The Groove Abides: M4 In Concert, 1/25

M4-01March Fourth Marching Band was born on Mardi Gras, which fell on the fourth day of March in 2003. And that’s how easy it was to name the band. M4, as its legions of devotees refer to the band, is a calamitous, happy mélange of brass, funk, fire and acrobatic spectacle. If you’ve never beheld this swirling, strutting, colorful stage show, consider yourself bereft – for now. The circus is rolling into town Saturday, January 25 for a hullabaloo at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village at 9 p.m. It is the first installment of the Sheridan Arts Foundation‘s and Telluride Conference Center‘s joint venture: the Winter Music Series, also featuring Leftover Salmon (2/16) and Steel Pulse (3/20).

From the very first time M4 took the stage in our little corner of the world, we’ve been smitten. Local promoter and music-lover Steve Gumble made the discovery in 2012 and booked them without hesitation for his Telluride Blues and Brews Festival the same year.

These Portland, Oregon-based merry pranksters pour out a raucous and uplifting blend of gypsy allure, Louisiana swamp funk, Afrobeat and Brazilian jungle vibes all rooted in traditional marching band instrumentation. Well, tradition turned on its ear.

Stilt walkers and dancers are part of this wildly adorned troupe and they travel with eight horns, five drummers, a guitarist and one very funky bassist pinning it all down. Flags twirl, fire whirls, drums insist you jump up and down and the brass makes you move your … you know. M4 writes and arranges all their material, creates their costuming and choreography and is essentially DIY all the way.

There’s something of the Pied Piper in these deeply talented, energetic musicians. In keeping with the ‘Marching Band’ part of their name, they are wont to start a parade, one whose inclusive, happy sound insists you leave all notion of spectating behind and, instead, join in the fun. Don’t be surprised if, while they’re in town, you find yourself following a tuba player and a stilt-walker down Main Street.

The good folks at the Sheridan Opera House are no fools when it comes to giving the people what they want. To accommodate the band’s robust numbers and to give fans more room to get sweaty, they booked this show for the Conference Center in Mountain Village. The extra room will be well worth the effort to make that chilly gondola journey up and over the mountain to see the show.

General admission tickets are $20 general admission (plus a ticketing fee) or $35 for VIP access with private seats and a private bar. The show begins at 9 p.m. and the doors are at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available at: www.sheridanoperahouse.com

While a video can go only so far to capture the visual, aural and Oh Wow factor that March Fourth brings to the stage, this will have to do until you find yourself in their happy midst.

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