The Urban Dictionary defines March Fourth as “On March 4th, people make a special effort to improve their lives, improve themselves and ‘March Forth’ toward their dreams and highest aspirations.” Saturday night at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s South Shore Room, Portland, Oregon’s quirky, talented, and rocking version of a marching band gone mad undoubtedly helped everyone in attendance improve their lives.
MarchFourth actually has been around since 2003. Music acts hate to be pigeonholed and this band leaves you no choice but to throw up your hands and declare that they’re a little bit of a lot of things. One thing they are, is entertaining as hell.
The entire production is a constant whirling dervish of performers, each handling multiple duties. Stage activity is kinetic, as the artists constantly move to different positions onstage to be featured or play supporting roles. Horns rarely drift from dominance of the song selections, providing harmony and punch in addition to solo opportunities. Solo electric guitar work sprinkles in to create some rock and funk edge.
Musically, the ensemble, which changes regularly on different tours, is unerringly solid despite the constant chaos. Timekeeping is anchored at center stage by a grouping of congas, snare and high hat driven by a pair of ladies bracketing an ever smiling gentleman pounding a large tom-tom draped over ample shoulders. Adding to the anything-goes atmosphere are stilt walkers, and choreographed acrobatic feats of balance, strength and dexterity.
There is so much going during a MarchFourth show that one could easily attend three or four in a row and not catch everything.