The Successful Failures @ The Record Collector 9/4/09

In a day and age when most chain record stores are long gone, it’s nice to know there are still a few cool independent record stores that manage to survive. Locally there is Vintage Vinyl, Princeton Record Exchange, and the cool place I was at Friday night, The Record Collector.

Located in the heart of historic Bordentown, NJ, The Record Collector has lots of CDs (both new & used), as well as a huge collection of vinyl, and lots of unique/rare items (for instance some mini “cheesecake” girlie mags from I think the 50’s, and a Magilla Gorilla record).

The Record Collector also plays host to intimate concerts (according to an employee, the venue holds 100 people) with local acts, as well as established acts (Cracker recently played there), booked by Randy Now of WTSR. On this particular night, the show was local band The Successful Failures, with an opening set by the frontman, Mick Chorba.

Mick Chorba’s “solo set” to open the show, was actually what I have dubbed the Mick Chorba Trio, featuring Mick on guitar and vocals (except for one song he played piano on), Greg Potter (from the Blank Pages) on guitar & backing vocals, and Ron Bechamps (from The Successful Failures) also on guitar & backing vocals. The trio played a nice set featuring songs from Mick’s other band, The Dipsomaniacs, a few SF songs, and a couple of nice covers, most notably a cover of AC/DC’s “you shook me all night long”. I’ve always said if you’re going to do a cover, make it your own, and by speeding it up and playing it with bluegrass/country guitar picking and a gorgeous 3 part harmony chorus, they didn’t just make their own, in my opinion that is now the quintessential version of the song. The trio closed their opening set with Mick on piano and the beautifully melancholy Dipsos song, “hello Cleveland”, which Mick said was where he came up with this other band that he’d call The Successful Failures…only it was years later that he actually started the band.

After a quick 5 minute break The Successful Failures took to the stage for a nice long set of country infused garage pop. Mixing new songs (from a forthcoming album that is close to completion, but no release date is set yet), with classics from their first 2 albums (self titled, and “Ripe For the Burning”). Their sets are always fun, and to be in this unique setting on this night, just made the show that much more fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to bars and seeing a good show, but it’s very cool to be able to go to a unique venue like The Record Collector, which incidentally has an amazing sound system, sit down, look at all the albums and ambiance around you, purchase snacks at their old school snack bar (a little hot dog and popcorn machine), and watch a really great show.

That’s what the start of my Labor Day weekend was, a really great show, at a really great venue. I can’t wait for The Successful Failures new CD, and I look forward to returning to The Record Collector soon.

Photos by Naomi