Thanks to the Extra Action Marching Band, our city has the alternative marching band thing dialed. So does Portland, Oregon, with its MarchFourth Marching Band. Which ragtag group, influenced by punk and street performers, old hats and whiskey, John Philip Sousa and funeral cabaret, is better? Some comparisons are best unmade. M4 casts its net as wide as possible, incorporating stilt walking, fire dancing, ballroom, and Bollywood dance routines; its music grabs from such diverse styles as samba and vaudeville, among many others. It's a gritty, afternoon-with-the-Gypsies sound, and the best audience for it is likely to be the one drinking beer at today's Tour de Fat bike festival, many of whose participants, with their Frankenbikes and shopworn hats, will be indistinguishable from the performers. The day's events also include a bike parade (at 11 a.m.), a funeral for a car, music by Sean Hayes, and performances by Squirm Burpee Circus and Honeymoon Cabaret.
Sat., Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 2009