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 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.
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.
- Georgetown | Friday, 6-10 p.m.
- Columbia City | Saturday, 12-8 p.m.
- Yesler Terrace Park | Sunday, 12-6 p.m.
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.