MarchFourth Marching Band
Genre-busting. Cinematic. Community-driven. Sonically and visually stunning. Unified and diverse.
MARCHFOURTH (M4) is a date, a command, and a large band poised to take on the world. How do you define the experience of a MarchFourth show? What kinds of images emerge when you listen to their eponymous nine-song debut disc? Imagine Duke Ellington meets Sgt. Pepper, in an international big-top Fantasia evoking a familial community reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. Imagine a 1920s speakeasy where Mr. Bungle meets the Shogun Warriors in a PG Clockwork Orange. M4 is not just for hipsters and adults … the kids and grandparents love it too!
MarchFourth Marching Band got its name by accident, when a bunch of artists and musicians in northeast Portland decided to put a marching band together for a Fat Tuesday party (March 4th, 2003), originally performing a seven-song set of tunes that included covers of Rebirth Brass Band, Fela Kuti, and Fleetwood Mac. The band's gigs in the following weeks - a peace rally and opening slots with the Youngblood Brass Band and Pink Martini - cemented the group as a unit. Since then, M4 has performed over 300 shows for just about every type of audience imaginable. Without guitars or keyboards, M4 rocks with the best of them, swirling the audience with an over-the-top explosion of performance and charisma.
MarchFourth Marching Band has evolved into a mobile big-band spectacular, consisting of a twelve-piece horn section (4 saxophones, 4 trombones, and 4 trumpets), a ten-piece drum/percussion corps, and anchored by electric bass (battery powered). The sound is huge, melodic, and dynamic, taking audiences on a musical journey around the globe. MarchFourth writes and performs its own material, and also draws inspiration from an eclectic range of worldwide influences, such as Eastern European gypsy brass, samba, funk, afro-beat, big-band, jazz, and rock music, as well as television, film, circus, and vaudeville.
Stilt-walkers, unicycles, fire eaters, puppets, flag twirlers, burlesque dancers, clown antics, and acrobatics are just some of the things one will see accompanying this eclectic big band. MarchFourth Marching Band's four stilt-walkers are world-class, performing acrobatics, dance routines, and even fire dancing on stilts - all in fanciful costumes. The other six beauties can fill the stage with mesmerizing original dance routines (inspired by styles such as bellydance, hip-hop, jazz, cheerleading, burlesque, and ballroom) or spread out into the audience and get everybody dancing. The musical quality, the energy of the band, and the spectacle of the dancers all combine to create an original performance that appeals to everyone.
To MarchFourth Marching Band, art is life. Aside from being performers, the members of MarchFourth are also full- or part-time artists, designers, and craftspeople. All of our drum harnesses (welded from recycled bicycle parts), stilts, costumes, merchandise, audio, and visual propaganda are designed and produced by members of the band. In addition, we also conduct workshops for children and adults in the areas of musical instruction, stilt-walking, fire-spinning, make-up, and costuming.
One of the biggest things that sets M4 apart from other bands is that its impact is immediate and infectious, with an audience demographic that is wider than the average rock, pop, jazz, or jam band. From the hippest to the most un-hip, from conservative to liberal, from infant to elderly: all walks of life have been seen enjoying MarchFourth. All agree that M4 is one of the most exciting acts emerging out of the Northwest, and that the band is already performing at a national-level caliber.
Into its fourth year, MarchFourth has played 100s of shows, including performances with Fleetwood Mac, No Doubt, Kiss, Blink-182, Pink Martini, Art Alexakis (Everclear), Southern Culture on the Skids, String Cheese Incident, Galactic, the Neville Brothers, Antibalas Afro-Beat Orchestra, Dresdon Dolls, El Vez, Pepe & The Bottle Blondes, The Yard Dogs Traveling Road Show, The Youngblood Brass Band, and DJ Doc Marten.
MarchFourth has also appeared at the High Sierra Music Festival, MusicfestNW, Lightning in a Bottle Festival, Northwest Folklife Festival, The Oregon Country Fair, Waterfront Blues Festival, New Belgium Brewery's Tour de Fat, Meltdown Festival, World Cup Fan Fest (Hamburg, Germany), Altonale Festival of Cultures (Altona/Hamburg, Germany), Carnival of Culture (Bielefeld, Germany), Artown Reno, Rosie Awards, Salem Worldbeat Music Festival, Shambala Music Fest (B.C. Canada), PICA's TBA Festival, OMSI, Anon Salon's Sea of Dreams, Alberta Street Fair & Art Hop, First & Last Thursdays, and numerous street parades and benefits.