Chalk Outline for Chalk

On Saturday the Cincinnati music community suffers another punch-in-the-gut loss when inventive ElectroPunk masters Chalk play their final show. The band's last gig -- at Downtown club, Crush -- als

On Saturday the Cincinnati music community suffers another punch-in-the-gut loss when inventive ElectroPunk masters Chalk play their final show. The band's last gig — at Downtown club, Crush — also serves as a release party for the trio's swan song full-length, The Hyperventilating Culture (being issued on local imprint, Tokyo Rose Records). The $7 cover charge also nets you a copy of the disc. Coltrane Motion (formerly local, now based in Chicago) opens the show.

Chalk were always the band you could point your hipster "big city" pals toward if they dared to question the ingenuity of our local music talent. With hyper-spastic rhythms and bug-eyed blurts of thrift-store electronics wrapped around pulsing bass lines, fritzy guitar and slanted vocal freak-outs, Chalk took '80s Post Punk and pumped up the volume, the imagination and the danceability factor. The group picked up where like-minded Dayton deconstructionists Brainiac left off, melding Punk spirit with unbridled, electro-fused creativity. Fittingly, Chalk formed in 1997, the same year Brainiac left us after frontman Tim Taylor died tragically. Reincarnation is pure bullshit, but Taylor's musical soul certainly lives on in the Chalk discography.

The band's three-CD output is fascinating, but seeing Chalk in concert was always an invigorating experience when one started getting angrily bored at the lack of natural showmanship and originality in the local scene.

The tag-team duties of co-frontdudes Dave Rohs and Jim Reynolds included guitar exchanges and frantic button pushing, things that can be show-killers for lesser acts. But the amphetamized enthusiasm the duo showed on stage was communicable (Rohs and Reynolds often seemed to be rallying each other to move faster, reflexively bouncing in place in anticipation of the next song). Then there's Greg Poneris, one of the best drummers in the city based on the sheer personality of his playing alone. Poneris has a machine-like precision that slotted in perfectly with the rag-tag technology, but he also has the excited human touch that kept things from becoming too robotic. Poneris would often leap up from his drum throne after a particularly high-paced song, as if his kit had literally conducted all of the heat stirred up by the band. Live, the band seemed almost possessed; the music played them as much as they played it.

Fans of the group's previous LPs won't be disappointed by The Hyperventilating Culture, which successfully channels all of the uninhibited vigor of their live set. Agitated and frenzied tracks like "Blackout," "Idiot" and "The Will Is Gone" are slathered in mechanical effects and white-hot fuzz, punctuated by bursts of noise and vocal hooks that rattle like a sharp uppercut on a glass jaw. It's all very much in line with what one has come to expect from the band, which perhaps signifies why the end of Chalk is upon us. They've always been jump-out-of-the-closet-in-a-dark-bedroom surprising, but now that they've created their own archetype, perhaps it's best to tear it all down and start over. Whatever projects these guys get their hands into next is sure to be just as enthralling. (tokyoroserecords.com)

More Local Notes
· Psychobilly/Rockabilly trio Rumble Club releases its debut album, Rumble Club Rides Tonight, with a show Saturday in the Southgate House's parlour room. The disc was recorded with legendary producer/engineer Erwin Musper at his new Northern Kentucky studio and features 11 sizzling, high-octane songs that buzz with the spirit of vintage Rockabilly and burn with the fire of classic Punk. (rumbleclubrecords.com)

· Stanley's Pub presents the fourth annual "Stanley's Summer Music Festival" Saturday. The Jam-friendly fest features music from Jerry's Little Band, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Grand Oversoul, John Mullins and Ray's Music Exchange, who recently welcomed seven-string guitar whiz John Gentry Jr. (Da Lemming OnSombol, Heavy Weather) into the fold. Doors open at 4 p.m.

· Sudsy Malone's hosts the second annual Cincinnati Punk & Metal Fest II this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, showcasing the best Punk and Metal this town has to offer. For the full line-up, check CityBeat's music listings or sudsys.com/punkandmetalfest.html.

· After a four-month hiatus, Caterpillar Tracks returns to the local club front on Tuesday for a show at Covington's Mad Hatter (Elliott Ruther, Humans Bow Down and Dropsonic also perform). The band won't be in town for long; in September, they head to Europe for a string of shows. A limited number of Copper Press magazines — which feature a two-disc compilation CD with the Caterpillar Tracks song "The Ambiguous Slippery Slope" — will be available at the show. (phratryrecords.com)

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbree(at)citybeat.com

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