people.
The staff were a friendly bunch, and ensured that I had found everything I was looking for.
So I paid for my new records, and left feeling a little crestfallen with the lack of second hand vinyl’s – and that’s by no means the Rise Music store’s fault. They never claimed to be a seller of a huge second hand vinyl collection; but nonetheless, it wasn’t what I had hoped for.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed with my trip to Rise Music, it was definitely a mark-up on a trip to HMV, and it proved to me that you can find music you may have forgotten about if you hadn’t flicked through the racks. Another big bonus was buying through an independent retailer.
But as an out of towner, I don’t think I would make a special visit to go to Rise Music, I would probably only pop in if I was in the area.