If a band touts themselves as a former Burning Man Marching Band Champion, that should be enough of a tease. And they lived up to their title Sunday night at The State Room. The nearly 20-piece Portland-based ensemble (which, at times, can exceed 30 members) treated everyone to a variety-show-induced dance-heavy evening of entertainment.
Eclectic seems an understatement, even with the absence of fire dancers, puppeteers (of human puppets), hula-hoopers and the like—customary at festivals. They did have a full ensemble of drum corps, horns, stilters, dancers, along with your standard rock ‘n’ roll accouterments. The crew—clad in burlesque-esque, neo-marching-band, hipster uniforms (that showed off skin and tattooes)—is anything but a gimmick. Running the gamut from solid funk and Afrobeat to big band jazz and ska to straight ahead rock, the music rollicked, as did the rowdy, dancing crowd.
“Dancing” might also be an understatement. The sweating, loose fans, as directed by the band, danced like a bunch of maniacs. At one point, two shakers were chosen to compete in a dance-off onstage. “Blue Steel”—as named by the band—displayed an arsenal of impressive moves, more so than the band had seen all tour.
To talk about a setlist seems irrelevant because March Fourth Marching Band is an experience. Songs don’t especially matter, in fact, nothing matters—all cares fade to dust—when a music performance so dynamic and, well, funky takes control for an evening.
If you missed them this tour, they’ll be hitting numerous festivals this summer and will be back to Salt Lake City in the Fall.