Spin City: It's sad, but this very newspaper had the poor judgment to name Best Buy as the best place to buy CDs in Broward and Palm Beach. (Why dontcha just go shoot Mom and Pop in the head, huh?) We all know that saving a few bucks on that new Shania Twain disc -- only to pay a few more for that microwave in the next aisle -- is killing small record stores. But finally, there's going to be an independent record shop in town. And while you might not be able to find as wide a selection as in the fluorescent-lit purgatory of Best Buy, you'll be doing your civic, moral, and local-economic duty by shopping there. And this part of the country is famous for folks with those self-same ideals.
This Saturday is the grand opening of Shed Records, 901 Progresso Rd., Fort Lauderdale, which promises to throw some much-needed excitement into the area. We all know how the scene stands at this moment.
"It's a cultural vacuum," comes just one truism from the mouth of Duncan Cameron, the store's owner. "The dusty record shop where you're digging through stuff -- where's that feeling up here? That ramshackle feel? That's Shed Records. It's going to be a little rough-hewn."
Tucked between auto body shops and warehouses, "it's a dive in a dingy part of town," Cameron admits. But the fact that there'll be a low-key, hip boutique means that those with the backbone to avoid Satanic chain stores can frequent a place that sells indie rock releases, hip-hop, funk, soul, and various dance subgenres. With a listening station, a couch, and magazines, Shed promises a relaxed atmosphere for networking and chilling, says Cameron, who is opening the store basically to be a good sport.
"No one was holding down the retail end of it here, and I had a little bit of money saved. I don't have a regular day job. So now I can be around music 24 hours a day."
Since Fort Lauderdale has regularly seen a progression of nonchain record stores draw their first and last breaths in a fairly short time span, we all must channel our mental energy and focus our powers on the success of Shed. And it helps to spend money there, too. "I want to move stuff," Cameron says. "I have it priced so people can try stuff, pick up something new. I want to have a reputation that, even if you pick up something blindly, it'll be good. No one wants to buy garbage. I don't want people to think Shed Records has junk."
Is he optimistic about the store's profitability?
"I'm realistic, let's say. I hope the first three to six months I'm just breaking even and it's just paying for itself. After that it may generate some real income." He also reports that the real pleasure is "just to finally create something in this area."
Of course Cameron has been doing that since 1995 with local hard-funk outfit Hashbrown. As reported in this column on June 22, the band went into a brief tailspin when drummer Steve Williams began to flake out in rehearsals. Then on June 13 at the Poor House, Cameron reports, "we had a gig, and the brother never showed up. So disappointing. Great player."
But with the help of the band's original drummer, Wayne "Cutmaster Crash" Walters, "Hashbrown is back in the saddle," Cameron is happy to report. "We're going to start once again. [Wayne] is the guy who made it all happen. Now we can actually be productive. It's all starting to click. This is the cat who actually made Hashbrown a name."
New Times named Hashbrown as Broward and Palm Beach's best hard rock band in our recent Best Of issue. They're ready to make a return to the recording studio and local stages, and it'll be good to have these guys back.
Contrary to rumor, the band Dokken (which performed at MARS Music Amphitheater on July 15, opening for Poison), is named after group leader Don Dokken. It is not -- repeat not -- an acronym for Devil's Organization Killing Kids Even Now. Jeez.
All Fort Lauderdale needs is another live music emporium to close its doors. But that's the way things have been over at FU*BAR since a June 29 show with Boy Sets Fire. The club's owners are trying to sell it, and hassles over the paperwork have resulted in the space being shut down for the time being. Not only does that put a major damper on local acts that need a place to play, but it means there's one less place for smaller national acts to visit. Concerts by Southern Culture on the Skids and Alejandro Escovedo are but two high points in recent months, and it's hard to think of another venue in town that would have been appropriate for them. Stay tuned to learn what's going to happen to the space once the new owners are in.
You can catch albino Jamaican throat-cancer survivor and self-described sex machine Yellowman at Alligator Alley Friday at 8:30p.m. And although she's not celebrating the release of a new record, Joan Armatrading has such an impressive back catalog it's well worth seeing her at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts Monday.
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