Once every month or so, the fine folks at Fat Wreck Chords open their small Record Store to the general public. Located inside their warehouse in San Francisco, you’ll find in-store exclusive vinyl, LPs and CDs from their artists, free beer and maybe even a band playing under the basketball hoop in the warehouse. This past Thursday, TUBE. took a trip to the Fat Record Store for a rather fun afternoon.

Once the doors opened, a dozen or so eager punks filed in to discover which spoils we were in for. On this particular day, the big ticket item was a Store Exclusive Color Vinyl edition of the new Mad Caddies album “Dirty Rice.” Prices for these exclusive records range from $25 for the “Dirty Rice” LP to $100 for the Strung Out Volume One Box Set. Knowing that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes also released their new album “Are We Not Men, We Are Diva!” the same day, there was minor disappointment that there wasn’t a surprise exclusive for that LP as well. When asked if there would be in the future, the gentleman behind the counter said “Ya, I think there will be for them and Masked Intruder for the next store opening in a couple weeks, month or whatever. I don’t know, I hope it’s awhile, I don’t really like doing these.” Pretty typical non-specific answer one would come to expect from the label that is known for doing things on their own terms.

After grabbing “Dirty Rice” as well as Uke-Hunt’s new 7” “SF” and Masked Intruder’s not-yet-released LP “MI” (a major perk of making the trip to the store, getting a highly anticipated album 5 days before its release), it was time to take a look around. The inside of the shop itself is adorned with old NOFX 7”s (one priced at $2k), posters, and merch. To give an idea of its size, the inside of the actual record store is about the size of a pretty nice bathroom. Outside of the shop is a narrow room where free PBR is available and on this occasion, served as merch space for the Night Birds, who were set to play in the back of the warehouse.
About an hour after the doors opened, the crowd was taken out and around the building into the warehouse where the Night Birds were just finishing setting up their gear. The band had played the night before in Sacramento at The Blue Lamp, opening for The Briefs along with local boys Boats!. The Night Birds had a lot of energy and did not hold back. Their set was loud, fast, and enough to prove why this band from New Jersey was added to the Fat roster. This also served as a preview of their set later that night at Thee Parkside, again with The Briefs as well as openers Western Addiction and Ruleta Rusa.

It wasn’t long after the Night Birds finished their raucous set that it was already closing time. Fat Wreck is smart enough to keep these openings in demand by only hosting them every so often, for about 3 hours at a time. They don’t advertise the store openings very much aside from a tweet or Tumblr post, but you can usually find the link on the top of their website too. Last month’s store opening turned out to have free “Stick It In Your Rye” beer and music from The Melvinator (Eric Melvin of NOFX doing his side DJing), so who knows what gems you’ll find next time. If you can get the day off and make the trip, you won’t be disappointed.

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