Sidewalk Chalk Brings Chicago Sound to ISIS

Chicago-based group, Sidewalk Chalk, played at ISIS Restaurant & Music Hall on Thursday, Jan. 27th. The band’s two-part performance blended sounds of hip-hop, soul, funk and jazz.

The show is part of a fourteen-stop winter tour that covers the Southern United States. Citing inspiration from Outkast, De La Soul, and the contemporary Chicago music scene. Emcee Rico Sisney, the band’s frontman, said that their sound is part of a instrumental hip-hop style that is forged out of the unique melting pot of their hometown.

“I think Chicago definitely has something special happening,” Sisney said.

According to Sisney, poets, singers, rappers, instrumentalists and other artists have a free flowing dynamic of interchanging ideas that help build the city’s musical identity. Interdisciplinary cultivation is fundamental to the overall sound Chicago.

“Everybody is kind of doing everything,” Sisney said, “and everybody is listening to everything”

With a live act that includes rap freestyles, trombone solos, and occasional tap dancing routines, the group spends most of their time tweaking and improving their performances. According to Sisney, playing music is a release for them, and they hope for the audience to feel what they feel.

“We love doing this,” Sisney said “that’s our bread and butter”



Sisney catches some air during the performance.


David Ben-Porat and Sam Trump make up the horn section.


Sisney asked the audience to contribute items that he could use during a freestyle rap session.



Band members Maggie Vagle and Rico Sisney.