Lots of people hate on Record Store Day. I sort of get it given all the re-releases of stuff that frankly didn’t need a 57th version entry into Discogs. Many see it purely as a money grab. To be fair, record labels and stores aren’t non-profits, and I for one like having some local record stores, so if this gets some extra people through the doors and helps them keep the lights on, great. RSD also has had the positive effect of shaking loose some recordings that otherwise might not have seen the light of day. A case in point is Seattle’s ground-zero-grunge-rockers Green River, the band that spawned Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, and Pearl Jam. For RSD in 2016 we were treated to 1984 Demos and this year a recently unearthed live show from 1984, Live At The Tropicana. I doubt anyone would have bothered with these if it wasn’t for RSD.
Live At The Tropicana was one of my top two or three “wants” for RSD 2019, but unfortunately I struck out locally. This isn’t a surprise since I live in Seattle and, well, it’s Green River. I waited a few weeks for the post-RSD nonsense to die down (copies were selling for $60-65 on eBay on RSD) and scored myself an unopened copy for $30, just a bit more than the retail price. And you know, it’s a damn good record. The sound quality is surprisingly good for what was basically a punk show in 1984. The only downside is that it’s so early that it lacks some of the band’s best material, which hadn’t been written yet. I’m a bit surprised some of the stage banter was left in, like probably two minutes of Mark Arm asking if anyone had any duct tap (though I enjoyed the part where he said their next number was a dance song, so put on your leg warmers), but whatever – it’s still a fun listening experience and a chance to hear a young band coming into its own.