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Summer Stars: March Fourth Marching Band
Leaving John Philip Sousa in the history books, the March Fourth Marching Band (M4) looks to New Orleans, Brazil and Eastern European brass band traditions for inspiration. The Portland, Ore.-based collective of musicians, artists, craftspeople and acrobats formed in 2003 for a Fat Tuesday party on March 4. The night was so much fun that members started practicing weekly. The next thing you know, they had bought a tour bus on Ebay.
“M4 is an organic dance machine, and our aim is to boogie,” says bandleader and electric bassist John Averill. “Our costumes reflect a marching band aesthetic and our stilt walkers add a carnival vibe. But, at the end of the day, we’re a modern big band that likes to rock the monster grooves while exploring different genres of music.”
Looking like a cross between a Girl Talk gig and a high school pep rally, the band’s YouTube videos of hot sweaty crowds provide substantial evidence. But audiences aren’t limited to late night revelers alone—the group’s large list of tunes and versatility allows it to perform kids’ shows, too.
“I could probably write a book on the social experiment aspect of M4,” Averill adds. “Let’s just say that we’ve survived the long haul by keeping our focus on joy and riding the waves of chaos.”
Appearing at: Wakarusa, Columbia Festival of the Arts, Vancouver Island Music Festival, Telluride Jazz Celebration, Musikfest and more.