Local band Blastov is headlining the first of Power Up Games/CD Xchange's recent string of in-store live shows. The third show in the series is this Saturday starting at 3:30 p.m. and will feature local acts Pretty Penny and Recreational Chemistry. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — Local musicians now have an added way of bringing their tunes to the masses thanks to a new concert series hosted by local business Power Up Games/CD Xchange.
On Saturday, the in-store concert series continues with its third installment as local acts Pretty Penny and Recreational Chemistry each perform free of charge in the store’s lobby.
Pretty Penny’s Daniel Masters said his band is excited about the growing music scene in Albany and excited about getting the chance to play Saturday.
“We’re grateful there is a music scene to be a part of,” said Masters. “I think folks in Albany have wanted a good music scene for some time now. Well, message received. It’s nice to have new venues like the CD Xchange where a younger audience can come see the show.”
Power Up Games/CD Xchange manager Audrey Wilson said the shows serve the dual purposes of giving up-and-coming local acts the opportunity to gain exposure and bringing new patrons into the store.
“I can’t pay the bands, so they do it for exposure,” said Wilson. “On the days we have bands play, we sell a lot more different things than we normally do on other days. Like vinyl, music in general.”
Wilson said that even though the store originally opened in 1994 as simply The CD Xchange, which focused on music sales, it has actually been the video game business that has sustained it in recent years.
“Video games are really our thing,” Wilson said. “The Internet and Netflix and things like that have really killed the CD and DVD business. We carry a lot of older video games and hard-to-find things.”
With the different crowd, which Wilson said comes in primarily to hear the local music, the store has seen a definite uptick in sales from both used CDs and vinyl, as well as a smattering of DVDs.
Additionally, the store has gotten positive feedback from regulars who come in looking for games, only to discover that a local band has set up shop in the lobby. Wilson said many regulars have not only enjoyed the live music, they have also inquired about the bands and asked about finding CDs the artists have released.
Wilson allows local artists to leave their CDs at the store for sale, which she does without taking any cut into the profit.
“A lot of places might do that like consignment, where they sell the CDs and keep a percentage,” said Wilson. “I don’t do that. They can leave CDs here, and I’ll sell them and give the bands whatever sales we make. I just want to do that.”
It’s likely Wilson’s being an avid music fan herself fuels her desire to help local artists. She is from Americus and moved to Albany about five years ago. She is a fan of lots of music and is especially interested in seeing local artists do well.
Although the two in-store concerts held thus far and the one scheduled for Saturday have featured primarily rock music, Wilson hopes to diversify lineups in the future and feature artist from different genres, including country and rap.
“I want it to be diverse and I want to keep it interesting,” she said.
One thing of special interest to those who have attended the shows is the store’s Saturday discounts. Wilson said during the last Saturday of every month, in addition to the live music, Power Up Games/CD Xchange offers 25 percent off all vinyl record sales. The store also offers 25 percent off all purchases of $5 or less and 20 percent off all purchases of $6 and up.
In addition to the music sales, Wilson said the store is offering free pizza to those who attend the show.
“We just want this to be fun, and we want folks to come out and enjoy the music,” she said. “The bands are excited about playing, and it’s a cool, intimate setting.”
Chris Hayes, the bassist for Blastov, which played the first Power Up Games/CD Xchange in-store to celebrate National Record Store Day in April, echoed Wilson’s sentiment, saying his band thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play and thought it gave Blastov good exposure.
”I loved the unique and intimate vibe of the ‘in-store’ show at CD Xchange that you just can’t get with other venues,” said Hayes. “And the DIY nature of it all. Plus it puts you right there on the floor, amongst the bins of vinyl, in the faces of your audience. Our Facebook ‘likes’ went up by dozens in the days after our in-store set, so it was great exposure. If we already had our album in the can and t-shirts printed at the time, we could’ve moved some serious merchandise too. We’re stoked to play there again this fall.”
Saturday’s show is set to start at 3 p.m. and will continue until the bands get tired of playing, Wilson said. Power Up Games/CD Xchange is located at 1925 Dawson Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.