Rocks Off Concert Cruise

September 14, 2016

By Miles Hurley


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I won’t say much about The Jewel, the decked out vessel carrying the special rock shows within around the New York Harbor. It’s all done up really nice, and if you’re close by, it’s something to experience if you haven’t. 

The boat nudged off and MarchFourth members meandered about the crowd. Clad in their colorful and comic, salty attire, there was an buzz about what presence was about to display itself in short time. 

This band is a twenty-piece monstrous cocktail from Portland, OR mixing equal parts rock and New Orleans-minded funk. Marching bands, at last the traditional ones that play on academic grass-fields, are known for their big and bold sound, and this group is no exception. From note one they demonstrated how huge they could make themselves sound. 

Check out the gallery of photos here.

The first set was a sampling platter of their latest album, Magic Number, which displays a melding of heavier, feeling-bad sort of songs with tunes of snappier rhythms, even twisting up into throwback ska with “Oak St. Ska.” For awhile what I noticed first was the hard-edge feel of the guitar and bass, which hold up the band’s cool rock band side, but the latter of which also really stayed the center of the whole night’s suave jazzy feel. The end of this portion of the night was probably the only time in my life I’d say something like “that Destiny’s Child tune was pretty awesome.” 


From the March Fourth youtube channel.


About three-quarters of the way towards the end of the show-maybe halfway through set 2-MarchFourth’s night on The Jewel descended into whimsical madness. If dancers weren’t piggy-backing on top of band members, they were tangoing with audience members or sliding across the floor. Musicians circled around and traded their stage positions without any discernable sense of order. Propelling this swirling, fever dream of a night was simply musicians and audience having so much fun in the moment. 

Somehow this all managed to happen without any compromise of the music. At the center of all the colorful frenzy is mighty fine musicianship, not least of all the horn section (arguably the the trademark of the “marching band”). When they weren’t part of the dynamic wall of sound from the back, members stepped down to the front to showcase their chops. Often, their solos were the thing that led the rest of the band on a particular song to an whole, higher level. And that’s the sort of musicianship you feel lucky to experience at a show like this. One member in particular played a sax almost as big as her, did this every time she was front and center.

And never lost was the grand, slow building of energy from small at the start to huge by the end. “Push it Back,” which knocked me over in particular, was an incredible, drawn-out groove that just went on and on.

It came to a intimate finalized note when the horn and drum section secluded themselves in the center of the crowd, to finish off a welcomed encore cover of “No Diggity.” MarchFourth shows are a party-with a live music playlist on expert level. 

Check out their website for upcoming tour dates and releases.


Set 1:


The Limit


Magic Number

Jan Jar

Oak St. Ska

Inventing Wheel

Say My Name

Set 2:

Tiny Horse


Dehli Belly

Fuzzy Lentil


Push it Back


Crack Haus


It’s a Trap

No Diggity

Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.

To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]