Chaotic Noise Marching Corps may be Seattle’s wildest band

The longtime ‘renegade’ marching band will play with similar groups at Honk! Fest West.

The members of Chaotic Noise Marching Corp. playing their brass instruments on the street — some members are laying down.

The members of Chaotic Noise create their own “stage” characters with homemade costumes and makeup.

Photo via Malixe Photography

Excuse us if we’re feeling a little horn-y today, but it’s hard not to admire the saxiness of Chaotic Noise Marching Corps — Seattle’s self-described “renegade” marching band.

If the spirit of John Phillip Sousa were possessed by a demon, it might sound like Chaotic Noise. They play at local street festivals all decked out in goth-y black, silver, and blue garb — and will be rocking out this weekend.

Before we start grooving, let’s back that brass up with a little honk-filled history.

Chaotic Noise's video for "Malaguena."

Chaotic Noise crash a house party in their video for “Malaguena.”

GIF via Chaotic Noise

Punking out

Chaotic Noise owes a lot to the lineage of “marching bands gone wild” in Seattle. Guerrilla-style groups like ¡TchKunG!, the Infernal Noise Brigade, and Titanium Sporkestra were whooping it up decades ago with improv-heavy tunes influenced by punk and metal music (sans guitars), and lots of crowd work.

Several also participated in political activism and had their own flair for the dramatic. Things got so rowdy at ¡Tchkung! shows in the 90s, they were banned from the Crocodile several times.

A gray-colored school bus with flashes of blue light coming from the interior

The band’s foreboding-looking tour bus (aka “Muffy”) may transport Chaotic Noise to New Orleans later this year.

Photo via Chaotic Noise

After those groups disbanded, a few members helped form Chaotic Noise in 2012. The style evolved a bit and now includes a few written arrangements, like a cover of “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

This band also now leans more into community support and pure fun than direct activism, but there remains an emphasis on audience participation — and the flair is still there. “People play instruments that are on fire,” says member Luis Benito.

All honky dory

Honk! Fest West arrives this weekend — and Chaotic Noise will play in each of these neighborhoods with other local bands and groups from around the country.

A brass band dressed up in different costumes from video game characters

For the nerds out there, Honk! Fest West features other groups like the 8-Bit Brass Band.

Photo via EspressoBuzz Photography

You can also catch Chaotic Noise at Jules Maes Saloon the third Wednesday of every month for Honk All-Stars — audience members can join the jam on stage.

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