The steampunk circus came to Englewood on Friday night in the form of the March Fourth Marching Band. The Gothic Theatre was the perfect host for this night of marching bands and burlesque dancing, Theremins and crash cymbals, stilt walkers and contortionists. March Fourth (a date, a command, a band) is a large performance ensemble from Portland that fuses Dixieland jazz, rock and vaudevillian theater with the marching band experience.
The most interesting part of the night came early, and in the dark, as Denver’s own Itchy-O marching band took over the dance floor at the Gothic, swathed in spangled Mexican wrestling masks, marching band uniforms and lots of LED lights. The Itchy-O ensemble is comprised of percussionists, dancers (including Larry, a fierce Chinese lion), banner wavers, electric guitarists and a crew carrying mp3 players and homemade speaker backpacks that amplify all of the weirdness to a swirling din of electronic cacophony. The baby of local percussionist and filmmaker Scott Banning, Itchy-O summoned a darkly celebratory vibe — part tribal ritual, part post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, part high school marching band.
Photos, below, from Thursday’s show at the Fox Theatre.
The Itchy-O spectacle retreated from the dance floor and Colorado’s own Ukulele Loki played a charming set of “Alternatin” Tin Pan Alley flavored vaudeville punctuated with contortionists and aerial dancers. The large band sounded pretty small in comparison to the engulfing din of Itchy-O, but Loki’s handlebar mustache and wicked wordsmithing, along with a mesmerizing film of lingerie-clad dancers in large, disturbing animal masks provided sufficient spectacle.
The large March Fourth band stormed the stage around with their fiercely festive energy and highly entertaining stage antics. The band performs a variety of musical styles and builds each song in their set around one of its players or dancers. The set included stilt-walking, hula-hooping, goofy theatrics and some on-point
percussionists and horn players. The jubilation sent the happy Gothic audience high-stepping out into the warm spring night.
Amy McGrath is a Denver-based writer and regular contributor to Reverb.
Joshua Elioseff is a Boulder-based freelance photographer and regular Reverb contributor. Check out his website.