On my first morning in Vegas I walked into the hinterland behind the Strip to visit Record City. It was a long, hot, dusty walk and because of the particular geography of Las Vegas Boulevard I ended up just a couple of blocks east of the Strip. While I was in the shop the owner talked on the phone to various people about new picture discs that had just come in – either this is how he makes a living from the shop or he just doesn’t really like old vinyl with which the shop is full. The music in the shop all comes through the computer. The second hand records were marked down by 25% and the floor was covered with $1 crates. Here are two finds from digging through these crates.
2. The Beat Cafe
Downtown on Fremont, east of the Fremont Experience, Las Vegas becomes kind of normal. The Beat is a coffee shop and record store with tiny art galleries attached. The music they play is all on vinyl – the record deck sits on the counter where you place your order. They play old Beatles and Hendrix records and they stick and jump. That’s ok…that’s what records do. I bought a Brian Auger and Julie Tippet record here.
In the Interzone between the southern half of the Strip and Downtown, old Vegas surfaces in dilapidated form. There are motels that have seen better days, strip joints, vacant lots and now some galleries. This area is a lot less ‘scripted’ than the controlled fantasy managed by MGM and Caesar Entertainment. At the hottest part of the day I stopped under a tree for shade and realised the tree was full of birds chattering in the same kind of repetitive weave of sound as the slot machines in the casino. But the birds were so deep within the foliage that they were invisible.