New live music showcase set for record store day launch at Stretford Mall

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A MUSICIAN who started his career working with major acts like the Stone Roses, New Order and Fatboy Slim is to help launch a new live music showcase, at Stretford Mall.

Rick Jones’ new underground electronica act Dark Fidelity Hifi is to perform the first ever live set to be staged in the popular Reel Around the Fountain Records shop, on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 21.

It’s a dream come true for Reel Around the Fountain Records store owner Nigel Young, as he has long held an ambition to have live music acts perform on stage in his store.

The popular shop, which is named after a song on The Smiths’ debut album, has become a haven for Manchester music lovers since it first opened at Stretford Mall, three years ago

Last autumn the Reel Around the Fountain Records moved to a larger unit on the mezzanine floor inside the shopping centre, giving Nigel the space to be able to host live music acts.

Now in its 11th year, Record Store Day is the one day when more than 200 independent record shops from across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture, a major part of which is the continuing revival of vinyl record sales.

Nigel says he’s it’s the perfect day to launch his new musical showcase with Dark Fidelity Hifi’s first ever live gig.

He hopes it will also raise awareness of independent music stores and to encourage people to keep buying CDs, Vinyls and cassette tapes in an era of music downloads.

Nigel and Rick, who is also a music producer, are both keen for live sets to become a regular fixture at the shop to provide local bands with a platform to show off their talent.

They are also exploring the possibility of putting together an album dedicated to upcoming Stretford music acts.

Former teaching assistant Nigel opened Reel Around the Fountain Records in 2015 having previously ran a business buying and selling records online.

The name of his store stems from a song by The Smiths in which the lyric written by Morrissey, who was born in Stretford, are believed to have been inspired by a fountain which used to be at the shopping centre in the late 1970s.

Nigel said: “I’ve known Rick for a while as he’s a local lad. He’s been doing his music for a while and he came up to me with this idea of having a live set in the shop and it sounded really good.

“When I moved into the new unit at the mall I had big plans for the shop. I’ve always had this vision as soon as I saw the space.

“It’s a bit of a vanity thing but I always wanted a stage inside. There are record shops about but none have the space I’ve got.

“It’d be really great to help out local bands and artists, and to give them a platform to perform.

“One of my favourite bands is James and it would be a dream to get them here to play one day.”

Nigel hopes the Record Store Day event will encourage people to support independent music stores throughout the year, and he wants to show how his shop is open to all.

He said: “I think a lot of record shops have been male-dominated environments over the years but I don’t want anyone to feel edged out.

“I want everyone to feel comfortable. Since I’ve moved here I’ve had a lot of teenagers and young adults coming in.

“The management here have been fantastic with my move from the market hall to the centre. They’ve bent over backwards to tend to us.”

Rick, 48, who lives in Stretford, is releasing an album on the day of the event, with 50 limited edition copies available to buy which will be numbered and include the store name.

He said: “Everything is a download these days and while acts can make more money that way because you’re not having to make a product, there is nothing like going home and picking something up to put on and play.

“And when you make a record and you have something tangible at the end of it, you feel like you’ve achieved something.

“OK you might earn more from a download but at the end of the day it’s still just a file!”

Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall, says staff and shoppers at the Mall are looking forward to the launch gig.

“Nigel has a really unique offer at Reel Around the Fountain Records and the shop has really come into its own since it moved to the new unit.

“We’re really excited to be able to give their platform to local music and very much looking forward to hearing Rick’s first gig.”

Former sound technician Rick, started out in the music business in the mid to late 1980s, after studying sound technology at a college in Old Trafford.

He told how he worked with one particular Manchester band before they went on to achieve worldwide stardom. “I worked for a live PA company in Manchester who at that time did gigs for Factory Records so I worked with New Order,” said Rick.

“I’ve also done the live sound for the Stone Roses as well as Fatboy Slim.

“In fact I did one of the first ever Stone Roses gigs at The Ritz in Manchester. It was a Monday night and it was around the time that they’d just written Sally Cinnamon.

“Those were great memories. You knew they were going to go on to big things. I did that gig and then a week later I was doing the sound for Norman Cook and The Housemartins which was the band he was in at that time.

“It was before he crossed over into electronic music. Funnily enough it was something I became interested in too and I thought I’d have a bash at it.

“I used to play in indie bands when I was a young lad but got bored of playing the guitar and drums. I got shown a sampler and that was it for me – that was the way forward!”

Rick continued to combine his live gig work with performing and believes his electronica band C Section were the first Mancunian band to use a sampler.

Now his passion is an emerging  underground sound, creating and releasing his own material and working to produce music for other artists.

Rick added: “I’m currently part of a global music collective with just over 32 acts from all over the world.

“We work together and put out our own compilations so each other’s music gets put out there.

“It’s basically underground electronic music. It’s really hard to explain the sound.

“We use bits of all sorts – we use computers, drum and bass, Jamaican dub, everything that’s good about electronic music at the moment.

“As well as myself performing at the store we’ve also got a DJ from Glasgow known as Fragile X playing and a guy from Japan called Kikino who’s over here to perform a DJ set in Manchester on the Saturday night.

“It’s going to be really good. It’s all about trying to keep the physical record business alive.

“It would be great to try and do this every three months for local artists to perform.

“We could form a small label in the area for Stretford bands and acts and put together a compilation of artists. It could really help local bands out so I’d be open to doing it.”

To find out more about Stretford Mall visit or find the shopping centre on Facebook and Twitter @stretfordmall

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