South of the River Record Fair is an event organised by BelowBeyond, just a fan of music who seemed to have decided to send a call to interested distros and artists to showcase what they are creating and selling at the back of Amersham Arms, a bar in south London near New Cross station.
The event started at 12:00 and finished at 17:00 on a Sunday which left plenty of time for people to get out of bed and inspect the boxes and tables on the few tables. The room at the back of the Amersham Arms isn’t very big but it’s large enough to put three rows of two tables and three more around to give people enough space to walk around and check out everything. I went very early but the event was already nicely attended and the playlist started with Crusher destroyer from Mastodon‘s Remission, selected by Kunal Singhal from Chaos Theory who provided the playlist. A sure sign of quality for an event for « record buying, chin wagging, and drinking ».
After the UK Record Fair at London Victoria, I was anxiously waiting to find a place where I could get my hands on some music to my liking outside of a show and the South of the River Record Fair provided exactly what I was looking for. If you are a reader of this website, you will find here the records you are looking for. Heavy Ritual Records provided an excellent selection of Doom, Sludge and some Hardcore records from notable labels like Relapse Records (Inter Arma, Cough…), Southern Lord (Baptists, SunnO)))), Deathwish (Bossk), or more obscure ones like Soul Seller Records (Tombstones). SuperFire Records provided a good selection of Crust (Morser), Grindcore (Agathocles, Maruta) and Sludge (Birushanah). Tome Records, DIY space for London‘s record store, rounded out the selection with a more diverse set of styles available, from Techno to Jazz and Rap with, of course, some Metal, Punk and Hardcore. Two other distros, whose name I don’t remember, were there too and offered a more broad selection of Rock record for one while the other had brought some rare Jazz and Rock records. To diversify the event a bit, Keatez also had some art available and Carry On Screaming offered some band merchandise and patches. All in all, a good selection of genres and prices for fans of music and not only for record collectors.
I felt right at home in this space and instantly wished I had attended the first edition and hoped a third one will take place in the upcoming months. London is not the best place for Heavy music at the moment. Only All Ages Records provides a selection of Hardcore and Punk records but they cannot carry everything that is available. At South of the River Record Fair I found again the record store experience I was missing. A place where you can get the music you want, without cringing at the price and, most importantly, talk about the music with an appropriate soundtrack.
I left with the latest album from the Metal hardcore legend, Ringworm (Snake church), the latest from Canadian Crusties in Baptists, (Bloodmines), Trap Them‘s Crown feral reviewed last week here and Yusef Lateef, The Centaur and the Phoenix, a Jazz legend from the late 1950 and onward until 2012. I could have left with tons more and this is exactly how you should feel after getting some new music: Impatient to listen to the new music and excited to listen to some more.