In a recent appearance on NPR's Fresh Air, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane said the reason he insisted his show have a theme song is that it's just good showmanship, something that really hasn't changed in hundreds of years.
But in an age of musical introversion, showmanship is something that is frequently discounted. Music is only one element of a stage performance and arguably the one least responsible for the total atmosphere.
March Fourth, which are unofficial mascots of Portland, Ore., features a rotating cast of dozens of musicians playing loud brassy marches and Sousafied reboots of pop music styles, while a circus rages onstage. Stilt-walkers perfect complex acrobatic moves, as dancers perform on strings as marionettes and hula-hoopers whirl. All of them are dressed in the sort of marching band regalia you'd expect to see in the LSD Mardi Gras scene from Easy Rider. It's a spectacle that has earned March Fourth appearances at what the band describes as nearly every freak festival on Earth, including Bumbershoot and Tour de Fat.
Opening the show are the San Franciso-based gypsy rockers Diego's Umbrella, who bring a rare form of fiddle-fueled polkafied chaos to the stage, and The Pimps of Joytime, who performed a dancetastic set at last summer's Tour de Fat.
All these bands get showmanship. And if you check them out, you're going to get a helluva show and help the Boise Bicycle Project in the process, since the nonprofit will receive a portion of the proceeds.BW caught up with March Fourth in 2010. Check out the video here. [ Video is no longer available. ]