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Published: 2009/06/07
by Reanna Feinberg

March 4th Marching Band, Ashland Armory, Ashland, OR – 5/22

A dozen musicians coat the stage of the Ashland Armory launching comic book BAM! SPLAT! POW! ripples of music through the brass bellow, rat-a-tat percussion drive of a full marching band escaped from the Dominatrix School of Burlesque Circus Performers. Complete with a fishnet wrapped, black and white striped promoter working the line for more money, I feel transported to a 1920s ruse at the Madams House and look forward to leaving with a cat and my gypsy curse.

The bands sexy funk keeps me looking for James Bond posed in colored Go-Go circles as credits and gunshots whiz across the room. Horns pop people like kernels from the floor up out of sizzled silence. At least 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 snare drums, 2 saxophones, a guitar and a cymbal play to the pulse of a spinning top shilling out fireworks, while a troupe of Charlie Chaplins on mind-altering drugs interpret the onslaught with satirical, saucy wit.

These costumed performers dance on stilts. They fly and unfold one another like Russian blocks on ropes, bars and rings. They dance around poles, in hoops and with umbrellas. All to music whirling a psychotic tempo around the acts that seems to toss them like rag dolls hitched on a fishing line, dunked into their circus games by the taunting music master. Or is it the other way around? The music swirling to keep up with the performers: laying a brick walk for their flailing interpretations bursting forth to prance upon seconds before their limbs land? Its hard to know whos driving this menagerie of devils play collaborating to the beat of a full marching band momentum. I just hope to leave with my clothes on my back and my head full of Monet swirls, wondering what kind of roots could possibly hold music tossed about by a marching band with style, and human puppeteers, dressed in burlesque, spinning a web through the room fueled by its sound.

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