Punk store

‘The full spectrum’ of punk on display at Fulcrum Records show

KISS THE MIKE <br>San Diego’s Altaira kicks around a few CDs at Fulcrum Records.

San Diego’s Altaira kicks around a few CDs at Fulcrum Records.

Photo By Tom Angel

Tiltwheel, Dukes of Hillsborough, Altaira and Botox
Fulcrum Records
Wed., May 19

It’s a transitional time for Fulcrum Records.

Owner Rene Stephens is in the process of shifting the small space’s focus from selling music to hosting music. She plans on building a stage toward the back of the store and is moving the CDs and other merchandise to the front of the store. Last Wednesday’s punk show was a testament to the kind of all-ages rock we can probably look forward to hearing more of in the near future.

As the only local band slated to play that night, Botox opened the show well. Special guest Justin Cash appeared on guitar to accompany the regular two-piece consisting of Brad Lambert (of Gruk) on bass and Trenton Reiche on drums.

Now, a Botox performance is unlike any musical experience you’ve ever had. It goes something like this:

Brad: “This is a song about Justin being back and us rocking.”

(The band bangs out 30 seconds of the most unrehearsed metal-y punk rock you’ve ever heard, with Lambert growling into the mike.)

Trenton: “This is a song for everyone who should be at home writing papers tonight.”

(Repeat 30-second metal-y punk performance.)

The best part of Botox (because it’s obviously not the musicality) is the banter between songs. It was just three musicians rocking out without any repercussions, and the crowd absolutely loved them.

Botox is a challenging act to follow, and San Diego natives Altaira may not have been up to the challenge. The band was almost the Chico band’s antithesis—mixing undistorted, indie-rock guitar parts with only slightly scratchier punk vocal styling. Even though Altaira was a pleasantly polished blue-collar punk quartet, it didn’t mesh well with the traditionally messy DIY Chico scene.

But while Altaira almost pushed the crowd outside, the Dukes of Hillsborough drew them right back in. These three bearded rockers from Tampa, Fla., just laid it down—pure rock and no inhibitions. They took over Fulcrum for that half-hour, thrashing back and forth with screeching vocals and fast double-bass drum beats.

The Dukes were so impressive, in fact, that they were kind of the culminating event of the evening. It was getting late, term papers were due for many in the morning, and a huge chunk of the crowd cleared out after the band’s last song. In fact, when final band Tiltwheel was setting up, this reviewer was the only one still inside the record store.

But the San Diego band didn’t seem to mind that they might play to an audience of one. These guys looked like seasoned veterans of the punk rock scene—complete with ratty T-shirts and beer bellies—and they had the kind of perfectly synchronized sound that comes from playing many, many drunken shows together. Tiltwheel pulled off a short but sweet set that put a cap on a night that showcased the full spectrum of punk’s capabilities.