With a rallying cry of “JOY NOW!” MarchFourth Marching Band (known as M4 by its growing legion of fans) throws itself and the audience into a swirling volcano of high-energy music and spectacle. What began as a Fat Tuesday party March 4, 2003 in Portland, Ore. has become a live national touring act. The band will march into Nevada City for an 8 p.m. Friday concert at Miners Foundry Cultural Center.
Aside from the band’s marching band themed costumes, percussion corps and brass, M4 is far from a “marching band” in any traditional sense (though the band has been known to parade down Main Street before taking the stage). M4 is anchored by funky electric bass, and has been evolving into a more guitar- and vocal-driven musical experience. In one 90-minute set the band will take you on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the gypsy camps of eastern Europe to the African jungle by way of Brazil, along the way stopping to sample the deepest grooves of the best of American funk, rock, jazz and boiling it all together in cinematic fashion with high-stepping stilt-acrobatics and sexy dancers. This genre-busting approach is usually the territory of DJs, but this band is real people making music and art in real time—and every show is different.
At the core of the band is its DIY ethic. The band has been writing and arranging all of its own material, designing and fabricating its own costumes and merchandise, developing its own choreography and managing itself from Day One.
MarchFourth is akin to a team sport with a roster of nearly 30 performers to choose from, though the band tours with approximately six horns, five drummers, bass, guitar, and four dancers/stiltwalkers.
With so many members and writers, M4′s influences are all over the map, but fans of Sgt Pepper, Duke Ellington, Gogol Bordello, Ozomatli, and Cirque Du Soleil would likely feel at home in the audience. MarchFourth has shared the stage with a wide variety of acts, including Pink Martini, Budos Band, Balkan Beat Box, Trombone Shorty, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Beats Antique, Bassnectar, Antibalas, Melvin Seals and JGB, The Motet, Hot Buttered Rum, and Yard Dogs Road Show. The band has also been climbing the festival roster, with return appearances at Wakarusa, Bumbershoot, Voodoo Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, High Sierra, Wanderlust, Lotus World Music Festival, and Strawberry Music Festival, as well as recently appearing on ESPN’s Espy Awards (Los Angeles) and WGN-TV (Chicago).
Festivities begin 8 p.m. with fire spinners and dancers from the acclaimed Beyond Fire Tribe. Local band The Earles of Newtown will open the show with their unique blend of Dixieland jazz, classic ragtime, country swing, wailing blues and genre-defying originals.
Tickets are $22 in advance, $26 at the door and $32 for limited reserve seating. Tickets are available online at www.minersfoundry.org, by phone at 530-265-5040, or in person at Miners Foundry and BriarPatch Co-Op.