Fest Focus: Marchfourth Marching Band

by Van McNeil

Portland darlings Marchfourth Marching Band will soon bring their special brand of genre-busting big band tunes back to Festival International. Marchfourth, also known as M4, gets the name from the date of their first performance on March 4th, 2003. It may just be a coincidence that this date was also Mardi Gras of that year, but it’s just too perfect to not point out.

M4’s mostly instrumental tracks are a swirling blend of swing, jazz, ska and rock, among many others. It’s music designed to get your feet moving. Their roster is always changing, at times featuring up to 30 performers. There’s no guarantee how many instruments or people will be on stage, but expect a large percussion section, wailing electric guitar, groovin’ bass guitar and a horn section consisting of trombone, trumpet, and saxophone. They’ve no shortage of instruments to get down and dirty with.

The shows are known for being a visual spectacle, a veritable circus of funky energy featuring stiltwalkers, clowns and acrobatics. M4 brings a freshness and unconventionality to each of their shows, making it a point that no two shows are alike. Their DIY attitude is a refreshing aspect of M4.They write all of their own material and develop their choreography as well as design and create their (impressive) costumes. They’ve performed with various artist including Fleetwood Mac, OK Go, Kiss, Blink-182 and fellow festival alumni Beats Antique.

Marchfourth Marching Band will perform April 24 on the Main Stage.

Below is the delightful music video for M4’s single “Shindig.”