Celebrating Record Store Day at Mojo Books & Music with Sons of Hippies, free PBR and more

We all bobbed our heads in a trance to Kelly’s husky, snarled vocals and jubilantly flipped through the dozen or so cardboard boxes and plastic crates of releases exclusively sold at indie stores on April 17. There were a handful of John Lennon singles bags, several of Montreal copies and a few Queens of the Stone Age. I overheard the clerk behind the counter telling a patron they'd quickly ran out of The Flaming Lips’ take on Dark Side of The Moon, Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” 10", Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Bon Iver, Hot Water Music and many others. She even expressed surprise at how fast some releases, like the Tegan & Sara live 7", had sold out.

For all the hopeful customers who missed out on snagging their prized limited editions, there was plenty of beer for drowning their sorrows, free cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon passed around — to persons of [image-1]legal age, of course — and the empty cans abandoned in spots around the store as the day went on. The cluster of people eventually dispersed as Sons of Hippies strummed their final notes and invited the room to catch their show at Skipper’s later that evening.

By this time, people were tucked into the corners of the store, sifting through shelves of books, budget DVDs and mulling over a bevy of wooden crates on the floor, stuffed end-to-end with vinyl. I found myself planted firmly in front of the rhythm & blues crate while Orlando-based singer-songwriter Chris Rowland performed with his band. A handful of girls, who passed out CDs before Rowland hit the mic, repeatedly shouted something about zombies and whooped and hollered after every song. The Orlando transplants were clearly enjoying the beer, and made a point to inform Dan in all sincerity that this was their new favorite record store.

I left Mojo as St. Pete-based Double Dutch worked a peculiar snippet of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka into his performance, and noticed the crowd had started skewing younger as the day wore on. They weren’t necessarily there to buy any limited edition releases — they were there to enjoy the atmosphere. They shimmied to these instrumental experiments, sat among the rain puddles forming outside, overflowed the garbage with empty beer cans and boxes of take-out, and showed a little love the their local music community in the process.

Vinyl nerds, collectors and lovers of music alike all gathered at their establishment of choice this Saturday to celebrate a holiday of sorts: Record Store Day.

I spent a few hours at Mojo Books & Music off Fowler Avenue in Tampa to partake in the festivities. If the lure of limited edition records wasn’t enough, Mojo rolled out the racks of American Apparel t-shirts to get the kids salivating. There were Beatles shirts aplenty, $1 books, Bob Masse concert posters and shelves lined with bobble heads. But the real attraction was the music.

I knew it was going to be a good day when I walked in and overheard owner Dan Drummond telling Katherine Kelly of Sons of Hippies that they could play as long as they wanted. The Sarasota-based trio wasted no time with introductions and launched into a spirited set shortly after 2 p.m. Drummer Jonas Canales’ heart-pounding rhythms vibrated through the floor and into the feet of the growing crowd that surrounded the store's front counter. Men and women, young and old, children and parents, single and married — pick a walk of life and they were there.

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