Former White Stripes frontman opens first UK store

The former White Stripes frontman Jack White opened his first UK store in London on Saturday.

Personally designed by White, Third Man Records consists of a two-floor retail space, intimate live venue ‘The Blue Basement’ and operates as a European headquarters for the brand.

It is is located on Marshall Street in Soho, an area with a rich musical history and the birthplace of Swinging London in the 1960s.

Third Man Records co-founder Ben Blackwell, 39, was there to oversee proceedings, and was pleased with how the opening went.

He said: “I would say the day was just about as magical as I could’ve ever hoped.

“I definitely thought there’d be fewer people, from fewer places. So many folks travelled to be there, one guy came from Finland!

“Overall I’m just delighted with how the shop turned out, how fans turned up and the world tuned in.”

This is the third physical outlet for the label and the first outside of the USA, following the first store and US headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee and the second in White’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

It has been created with the aim of creating a physical space to help keep record sales and live performances alive after such a tough period.

Third Man released several limited vinyl releases available exclusively in-store to coincide with the opening, one from The White Stripes and others from UK artists including Paul Weller and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The store also contains many quirks and idiosyncrasies including a yellow London telephone box and a recording booth where customers can record themselves direct to vinyl.

Hundreds of fans queued up around the block for the 10am opening, with some queuing up overnight and from the early hours.

After making their purchases, customers were cryptically advised by staff that it may be worth their while to stay in the area.

Once the store closed at 5pm, word spread that White may make an appearance and fans filled the street outside the store in anticipation.

The guitar virtuoso eventually appeared to play an intimate set in the basement venue to the first 40 people from the queue who had received tickets earlier in the day.

After concluding the set, White re-emerged and passed through his numerous and loyal fans to perform a second set from an adjacent balcony owned by artist Damien Hirst.

BALCONY PERFORMANCE: White performs at the opening

With the backing of bassist Dominic Davis and drummer Daru Jones, he played a five-song set of crowd-pleasers from his over 20 year career.

Songs included The White Stripes’ Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground and The Raconteurs’ Steady As She Goes.

White addressed residents of the neighbourhood mid-set, acknowledging the disturbance he was creating.

He said: “I wanna play a song to all the neighbours we’re upsetting now, to the neighbours we’re about to be friends with.”

He then proceeded to play the mellow White Stripes song We’re Going to Be Friends.

The day concluded with the anthem Seven Nation Army, as the crowd in the street and those watching from the roofs and windows of the surrounding buildings chanted along with its fuzz-heavy riff.

Third Man Records can be found at 1 Marshall Street, Soho, London, W1 9BA.

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