(Tampa, Florida) Walking up to Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa and seeing the March Fourth bus parked out front was enough to get me excited. We’d already made a pass through the over-filled parking lot and parked across the street. We had a basket of farm-raised eggs in tow, with a bundle of organic carrots and some strawberries thrown in for good measure. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’d heard about March Fourth Marching Band (M4MB for the fans) before, but this was the first time I’d been able to catch them. I saw a post on a facebook page for Central Florida Burning Man peeps, and figured it would be worth checking out. On the events page they were asking for local eggs, (hungry band!) so we stopped by a local farm, picked up a few dozen, and sent them a note that their egg needs were covered and got a note back saying that a guest list spot was reserved. I was liking this already.
Walked into the packed house to find that a burlesque act was performing – always a good time – but that left time for more important things, like char-grilled oysters at the raw bar on site. Oysters and music should always go together. We polished off those, some wings, drinks, and made it out front before they started, snagging a spot in front of the stage just in time. What happened next is the stuff you hope happens at a live show: finding a group of people who love to party and dance as much as you do, a band that plays the crowd like nobody’s business anda floor show that culminated in an encore played _in the crowd_. Consider me a fan for life. Best part of the show? One of my friends got in for free because the door people thought she was part of the band.
Whether it’s the solid beat thrown down by the drum majors, the bassline that kept it all together, the trombone solos or the baritone sax, the musical chops of this troupe would hold their own against any performers I’ve seen. That they could do all of this with stilt-walkers in the crowd, costumes straight off the burning man playa, or fans that loved to participate left you wondering, “what the hell did I just do?” I’d thrown my recommendation down for M4MB to open or close any festival, and make the request for more “spank your neighbor” in the mix. Enjoy the pics, go see them live, and prepare to have your hearts warmed – just make sure you’re wearing your dancing shoes.