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MarchFourth Marching Band Underwhelms at Crescent Ballroom

You know what sucks the most, as a huge fan of live music, about living in Phoenix? A lot of bands that come through here don't bring their A-game, and MarchFourth Marching Band contributed to that tradition on Friday night.

To be fair, the bands' hands were tied a bit. Crescent Ballroom was really just a smidge too small for an act like M4. With the sold-out crowd packed in, the band's mascot and stilt-walkers could hardly get out into the audience without a struggle.

Don't get me wrong, the jovial 14-piece was quite a spectacle, looking like Burning Man's own marching band, with its crazy costumes, stilt walkers, and glorious horns. But watching many of them half-step on their dance moves and lazily sway up on stage to the music just made me wonder what kind of show we would be getting if we lived in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin . . . or Black Rock City.

It's not that they were having a bad night, or anyone played their instrument poorly. They just seemed like they were going through the motions in front of a sold-out crowd at Crescent Ballroom. To be fair, the crowd didn't seem to mind, though, but I really did.

As a person who goes out to an average of three shows a week and spends more time at Crescent Ballroom than I do in my own office, I'm really looking for a lot out of a band, and I'm looking for that much more when the band is a 14-piece costume clad marching band-themed acid trip.

At least the opening acts played to their potential. The Village Blasting Club opened the show outside in front of the venue, which I thought was a fun move. The incomparable Djentrification played so long that the Crescent had to just turn him off because he wouldn't stop.

M4 obviously earned their reputation as a raucous live acts, and I'd bet my bottom dollar that at many other concerts across the country they put on a show unrivaled by any act on earth. They've probably even brought their balls-to-the-wall show here in the past.

They just didn't do it for this sold-out effort in Phoenix.

Critics Notebook:

Friday Night: MarchFourth Marching Band at Crescent Ballroom

Overheard in the crowd: I heard a guy explaining to a girl who Kurt Cobain and Nirvana is and what they have to do with Seattle during M4's cover of "In Bloom." Which they dedicated to the Seahawks.

Miscellaneous: More opening acts ought to do their set outside in front of the smoking patio. I know you don't get the full Crescent experience, but you get something a little special.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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