MarchFourth is a genre-breaking force of entertainment. This explosion of brassy funk, rock, and jazz emanates from fifteen or so performers: musicians, acrobats, stilters and more, touring the country year-round, stealing the festival wherever they appear, taking audiences on a joy-inducing, booty-shaking, soul-stirring journey that defies categorization. Word on the street: You have to see it to believe it!
In April 2015, MarchFourth musicians traveled to New Orleans and spent ten days recording at The Parlor Recording Studio, making their fourth studio album, MAGIC NUMBER, their first in over five years. With Producer Ben Ellman (Galactic) and Engineer/Producer Mikael “Count” Eldridge (DJ Shadow, Tycho, Galactic, Trombone Shorty) at the helm, this album is full of the captivating grooves and brassy swagger you have come to expect from M4, plus a healthy dose of New Orleans magic, with guest appearance by Trombone Shorty, Stanton Moore (drums), and Matt Perrine (sousaphone). The album was fan-funded through Kickstarter and was independently released on September 30, 2016.
“MAGIC NUMBER represents a shift in the band’s musical evolution, featuring more vocals and guitar than our previous records.” Founding member and band leader, John Averill, who also sings and plays electric bass says, “It is also the first record by “MarchFourth” (although we can still be found on Spotify, CD Baby and iTunes as "March Fourth Marching Band")".
“From the first note to the last, the sound was pumping and the fun never stopped,” exclaimed USA Today. “It’s worth noting that there are serious musicians behind all the fun. I was a music major in college and it’s obvious these guys (and gals) have had lots of training and formal practice. Talented band geeks turned rebels. When one of the horn players steps up to improvise a solo, you know it’s going to be a treat.”
“Working with a large group of talented songwriters and musicians in M4 made the project go really smoothly. Wherever the band goes they sort of set up camp… that led to a really creative working communal environment.” Producer Ben Ellman states, “It's always exciting to work with a band that is open to experimentation and different possibilities. MarchFourth came in wanting to expand their sonic pallet from what they've done previously.”
Widely recognized for the allure of their live show, MarchFourth breaks ground with their music in the forefront on MAGIC NUMBER.
On the heals of our 14th Anniversary, #MarchFourth is thrilled to announce that we have joined forces with Madison House with Tynan Conroy as our new booking agent!
Constantly looking to re-invent and improve our game on and off stage, we decided to move to #MadisonHouse. With a roster of acts that we are humbled to be aligned with (like the Pimps of Joytime who we just rocked CO, WY, MO, WA, OR, NV and CA with), and a true finger on the pulse of music and festival culture, we are excited to see what new opportunities and fresh ideas we will create with Tynan and his team.
We also want to offer our sincerest thanks and appreciation to Mark Lourie and our good friends at Skyline Music. Seven years ago they saw the possibilities of this Magnificent Beast, M4, and despite our numbers, which were 25 or 30 on the road when we first started, they took us on. Mark has been a true friend and loyal fan from the start. Without his commitment and hard work we could never have developed into the band we are today.
By Andrew Wyatt www.nysmusic.com
They put their socks on one at time like the rest of us, but that pretty much is where the resemblance to ordinary folks like us ends. Some have speculated that they could be aliens from another planet-perhaps set on this planet as interstellar ambassadors of a higher universal groove. They, on occasion, have referred to themselves, quite cheerfully, as freak of nature.
March Fourth 3
The official nomenclature for this merry band of mischief-makers is March Fourth, a band of about 20 irrepressible pied-pipers of carnival gypsy funk, that stuff themselves, along with trunks of outlandishly colorful, handmade costumes, stilts, mountainous cases of brass and percussion instruments, props, and hats into a well-worn bus with the creaky metaphysics of a vintage World War II submarine, who, then, somehow tumble, flip, shimmy and shake their way across the country determined to blast the lid off every venue they enter as if their music was the equivalent of a giant rainbow confetti cannon.
And, appropriately during the season of Carnivale, Boulder, Colorado fans once again packed the Fox Theatre to experience their unique blend of steampunk celebration staged with the sweaty, gospel fervor of a Mardi Gras revival tent. Throughout the set, acrobats, and stilt-walkers performed a wild series of athletic backflips, jumps, and balancing feats that were as risky as they were eye-popping.
Joining March Fourth on the winter tour, the Pimps of Joytime opened with a soulful set of R&B influenced-funk and acoustic tunes. With the booty-shaking swagger of Sly and the Family Stone, the five-piece band delivered an infectiously energetic set of tunes from their new album, Jukestone Paradise.
So, however one may label this jubilant roadshow or its people, it was, no doubt, a remarkable experience. On second thought, perhaps they don’t put their socks on one at a time. (When they do wear them.) We, mere mortals, may never know for sure.
MarchFourth will be releasing the vinyl version of their latest record, Magic Number, this Friday, March 3rd. The album, which constitutes the massive marching ensemble’s fourth release, was completely crowd-funded and released independently at the tail end of September last year. You can check out some footage of the making of the record below, courtesy of the band.
However, that’s not all that MarchFourth has cookin’ up for fans. The vinyl record release coincides with their fourteenth anniversary, which they’ll celebrate with a giant party spanning two nights on Friday and Saturday at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. Following this celebration, MarchFourth will settle into their recently announced tour with Pimps of Joytime. You can download a track off of MarchFourth’s Magic Number and check out the band’s upcoming tour dates below or via the band’s website.
MarchFourth 2017 Tour Dates
2.28 Pink Garter – Jackson Hole, WY
3.1 Top Hat – Missoula, MT
3.2 Showbox – Seattle, WA
3.3 Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
3.4 Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR (Matinee & evening show)*
3.7 Hi-Fi Music Hall – Eugene, OR
3.8 Arcata Theatre – Arcata, CA
3.9 Miners Foundry Cultural Center – Nevada City, CA
3.10 Crystal Bay Club and CasinoCrown Room – Crystal Bay, NV
3.11 Fillmore – San Fran, CA
3.12 Redding Veteran’s Memorial Hall – Redding CA
*No Pimps of Joytime
MarchFourth: Magic Number
By: Wayan Zoey for Relix
Maintaining a large band is a daunting proposition, yet MarchFourth has kept their 20ish-piece ensemble on the road for 13 years and counting on the strength of their dynamic and circus-esque live show—recording their previous three albums in sporadic bursts during their brief moments of downtime, mostly at home in Portland, Ore. Choosing to mix things up for their fourth effort, the band carved 10 days out of their schedule to spend at The Parlor Recording Studio in New Orleans with Galactic’s Ben Ellman at the helm. Accordingly, this is a tighter and more cohesive collection of tunes than their prior freewheeling and diverse recorded output. The sounds of New Orleans permeate through all the songs, especially on the Stanton Moore-assisted “Push It Back” (co-produced by engineer Mikael “Count” Eldridge), and the compact arrangements leave plenty of space for all the instruments to breathe and for the players to express their personalities. It’s not all second lines and off-the-one funk though, as the band gets their Dirty South on with “Hotstepper,” and both the title track and “Drunk Bears” harken back to the “Marching Band” days, the former featuring uncharacteristically prominent vocals. Unlike other releases, Magic Number doesn’t quite capture the controlled chaos of M4’s live presentation, but that’s one of this album’s biggest strengths. Instead of attempting to channel alien transmissions through 15 instruments—which works much better when accompanied by a troupe of dancers and stilt-walkers—the band’s narrow focus results in a solid funk record.
Read more: https://www.relix.com/reviews/detail/marchfourth_magic_number#ixzz4SCplRN9c
MarchFourth Rocks Off Concert Cruise for Live Music News and Review
By: Miles Hurley
I won’t say much about The Jewel, the decked out vessel carrying the special rock shows within around the New York Harbor. It’s all done up really nice, and if you’re close by, it’s something to experience if you haven’t.
The boat nudged off and MarchFourth members meandered about the crowd. Clad in their colorful and comic, salty attire, there was an buzz about what presence was about to display itself in short time.
This band is a twenty-piece monstrous cocktail from Portland, OR mixing equal parts rock and New Orleans-minded funk. Marching bands, at last the traditional ones that play on academic grass-fields, are known for their big and bold sound, and this group is no exception. From note one they demonstrated how huge they could make themselves sound.
Check out the gallery of photos here.
The first set was a sampling platter of their latest album, Magic Number, which displays a melding of heavier, feeling-bad sort of songs with tunes of snappier rhythms, even twisting up into throwback ska with “Oak St. Ska.” For awhile what I noticed first was the hard-edge feel of the guitar and bass, which hold up the band’s cool rock band side, but the latter of which also really stayed the center of the whole night’s suave jazzy feel. The end of this portion of the night was probably the only time in my life I’d say something like “that Destiny’s Child tune was pretty awesome.”
About three-quarters of the way towards the end of the show—maybe halfway through set 2—MarchFourth’s night on The Jewel descended into whimsical madness. If dancers weren’t piggy-backing on top of band members, they were tangoing with audience members or sliding across the floor. Musicians circled around and traded their stage positions without any discernable sense of order. Propelling this swirling, fever dream of a night was simply musicians and audience having so much fun in the moment.
Somehow this all managed to happen without any compromise of the music. At the center of all the colorful frenzy is mighty fine musicianship, not least of all the horn section (arguably the the trademark of the “marching band”). When they weren’t part of the dynamic wall of sound from the back, members stepped down to the front to showcase their chops. Often, their solos were the thing that led the rest of the band on a particular song to an whole, higher level. And that’s the sort of musicianship you feel lucky to experience at a show like this. One member in particular played a sax almost as big as her, did this every time she was front and center.
From the March Fourth youtube channel.
And never lost was the grand, slow building of energy from small at the start to huge by the end. “Push it Back,” which knocked me over in particular, was an incredible, drawn-out groove that just went on and on.
It came to a intimate finalized note when the horn and drum section secluded themselves in the center of the crowd, to finish off a welcomed encore cover of “No Diggity.” MarchFourth shows are a party—with a live music playlist on expert level.
Check out their website as they continue their tour on the West Coast, hitting several dates in CO, CA, OR and WA.
Oak St. Ska
Say My Name
Push it Back
It’s a Trap
MarchFourth Issues A Musical Call To Action On New Album, “Magic Number”
By Rex Thomson at Live for Live Music
The madness and mayhem of a MarchFourth live show has been distilled into pure sonic form on their latest release, Magic Number, and it’s quite an amazing feat. Primarily known for their senses shattering performances filled with costumes, acrobatics and costumed finery, the band is more than capable of delivering a solid collection of tunes. Stripped down to their sonic core, MarchFourth shows the big band sound of eras past is more than viable to modern day sensibilities.
Kicking things off with a brassy blast from the horn section “Call To Action” serves as just that for listeners, urging them to their feet and onto the nearest dancing surface. With Galactic sax man Ben Ellman serving as producer, you’d be right in assuming that the album is filled with horn melodies. Ellman corralled fifteen members of the band into New Orleans’ famed Parlor Recording Studio for an intense, compact recording session, resulting in concise, toe tapping numbers like the swirling and energetic opener.
It would be easily understandable and even forgivable if MarchFourth filled Magic Number with rampaging instrumentals, but on “The Quarter Master”, the band slows the tempos and introduces a vocal sensibility that uses echo and chorus to accurately capture the band’s live sound. A vaguely mariachi tinged horn line and an explosively propulsive beat drives the title track while a wise examination of life’s ups and downs and the importance of watching out for each other is relayed. A wicked guitar solo erupts in the center of the track adding diversity and a wicked heaviness thus far untapped, adding fresh dimension and fury
You don’t reach out to one of the standard bearers of the Nawlins funk sound without hoping to add some of that delicious flavor to your own. Tracks like “Push It Back” show these influences, while still retaining the band’s independent spirit. The fuzzy guitar line of “Inventing The Wheel” and the methodically plodding drum beats provide a delicious dichotomy between the follow the leader brass line, before erupting in a harmonica led explosion.
Wound throughout this disc are guest appearances by some of NOLA’s finest, who manage to lend spice without dominating the overall flavor of the band. Legendary drummer Stanton Moore lends his stick work throughout adding to the authenticity of the sound without ever overstating his presence. “Hot Stepper,” an universal dance tune that seems so perfectly suited to serve as sonic shorthand for party music in any film or TV project that one wonders how long it’s going to take for Hollywood to come knocking and shows off the percussionists additions to mix wonderfully.
Thanks to the upbeat nature of the material, MarchFourth’s music is so intrinsically positive that it can’t help but elevate the listener’s spirits on a mental and spiritual level. No song more exemplifies their effect on the psyche than “Science,” whose lyrics urge you to free your mind and soul from the chains of society. The irresistible beat and dynamic arrangement allows each piece of the band to contribute to the composition with their own style, somehow seamlessly uniting for a pure slice of funky positivity.
MarchFourth has much to be proud of on Magic Number. Their decision to go into the studio with a solid deadline and distinctive production plan has resulted in a tight, joyous album. Each song is a celebration of their musical identity, each note coming from a place that is wholly their own. Managing to be both idiosyncratic and universal is an impressive feat by itself, but doing it while maintaining a completely infectious spirit is a move that shows the maturity and comfort of MarchFourth. They are truly modern masters of the big band sound.
Album Review: MarchFourth 'Magic Number' - The Daily Country
Prepare your ears for a sonic delight with MarchFourth’s fourth studio album, Magic Number, which was released on September 30th. Recorded in New Orleans over ten days at The Parlor Recording Studio with producer Ben Ellman (Galactic) and engineer/producer Mikael “Count” Eldridge (Tycho, Trombone Shorty), Magic Number is a groove filled, full throttle explosion of swagger, funk, and joy.
Whether the song is an instrumental (opener “Call To Action”) or includes a vocal (the soulfully hip title track), there is an electricity pulsing through each note and an undeniable sense of exhilaration emanating from the (fifteen or so) players that is downright infectious.
In addition to those regulars, the album features guest spots from percussionist Stanton Moore on the funky “Push It Back” and Trombone Shorty, whose solo ignites the sensational “Inventing The Wheel.” The album also includes the R&B flared “Hotstepper,” the vibrant can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head “Drunk Bears” and “Jan Jar,” which is infused with metal undertones. Magic Number is rounded out with the elevating, energetic “Science (Free Your Mind),” and the mosh pit ready “It’s A Trap” before closing with the gentle “Endless Highway.” Brimming with saxophone, trombone, tuba and trumpet alongside electric guitar and percussion, Magic Number merges different styles into an exuberant and creative tour de force.
Album Reviews: MarchFourth Magic Number
By Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine
Marching bands are not something we typically cover on these pages. Okay, MarchFourth is much more than a marching band but, at 15 members strong, they have some of those elements and used to have that moniker in their name. Apparently, it might be best to characterize this amalgamation as a traveling circus or a brassy funk version of Sun Ra and His Arkestra. The comparison to Sun Ra may actually be rather appropriate given this quote from drummer Stauffer, “I always feel like we are some freaky kind of Jack-in-the-box. Put twenty of us in a 45-foot bus for 6-8 hours a day, then open the door onto a stage and watch us explode!” Stauffer says, “Old greats like Basie and the Duke were some of my first favorite jazz artists in college. I love the fact that I tour and play with all these fantastic horn players and travel around in this bus. We are very much like the big bands of old, except we also have electric guitars, stilt-walkers, acrobats, and a psychedelically wide palette of musical styles and costumery.”
The Portland, OR group traveled to New Orleans to record their fourth studio album with producer Ben Ellman (Galactic) with guest spots from Trombone Shorty, Stanton Moore (Galactic), and Matt Perrine (Bonerama). “Working with a large group of talented songwriters and musicians in M4 made the project go really smoothly. Wherever the band goes they sort of set up camp… that led to a really creative working communal environment.” Producer Ben Ellman states, “It’s always exciting to work with a band that is open to experimentation and different possibilities. MarchFourth came in wanting to expand their sonic pallet from what they’ve done previously.”
“MAGIC NUMBER represents a shift in the band’s musical evolution, featuring more vocals and guitar than our previous records.” Founding member and band leader, John Averill, who also sings and plays electric bass says, “It is also the first record by MarchFourth (we officially dropped the “Marching Band” from our name).” Consider this lineup and try to find a similar band with this instrumentation: Trumpet (2), Trombone (2), Saxophone (5), Drums and Percussion (5), Electric Bass (1) and Guitar (2). The tunes are captivating and grow more infectious with each listen. Although you can sense the fun they are having, it is also clear that these musicians have had plenty of training and formal practice. I find it difficult to compare this to anything else I’ve heard except perhaps the aforementioned Sun Ra’s unit doing their improvisational versions of traditional jazz tunes like “King Porter’s Stomp.” March Fourth, though, writes totally original material which further adds to the intrigue. You’re never sure where the song is going, but somehow the album stays focused and cohesive. There’s no filler here but be sure to listen to these two tracks; “Inventing the Wheel” (featuring a mind-blowing Trombone Shorty solo) and “Science” (featuring Matt Perrine on tuba). This is a big brassy unrelenting tour de force unlike almost anything else you have ever heard.
Hearing Aide: MarchFourth’s “Magic Number”
By Sarah Bourque
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, suddenly a band crosses paths with your ears and changes everything. MarchFourth, a twenty piece band based out of Portland, Oregon, are gearing up for the release of their latest album, Magic Number, on September 30th. Fifteen members of this large ensemble trekked down to New Orleans and spent 10 days in the studio building this titillating album, which was produced by Ben Ellman of Galactic.
Full of auditory goodness, let’s dive right in and examine their long overdue album, that was fan-funded through Kickstarter, track by track. Take a breath before hitting the start button. Things are about to get explosive.
“Call To Action” is jammed with in your face horns that begin nice and steady before blasting off, taking the listener on a brass filled musical escapade. Serious energy from the get go entices listeners to turn that volume dial higher and higher. “The Quarter” slinks into play with smooth tones, funky guitar beats, and playful lyrics before picking things up with “Magic Number.” With a Spanish flair, the song drops listeners into the heart of Mexico, giving the feel that trouble is around the corner. Quick paced, featuring clean trumpet and jazzy guitar, the energy keeps right on rolling.
“Push It Back” is heavy on deep funk guitar tones right off the bat, gluing the song together from beginning to end. With Stanton Moore making a guest appearance on drums, a 70’s vibe is felt, throwing it back to the days of disco balls, feathered hair and bell bottoms. Don’t be surprised when the repeat button is tapped over and over.
If a track would be up to no good, “Inventing the Wheel” would be the perfect musical specimen. This tune is full of attitude, swagger, and stealthily glides along, picking up speed mid-song as if the notes are running to hide from the bad guys. The notes quietly tiptoe back into it’s original swagger, with special guest Trombone Shorty bursting at the seams on the trumpet solo, and Ben Ellman providing harmonica.
“Hotstepper” musically conjures images of a conversation between instruments, with song lyrics refereeing the energy. Danceable and fun, this quick paced jam keeps the party rolling. “Drunk Bears” automatically is lovable by name alone. Hit play and be prepared to jump up and down. The deep, low tones of the baritone sax stand out immediately, grabbing other members of the brass family by the balls to take listeners on a crazy ride.
Mysterious “Jan Jar” has a powerful wanderlust aura dancing around the notes, before “Science (Free Your Mind)” erupts into the ears. Matt Perrine, of Bonerama, hits up the sousaphone on this track that is soaked in New Orleans flavor. This shattering jam would be very much at home marching down the streets of the French Quarter.
Fast paced “It’s a Trap” hints at being more of a brass knuckled punk band with attitude. This speedy tune takes listeners on a roller coaster of a ride, making sure the heartbeat picks up. The album ends on a tender note with “Endless Highway,” shaking off the energy from the explosive beats leading up to this track.
Magic Number is a solid journey of an album, stuffed with intense toe tapping beats and story telling melodies.
MarchFourth has modernized the big band sound to today’s generation; this is an album that should not be missed. For more information on MarchFourth, visit their official website.
Key Tracks: Push It Back, Drunk Bears, Science (Free Your Mind)