New Vaudevillians, Post-Modern Circuses and Present-Day Magic?
Jazz Fest 2011, Portland, Oregon -> New Orleans
MarchFourth marching band from Portland. I met members of the MarchFourth Marching Band in 2008 while we were all walking down Elysian Fields Avenue just outside the French Quarter in New Orleans. I was staying at a haunted house/hotel called the Lamothe House, which was close to my destination: The Dragon's Den at 435 Esplanade Avenue. I was in town for a DJing gig, and they were in town from Portland, Oregon. At first, I thought they were NOLA locals I had never seen before, but after talking to one of the women in the band, she advised me that they are from Portland. The people in the band were very friendly and I just love them. It almost seems like New Orleans is their second hometown because they're in town often enough! In the video, a guy kind of describes the band as delightfully ragtag, of-the-moment, and wild with a Felliniesque circus vibe (a mix of 8 1/2 and La Strada, perhaps?). He nailed it with his description. There is no video that I could find of the Silas Green (minstrelsy) revue which included everyone from Bessie Smith (singing next to horses) to Ornette Coleman, but I think MarchFourth is tapping into that kind of scene, and it is very much a circus-like or carnival vibe with people walking on stilts, wearing costumes (some look like the children of Altamont bikers), and just walking around playing their instruments. They've become much more well known and successful these days, but I'll always remember them as one of my fave random NOLA discoveries. You never know who you might meet in New Orleans! A guy told me he saw Joan Didion riding the city bus one day. (Haha)