The Cedar Cultural Center was surprisingly not as full as I expected upon arrival with only 10 minutes before the opening act. The empty hall quickly filled up though as the local Eastern European Folk group Orksestar Bez Ime took to the stage.
The crowd was an eclectic bunch that ran the gamut from young children to grandparents. From the first note that ran out and the pulse of rhythm that was felt, the crowd was already swaying back and forth and dancing along. These people came out to laugh and dance the night away. Orkestar Bez Ime, which translates to orchestra without a name, is known for their Balkan party music. There were all these people smiling and dancing, everyone was enjoying themselves and the music that was played out before them. Conga lines would spontaneously form and weave in and out of the crowd from one side of the hall to the other. Small children were gleefully spinning in circles as their parents adored from afar. Grandparents were dancing with one another and friends were linked in arms as they let the music guide them around the floor beneath the stage.
After a few songs in I had to remind myself I was not thousands of miles away at an Albanian wedding but back home in the Twin Cities enjoying the many talents of our local community. Orkestar Bez Ime brought us all a piece of Balkan culture to revel in, from the lyrics that were sung in multiple languages and the music that left everyone in a festive mood. They were an excellent way to kick off the party.
MarchFourth barely made it to Minneapolis in time for their performance at the Cedar. The snowstorm had caused road closures out west so they were stuck in Bismark, North Dakota and had to cancel their stop in Fargo, North Dakota. Luckily for the folks in Minneapolis the tour was able to continue on. With the plethora of musicians and performers that took to the stage, there were a number of instruments to mic up. Due to the late arrival the audience was able to witness how such an extravagant stage setup goes through a soundcheck. The audio engineers and stage hands got everything changed over and the levels dialed in with remarkable speed.
This large ensemble from Portland, Oregon certainly brought the funky circus to town. The groovy baselines and funky guitar were backed by 4 percussionists that pounded out the beats. Another 6 musicians played various brass instruments such as trombones, trumpets and saxophones. Then there were the 3 stage performers that dazzled the audience in numerous ways whether that was by dancing, spinning hoops, stacking chairs to climb upon or balancing upside down, shoulder to shoulder upon a stilt walker. They all were adorned in colorful garb and definitely brought joy to the masses assembled at the Cedar. The bass drummer was notably grinning all night as he marched about swinging his mallets against the drumhead. He certainly earned that patch across his back that read “Joy Scout”, he looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself and fellow band mates.
The instruments and voices slowly began to fade out to a silence as they walk off and waved goodbye at the conclusion to the aptly titled tune, Bye-Bye. The crowd craved more and their hunger for this festive mood had not yet been satiated. The crowd cheered on for more as those around the front pounded their hands on the stage for another song or two. The crew from Portland obliged and came back to the stage to play 3 more songs. On the final one they had one last surprise to share and that was a pom pom waving T-Rex that waddled out to dance along. After the completion of that song, the band asked the crowd to make some room and they jumped off the stage and played in the center of the crowd for a few moments before marching out of the concert hall.
This was my first time witnessing the spectacle that is MarchFourth and while I didn’t know their songs I definitely felt a sense of some great improv occurring that night. They commented that they always have a good crowd in Minneapolis and with the poll taken that night, there was about a mix of 50/50 first timers to the regulars. At that rate of attendance expansion they will need a larger stage for their next visit, especially for all of their crew and funky antics.
My Own Way
Evening: The Score
Howl At The Moon
Call To Action
25 Or 6 To 4
Endless Hwy (encore)
Push It Back (encore)
It’s A Trap (encore)
Remaining Tour Dates For MarchFourth:
3/20 St Louis, MO – Old Rock House
3/21 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
3/22 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
3/23 Fort Collins, CO – Aggie Theatre
3/24 Frisco, CO – 10 Mile Music Hall
4/13 Seattle, WA – Neumos
4/19 Oakland, CA – The New Parish
4/20 Stateline, NV – Harrah’s