If you go

What: Absolute Vinyl & Stereo Grand Re-Opening with Idlewhile

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Absolute Vinyl & Stereo, 5360 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-955-1519

Cost: donation requested

More info: avboulder.blogspot.com/

This Friday, Absolute Vinyl & Stereo is throwing a "Grand Re-Opening" party, and it's as much as testament to the strength of the Front Range music community as it is to the quality of the shop itself.

In the 17 months since Absolute Vinyl relocated from North Boulder to its Arapahoe Avenue location, the small shop has served as a listening room-style venue. Owner Doug Gaddy hosts shows about once a month, bringing in local acts and a handful of out-of-towners, asking only for a donation.

One of the first bands to play the store was the Longmont-based indie folk quintet Idlewhile, and they're coming back for the re-opening. The band frequents places like Boulder County venues Oskar Blues and Waterloo, but guitarist Steven Phoenix is full of praise for Gaddy and the intimate performance space.


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"It's such a neat, unique experience there. It's not a traditional venue, and being original artists, it's often difficult to really be able to connect with your audience with your original material in a pub," Phoenix said. "We're kind of a blend of music that goes from very catchy, dance-y, upbeat stuff to some kind of esoteric pop stuff. You make an emotional connection when you're able to share with somebody in an intimate setting. That's when the words sink in and it's like, 'Wow, that's something that I can relate to.'"

It's a draw for Absolute Vinyl shows that Gaddy is aware of, too. With minimal distractions, it's all about the music.

"If people come, they're coming because they want to hear the music," he said. "There's no alcohol, it's not a big social scene, it's certainly not a meat market, and you don't have to worry about some sullen artist clacking away on his laptop next to you."

The occasion for the re-opening is Absolute Vinyl's strengthened focus on stereo equipment. The shop is no longer selling books, as it was before, but even with the changes, Gaddy said shows will still only happen about once per month.

"The shop is maturing nicely as a business and the amount of time it takes to do a show properly won't go down, because if I'm gonna do it well, which is what I want to do, there's no shortcuts really," he said.

Looking at the past performances, it's clear that Gaddy is careful in his selection. Touring acts like New York City-based Out To Lunch could easily sell a club like Dazzle in Denver, and Gaddy argues that's where they belong. Yet, there they were at Absolute Vinyl. And he's had a wide variety of locals who can book a bigger room as well, but again, here they are.

"It certainly speaks to, I think, the larger qualities of the Front Range music scene," Phoenix said. "There's such a great camaraderie amongst the musicians, from band to band. It's so supportive, there's no competition, we want each other to succeed."

That's the kind of attitude that keeps the live music coming to Absolute Vinyl, and going forward, Gaddy is both grateful for that and staying sharply business-minded.

"I'm happy that [Idlewhile] have outgrown my shop. I'm happy to have them play anytime, but they're just so good, they deserve a big stage," he said. "I'm kind of determining who I want to be in the marketplace and more sharply focusing that. What am I, really, in this little marketplace of venues of in Boulder? I can have my eye on local bands and know what their audience likes and know what they expect. I just want people to have fun and successful experiences."

Idlewhile will have its latest album, Idlewhile Live at the Walnut Room Vol. 1 available during the show, and the shop sells copies regularly. Local artist Laurel Miller will also be on hand Friday evening, showing some of her latest pieces and acting as host, starting at 7 p.m. Gaddy expects the music to get going between 8 and 8:30 p.m. and last until 11 p.m.