“Joy now” is a pretty good mantra.
Conceived to celebrate Fat Tuesday by a group of musicians in Portland, Oregon, marching band MarchFourth bring the joy.
The massive band tours with 14 musicians, composed of a full horn section, five percussionists, and an electric bass and guitar. Integrating elements of the uninhibited spirit of Mardis Gras culture with funk, ska, jazz, and a vast array of other musical influences, the group has professional dancers and stilt walkers tour with them.
“We are a rock band with theatrical elements,” said bandleader and bassist John Averill.
All performers don post-apocalyptic costumes that look like Hell’s Angels commandeered a travelling circus. Their performance is utterly unique, from the sonic assault of the drum section to the dancers on stage to a number where the trumpet player teaches the audience Bollywood dance moves during a breakdown. The band is never staying put.
“To really find the groove together at any given moment you have to move and dance,” said Averill. “We do a lot of stepping in rhythm dancing while you play to get an idea of what the actual groove is as opposed to following one instrument.”
Incredibly, in spite of the complexity of putting together a show with so many moving pieces, Averill changes the set list every night and provides lot of opportunities for members of the band to improvise in the songs.
In the end, MarchFourth wants every concert to be something new for everyone.
“No two shows have ever been the same in this band,” said Averill.
The MarchFourth Marching Band at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets, (718) 963–3369, www.brooklynbowl.com]. Nov. 17, 6 pm doors, 8 pm show, $10.