March Fourth Marching Band
8 p.m., Thursday, May 1
Rialto Theatre 318 E. Congress St.
Listen to a band long enough and you can usually label it with a certain style, a musical leaning that is consistent throughout its catalog. Good luck trying that with the MarchFourth Marching Band. The 20-person ensemble is playing the Rialto Theatre on Thursday, bringing its blend of pretty much every type of music imaginable back to Tucson for the fourth time since 2011. Formed 11 years ago in Portland, Ore. this group melds jazz, funk, Afro-beat, samba, big-band, rock and several other styles into one all-inclusive performance, complete with scantily clad dancers and stilt walkers who parade through the crowd without warning. Each number flows in and out of different styles, as musicians mosey around the stage while strumming a bass guitar or rapping on drum sets attached to their torsos. Meanwhile, hula dancers and other acts add to the sound with their movement. "It's like an acid trip," said Stevie Jay, the group's publicist and a self-described crazed fan. "There's so many things going on at once. The music, the costumes—people's minds just get completely expanded and start going crazy. Everybody goes through the roof." Similar to long-running jam bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish, MarchFourth (called M4 by its fans) has a large following, with many traveling across the country to catch shows. "It's not just a show they perform; it's truly a journey they take the audience on," Jay said. Tickets for the all-ages show, which includes an opening performance by Diego's Umbrella, are $14 in advance or $16 at the door.