SF Musical Group Fresh From IndieFest Win
Forget everything that might be familiar to you about marching bands: pressed uniforms, precision maneuvers and pompous dated music. Instead, allow the images to flood your imagination of nearly-naked flag girls grinding away at bystanders and sounds of drums and brass playing modern Afro-Cuban and rock influenced music.
The Extra Action Marching Band (EAMB), trampling the Bay Area music scene for over a decade now, has, in addition to their regular performing schedule, made a short film. The Burning Wigs of Sedition, which was produced by and features members of the group, won for best music video this year at San Francisco’s independent film festival, IndieFest, and tells the tale of a libertine sailing ship captain and his mutinous crew having it out in a high seas dance battle.
“Our specialty is the surprise attack entrance where we appear suddenly, out of nowhere and at full volume,” says trumpet player John Lieb.
“We have the freedom to be spontaneous and creative in our performance,” clarifies percussionist Violet Angell.
EAMB is “a venue for marginalized characters… more [stylistically] influenced by the brass bands of eastern Europe than your average Rose Bowl band,” said trumpet player, Ruben Tomar. “And we have tried to cull the best of [our] energy, while minimizing damage.”
Perhaps that “damage” might already be done, though only to their collective pocketbook, as the group has recently and unexpectedly been invited to perform at the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) music and film festival March 11-20 in Austin, Texas. Due to the short notice, the band is now left scrambling to raise funds to pay for their travel.
To do so, the band is turning to their primary support base: their fans. EAMB has launched a campaign with the fundraising website, kickstarter.com.
The site provides means for participant groups to advertise for and collect donations minus a small percentage fee levied only if a group reaches their fundraising goal. EAMB has until March 14 to raise at least $5,000 or else, as stipulated on kickstarter.com, they will get nothing.
EAMB is composed of volunteer members and all income from performing as a group goes directly toward maintenance costs. “We are a big, expensive group with big appetites,” says Tomar.
Indeed, the group is already planning their next film, which will center around the events of the Punic Wars. “Of course, working with elephants is no walk in the park,” says Tomar of the experience so far.
Supporters of the Extra Action Marching Band can donate to the SXSW travel fund by going to the link below:
Special thanks to Stephen C. Vance for his photo, used as the cover image to this story.