Spring Jam brings upbeat tunes to the streets
If there’s a theme to the outdoor music concerts this weekend, it’s that modern-day hippies exist.
One act is a marching band and the other’s name is Grouplove.
Both sort of serendipitously met — not each other — while traversing the world and they each return to Aspen to share the love. Portland-based MarchFourth Marching Band has sold out multiple shows at Belly Up Aspen, and their circus-like performances have taken on a mythical tone in these parts with fans whispering that “you just have to see it to understand.”
Grouplove, on the other hand, made a quiet debut here last May, but the general public will recognize their upbeat “Tongue Tied” from iPod Touch commercials and the last 10 months have given them some indie cred and a buzz.
M4, as true fans call them, play a free show Friday at 8 p.m., and Grouplove takes the stage Saturday night — same time and same place.
MarchFourth usually rolls into town on a bus which looks like Ms. Frizzle should be driving it, and an indeterminable number of band members unload. These include drummers, saxophone players, trumpeters and stilt-walkers. At an outdoor show, pyrotechnics would not be surprising.
The group reportedly harkens back to Burning Man days, and the marching-band theme took off when they returned to Portland, Ore. There, they played Mardi Gras celebrations and subsequently named their band after a successful founding year on said date. A year later, the Willamette Weekly named them “Best Local Band,” and they’ve since gone on to play with No Doubt, Blink 182 and Fleetwood Mac.
It’s a fun, and boisterous show. Too big for a stage, the group spills over into the audience defying any semblance of a rank-and-file high school marching band. Their costumes border on burlesque and pirate, and their brass band sound is high energy with New Orleans jazz, Latin and gospel thrown in between. Since M4 got their start as legendary street performers in the Northwest, this is where they’ll shine here in Aspen.
And Grouplove is just that. One friend invited another to join her in Greece for a summer residency and a magical, symbiotic thing happened: good music. There the pair met three more future band members, and the group reunited back stateside in an Los Angeles recording studio.That was followed by their debut album, “Never Trust a Happy Song,” and tours with Florence and The Machine, The Joy Formidable and Foster the People.
Best described as indie dance, they’ve played the requisite festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. Their infectiously upbeat sound is full of happy harmonies and a youthful, innocent spirit; they even sing “I told my bandmates they were my soulmates.” They have matching tattoos, the band told the audience last time they were in Aspen.
It’s another fun show.
Categorizing either band as hipsters would be a cliché, but it’s also the antecedent to modern-day hippies. Either way, both groups — though totally unconnected — portray a hopeful genre of music that’s best when enjoyed with group energy. A downtown, outdoor concert will be a good place to do this.
Spring Jam Core Party
Presented by Aspen Skiing Co.
MarchFourth Marching Band
Friday, March 29 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 at 8 p.m.
Corner of Galena and Cooper streets