Nestled off Oleander Drive in midtown Wilmington, Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern has been bringing acts to the Port City for almost a decade. From the hard-rocking band Thunderlip to the Virginia bluegrass troupe James Justin & Company, a multitude of sounds have taken over the half-foot stage of the dimly lit, cozy dive bar.
Their success has been lauded by local music enthusiasts; so much so that Reggie’s owner Matt Hearn and 98.3 FM The Penguin DJ Eric Parson jumped at the opportunity expand the bar’s musical offerings. They recently converted the adjacent storefront into Reggie’s Records, a vinyl, CD and cassette peddling shop. Reggie’s officially will cut the ribbon for its new addition this Friday, August 29th, with a pop-up art show, “910 Tableau,” at 5 p.m.
Hearn and Parson met several years ago and bonded over a shared lifelong passion for music. Parson formerly worked at local vinyl-staple Gravity Records, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend, but he aspired to operate his own venture. “[I mostly take away] the connections I made, but [if you work] anywhere for seven years you’re bound to learn a thing or two,” Parson tells.
Fate stepped in and the connected space opened up. Though Hearn vacillated between wanting the space for a grocery store or craft-beer locale, he ultimately decided it would be perfect for showcasing records. They quickly took advantage of the opportunity and aim for the establishment to mirror the tavern’s livelihood, which caters to all the Port City’s subcultures.
“The shop will be an extension of our personalities and everyone that works, shops and hangs out here,” Parson elaborates. “I think the biggest thing that sets us apart is that we share a building with a bar and a venue.”
Despite notions that the records are becoming obsolete, Parson and Hearn have noted a significant resurgence of interest in vinyls over the past few years. They plan to capitalize on the back-en-vogue medium by creating an intimate environment, wherein browsers can idly scan the store’s catalogue in a comfortable setting. “[A perfect record store is] a place that feels like home, and [one in which] you never leave empty handed,” he proclaims.
Parson and Hearn have merged their muses to create the store’s catalogue. Among some of the selections available upon opening will be: Misfits, Screeching Weasel, Superchunk, Dwarves, Night Marchers, The Queers, Black Lips, Jay Reatard, Kelley Stoltz, Slayer, Graveyard, Pallbearer, Barbara Streisand, and Barry Manilow. Their selections will cover the bases of all genres; however, the duo’s own tastes certainly will be ever-present.
“Since we’re stocking the shop we can personally get behind just about everything in it,” Parson says, “but we are particularly fond of the Ramones. ‘Gabba Gabba Hey!’”
They also plan to continue their support of local and regional outfits. The adjacent venue will allow the team to promote rising artists via concerts and whatever else may tickle their fancy.
In order to celebrate their opening, they have enlisted the help of Wilmington artist Zak Duff (Thrive Studios Collective). Duff is responsible for the mural on the backside of the tavern’s exterior. He has assembled a group of nearly two-dozen artists from Thrive and around town.
“The ‘910 Tableau’ pop-up art show is a one-day-only showcase of artwork from a bunch of artists that we know and love,” Duff explains. “In a way it’s the visual art equivalent of the record store: It’s a reflection of the type of people that frequent Reggie’s and make it such a great place. We wanted to give all of those creative people an opportunity to share what they create with others who might not otherwise be exposed to it.”
The show will feature posters from Poster Hound Family Workshop, the work from tattoo and flash artists, graffiti, drawings, paintings, skateboards, and prints. All works will be primed for purchase. “There are so many different creative scenes in Wilmington that we’re hip to,” Duff adds, “and we’re hoping to have representation from all of them.”
The evening also will include barbecue, prepped by Adam Thompson (former member of local bands Fire Parade and White Tiger and the Bed of Roses). Folks can enjoy the food while pursuing the artists’ work and listening to records spun by Parson. The event is free and will allow patrons to spend their money on inexpensive pours and loads of artwork. “We wouldn’t dare charge people for being awesome,” Duff proclaims. “The support of the community is way more important than a couple bucks at the door.”
The spirit of the art show perfectly sums up Reggie’s Records mission statement, according to Parson: “Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!”
Pop-Up Underground Art Show
Reggie’s 42nd St. Tavern
1415 S. 42nd St.
Fri., Aug. 30th, 5 p.m. • Free