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Back to Basics

Disaster March fashions punk without pomp.

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You're not sure what to expect when the Disaster March takes the stage. In one corner is guitarist Matt Chalko, clad in a white T-shirt and jeans, black guitar hanging casually from his shoulder. Opposite him stands bassist Dan Lutz, looking like a younger Jay minus sidekick Silent Bob. Behind the traps, Bryan Robinson sits quietly, almost pensive, awaiting the arrival of vocalist Kevin Schlappal. There is a moment of calm as Schlappal, clad in a black hoodie, makes his way to the middle of the stage.

It's erased a moment later, as the bandmates open their set with inescapable fury; it's as though they plugged into a loud, riotous good time. Schlappal half-sings, half-barks the melody of the first number, and before the song is over, he has discarded the hoodie (revealing a black T-shirt) and begun dancing in place, mic in hand, cord wrapped around his wrist.

Chalko strums basic three-chord riffs, but the sound is anything but repetitious -- in fact, it's wonderfully catchy. Beneath it all, Lutz and Robinson keep the beat loose but steady. At the refrain, each member shouts along with Schlappal, microphone or no. They sound like the Clash might, if Joey Ramone took over vocal and lyrical duties, and the mix is downright infectious. "I'm not gonna talk much, because it's boring. Here's more music," says Schlappal before introducing the number "Enjoy the View."

The band doesn't do much in the way of theatrics, letting the music speak for itself. While there may be minimal interaction with the audience, there is maximum response as many people dance or nod along to the clockwork rhythm banged out by Lutz and Robinson. The intensity grows as the set closes with "Graham Bell," a rollicking, hard-pounding number that encapsulates the band's loose, carefree attitude.

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