Genre-busting. Cinematic. Community-driven. Sonically and visually stunning. Unified and diverse.
MarchFourth 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 kind of images emerge when you listen to their eponymous 9-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 1920's 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 it's name by accident when a bunch of artists and musicians in NE Portland decided to put a marching band together for a Fat Tuesday party (March 4th, 2003), originally performing a 7-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 12-piece horn section (4 saxophones, 4 trombones, & 4 trumpets), a 10-piece drum/percussion corps, 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 you’ll 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 us apart from other bands is that M4's impact is immediate and infectious, with an audience demographic that is wider than your 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 NW, and that the band is already performing at a national-level caliber.