Herewith eleven photos of the Extra Action Marching Band and if they’re coming through your town, you might want to take in the show. Don’t take the kids, though.
The word went around at the beginning of Saturday that there’d be a musical surprise at lunch. Someone passed the word that it’d be a marching band, and everyone loves a parade, you know.
I got outside while they were getting ready and forming up, and it was instantly apparent they weren’t just another marching band.
I was standing within a few feet of the horns when they kicked into their first tune, and I just about jumped out of my skin. Holy crap, are they ever loud. I was talking to an old session musician one time about high volume and ear damage and so on, and he told me “Screw electric guitars, the loudest thing I know is right in front of a big-band trumpet section.”
This would be about then. Check out the drum majorettes in the background; the band is just starting the march into the convention center.
The sound inside was even more intense, and the majorettes really got their mojo workin’ and the geeks dug it. These were major majorettes, in particular the six-and-a-half-foot dude with the really tight shorts.
The guy with the bull-horn talked to the crowd between tunes, and while the band was playing kept up this furious gabble of high-pitched rap that you couldn’t understand but somehow turned the heat up a bit. Dig the Tom Waits persona.
They totally didn’t have this kind of drum majorette in my high school.
The drums were the bands’ dominant voice; the horns were loud and sharp and tight, but their parts were pretty basic. The drums, in particular the handsome guy with the tom-toms, were astounding in their aggression and precision, and the parts they were playing were not kindergarten stuff. I can’t imagine anyone’s heart not racing when they got the groove going.
It was the majorettes, of course, who caught the geeks’ eyes and had every camera up and clicking.
My camera too. This is the new Pentax Pancake and I haven’t nearly mastered it yet, but it sure is fun.
Then things got a little ugly. As I noted, these guys were loud, and it turns out that elsewhere in the building was one conference on Asian Culture for Children, and in another a Women’s Conference on Understanding Men, and the building management was getting complaints about these louche demi-mondaine cabaret/brass-band hybridistas blowing the roof off the place. So an authoritative type came around to make it try and stop, or to get them to play quieter or something, but that wasn’t happening and it started feeling a little bit ugly when the assembled geek music lovers started booing the building management.
But then everyone cooled down and we had lunch.