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  1. 51 points
    I hung out with Pioneer Wednesday night and Thursday this past week as they prepared for prelims. I was there to support one of my former students who is now marching quad with Pio and being taught, ironically enough, by my former instructor, Tyrell Carver (an amazing guy, I was very happy to know "T" would be her instructor, but that's another story)... Seeing my student and T again was pure magic, and Pioneer are wonderful hosts - Roman is a true gentleman. I can't say enough good things about that organization and will encourage other kids I teach who are considering the jump to DCI to consider Pioneer without hesitation. I started marching in 1968. I've spent a lot of time thinking drum corps is not the same as when I marched and in many ways, it's true. Electronics, trombones, singers - much has changed and I haven't been onside with a lot of it. But I watched those Pioneer kids give it everything they've got in run-throughs Wednesday night, sectionals and runs Thursday morning, and then show prep in Military Park, most if not all of them understanding where they would place at the end of the day. It didn't matter to them, they threw every muscle and fibre of their being, and all of their heart, into preparing for that show. I could only watch in admiration. And I learned in that moment at show prep, that the things I maybe don't like about modern drum corps - the mics, the instrumentation etc. - are entirely superficial to the main event, which is the experience these kids have in marching. The work ethic you learn, the ability to learn your limits and then break through them, the lifelong bonds of friendship you make, the joy of performing for the audience - none of this has changed, and that's the essence of drum corps regardless of the era or competitive level you marched. If you marched, you get it. I'm 62 years old and in this, my last year of teaching, I learned a great deal about drum corps from these 22 and under year olds this week. In every way that matters - drum corps has not changed one bit. I'm a fan again. Thank you Pioneer for your gracious hospitality, and for the lesson.
  2. 44 points
    Well that's vague. You could judge Effect for dci with comments that nonspecific.
  3. 39 points
    Segmentation: How DCI Has Gotten More Complicated... And Less Difficult Of all the changes DCI has undergone so far in the 21st century--any key brass, amplification, electronics, generalized body movement increasingly replacing marching/drill, the move from corps-specific uniforms to show-specific costumes--the change that has affected my enjoyment of the activity the most has been the increasing segmentation of show design. This is a reward-based activity, so if a change doesn't boost the score (when utilized correctly) it will fall by the wayside. So perhaps my argument is that the DCI sheets are due for another overhaul. Perhaps I think that the sheets aren't rewarding the correct aspects of the performance in the correct proportion. And, like anything else in this activity, my opinion is as subjective as anyone else's. For every person that comes onto DCP and shouts "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG" at DCI there is someone else who thinks they are doing it right, and they eagerly dive into that day's monkey slap-fight in Thread X. And, of course, it goes without saying that these are concerns regarding show design and scoring, not performance caliber or effort from the kids. I try REAL hard not to slide into dinosaurhood with regards to drum corps, but the bottom line is drum corps is about the performers NOT the fans. Some fans have strong issues with this, but the simple fact is that the time and money we put into this activity as fans doesn't come close to outweighing the time and money put into this activity by the performers. So, with the usual caveats in place, here's what's bothering me about DCI as of 2017... 1. SEGMENTATION OF MUSIC To this day I consider the 2009 Blue Devils' show "1930" to be the easiest ensemble brass book to win DCI in the modern era. Visual, guard, and percussion were all smoking in that show, but the brass was carried by a small handful of extremely skilled soloists while the full ensemble played long tones and not a whole heck of a lot else. The show was almost at the level of a Concerto for Brass Soloists and Drum Corps. And when it scored 99.05 at Finals, we were off to the races with regards to musical segmentation (specifically brass). I say specifically brass due to the relative limitations of segmenting the percussion section. The field battery has a limited number of both performers and pitches. They might break into smaller ensembles a time or two during the show, but one really skilled snare drummer can't carry the whole snare line: the way percussion is written doesn't really allow for it. The front ensemble has a few more options, but again their limited numbers require more cohesiveness to be effective in the full ensemble sound. Brass, on the other hand, you can slice and dice a million different ways: soloists, duets, ensembles of 6 or 10 or 20, high instruments, low instruments, concert instruments (like trombones and french horns), the possibilities are endless. By creatively breaking apart the ensemble over and over again, you can have your 10 or 20 strongest players carry the entire difficulty load of whole brass book, lessening the impact of your "weakest" performers and making cleaning the ensemble sound a whole lot easier. I'm not saying solos and small ensembles should be banned. Nor am I saying they don't present their own unique challenges to perfect. But it's also a bit of a smoke and mirrors act with regards to difficulty. Let's say you have an 80-member horn line. The top 25% play challenging music for 10 minutes of the show, the 2nd 25% play challenging music for 8 minutes, the 3rd group for 6, and the bottom 25% for only 4. Your brass line has 560 "player-minutes" of challenging music in the book. Now let's say there's another 80-member horn line that focuses more on a whole (large) ensemble sound. Their top 50% plays challenging music for 10 minutes, and their bottom 50% plays challenging music for, 6 minutes of the show. They have 640 player-minutes of challenging music. It's hard to combine subjectivity and analytics, but the second group has arguably a much harder brass book for the ensemble as a whole. I do not think the DCI sheets and/or judges currently reward/consider this at appropriate levels. Cleanliness is--and always has been--king in DCI. And it is far easier to clean an ensemble, match intonation, address tone quality problems, etc. when there are only 10 or 20 performers as opposed to 80. In modern DCI, the MORE your whole ensemble is playing the harder it will be to get a good score. That doesn't seem correct. 2. SEGMENTATION OF VISUAL My realm of knowledge in music is far broader than in visual, so this won't be quite as in depth. Also, I don't want to repeat myself too much and a lot of the same principles apply: cleaning four batches of 20 is far easier than one batch of 80, particularly when the four batches of 20 are spread across seventy yards and their movements are not interconnected or uniform. Sure, it adds wonderful layering. And complexity of a sort. But since drum corps has gotten to this point it also largely eliminated the single-most difficult part of visual design: transitions. No need any more to write a challenging drill move to maneuver the right instruments to the right positions for the next segment. Just have Pod 1 finish their body movement and do a flutter/scatter drill twenty yards to their left where they will join half of Pod 3 for the next body movement segment. Meanwhile Pod 6 is still on the back forty doing completely different movements because Pod 6 is jerks. Oh look! All the pods have joined together to form one large ensemble that... does 32 counts of follow-the-leader or jazz running before breaking up and fluttering away to their next pod/body movement assignment. The warning sign, in retrospect, came a few years ago when visual ENSEMBLE became visual ANALYSIS, and musical ENSEMBLE became music ANALYSIS. The ENSEMBLE aspect of drum corps just doesn't seem to matter a whole lot any more, and that makes me sad. 3. COORDINATION OF ELEMENTS I'm sure we've all seen the 2017 Blue Devils by this point. They play very, very well. They move very, very well. And they almost NEVER do both at the same time. There's what, ten or fifteen seconds at the end of Flight of the Bumblebee where the brass is trucking with both fingers and feet simultaneously. Otherwise, all the difficult movement occurs by performers with their horns down, while the hard music is performed by small groups stationed and immobile on the staircases. And then there's the park and bark. Oh sure, you can throw in a few lunges and leans, maybe a stanky leg or two, just so you aren't COMPLETELY immobile while you're playing, but come on. It's still park and bark, just "new" park and bark. I pick on the Blue Devils, but they're just THE BEST at it, they're not the only ones doing it. I like Vanguard's show better this season, but their design definitely seems to have been of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mindset. SCV is going to have their best finish in almost 20 years essentially by performing a Blue Devils visual book. I guess that's both a compliment and a criticism. I look back over the past five or ten years, and almost all my favorite musical moments do not have WOW visual moments accompanying them. And vice versa for the great visual moves. The Bluecoats seem to be the best at maxing out visual and musical effect simultaneously these days, but look where that's gotten them in 2017: 4th place. They just can't get clean enough to match the BD's and SCV's who aren't trying to do so much all at once. Which, if I recall, was the whole point of moving away from the tick system in the first place. The tick system was only about error. Doesn't matter what you're doing, just don't make mistakes. The build-up scoring system was introduced in 1984 to allow for more creativity. And yet, over the course of about 30 years it has slid back into the same trap as the tick system: doesn't matter what you're doing, just don't make mistakes. Be creative, but not TOO creative. What you are doing and how well you are doing it, except the "how well" is about 90% of the emphasis seemingly. And that's how we got to where we are today. Avoiding ensemble difficulty (because it's much too hard to clean). Breaking drum corps shows into pieces so we have COMPLEXITY shifting the full weight of the show's difficulty onto a small portion of the corps' most elite performers. The criteria and judging rewards this, encourages it. This isn't what I want drum corps to be. And in THAT regards, I guess I am part of a very large ensemble.
  4. 38 points
    ...you get a first good look at your kid in action. He's the one in the center-back. He put a lot of years of dreaming into being out there. Couldn't be happier for him!
  5. 35 points
    Sorry at how scatter brained/off the cuff this is. Wanna get it done while it's still fresh on my mind but I'm pretty wiped right now. I was in Broken Arrow, Belton, and San Antonio. Got to see all 23 WC at least once, most twice, and Carolina Crown three times. Every single show that I thought I hated was way better live, can't say there are any shows I have distaste for. Certainly some personal preference but there isn't anything scoring wise that has me ripping my hair out. Interacted with a ton of amazing friends, fans, a few MMs, and people. Even got to meet @Terri Schehr and @Jim Schehr! If they're at a show you're at go talk to them.......so approachable and friendly! The community of this activity is what keeps me coming back, it's an amazing group of people. Every single performer did an amazing job out there, there is something memorable in every single show I thought. Was incredibly impressed from top to bottom. I'm gonna keep this thing mostly positive with a few small things. I'll do a more refined/focused one at the end of the season. But for now....... Sound Sport First time I've seen some Sound Sport ensembles live and I was really impressed, Horizon especially. Such a professionally designed and fantastically performed for the size of the ensemble show from them. Arsenal and Bayou City Blues were a blast. Guardians - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy I was not sure at all what to expect from this show but ####, I was so incredibly impressed especially from a design perspective. This is leaps and bounds better than last years show and that was great too. The use of that ramp prop was World Class level stuff. Brass had some great power moments, with time they're gonna be great. Percussion was fantastic, great playing and they have an incredible presence. And that guard.......wow. They were so fun to watch, the featured performer (or it might have been more than one) stole the show. She owned it. Oh, and the uniforms looked awesome on the field. Loved the leg colorings. Great stuff. @MikeN, hope you had a great time seeing your daughter perform. You should be VERY proud. Pioneer - Irish on Broadway That singer is incredible, sad her mic cut out in San Antonio but I got to hear her in Belton too and she is phenomenal. I Love what they do with the barricade props towards the end in terms of staging/playing through them. And finally, just a show with music I love I can just sit back and enjoy. Jersey Surf - Make it Our Own First of all, I felt so bad in Belton, the props got pretty wrecked by the wind, it seemed like the performance was REALLY shaky. But in San Antonio they blew the house down, don't think I've ever seen a reaction like that to the second World Class corps performing. Beautiful use of color including the newly fleshed out props, and in the guard as well. Some BIG sounds coming out of that hornline, especially in the ballad and closer. And that plume change, that kind of stuff never gets old. Just need to clean clean clean but this is the most mature/enjoyable show I have seen out of them in years. Seattle Cascades - Set Free I don't care what the scores say, this is their best corps in years. Such an energetic and accessible program from beginning to end. Love the entire visual aesthetic of this show, so pleasing to look at. And the Sia/Shostakovich layover in the closer is about as awesome as that "Black Hole Sun"/"Jupiter" mashup in 2015. Amazing arranging Mr. Norfleet. And wow.......I had just assumed the voice was a sample. She is LIVE??? AWESOME! She sounds amazing, awesome job to her. They should try to find a way to stage her so that's more obvious because she deserves it. Great to see the color guard growing, the stuff with the wings was fantastic. Brass was very solid and percussion was great. All in all very entertaining and their best corps in years IMO. Genesis - The Other Side of Now They really brought the house down, they seemed twice as loud in the dome as they did in Belton. That brass sounds so...so...so good. No shocker with Jason Buckingham at the helm. So many awesome BIG moments throughout the show like the first big Hide and Seek hit in the opener and the one in the Both Sides Now ballad. And I never get tired of a good ole charge the stands ending getting right up in the audiences faces. Great stuff. The show is pretty familiar territory thematically but they sell it incredibly well. Oregon Crusaders - EnCompass This show with a few more weeks could be super dangerous, incredibly mature and difficult programming for this bracket in all captions. Brass and percussion are as good as ever, and the color guard is the best I think I've ever seen it from them. Love the usage of the U2/Enya to really enhance the Elgar stuff, it brings another layer that gave the show a very ethereal and beautiful vibe. The ballad was a musical highlight of the whole week for me, just letting a piece breathe and develop can do amazing things, loved it. And the guard work during it is fantastic, love the paired stuff. Dang, new ending since I saw it last. VERY cool stuff, can't wait to see that cleaned. Really enjoyed them. Pacific Crest - Golden State of Mind Brass has some serious punch in this show, way more presence than last years show. Alfonso Muskedunder is so so so much fun, love it when corps let their hair down like that. Also really liked their treatment of the Lost Soundtrack in the ballad, very nice breather from the rest of the show. And love the full circle approach of the reprise of "California Dreaming" at the end. Percussion is very solid as always, and I love the use of color in the guard throughout, the gold at the end is very striking. Just a very fun, easy to watch, and well performed show. Spirit of Atlanta - Crossroads: We Are Here This show is an eclectic blast musically, so many different styles and textures they use. It's old Spirit of Atlanta with some new direction. I loved the Vienna Teng ballad, her music is amazing and I'm glad to see more of it being used. And their arrangement of Shofukan is off the hook fun. First brass impact was GREAT, they can really push the volume. TONS of color in the guard, interested in what all the different costuming/props represent. Percussion is very solid as well. Visual performance not as strong as music, still lots of time left though. Very enjoyable show. Colts - Both Sides Now I really enjoy this show, it has a beautiful understated quality to it. Love that build in the opener, very pretty. Highlight of the show for me is the ballad, that drum major/trombone soloist is easily one of my favorite soloists this year. Absolutely beautiful tone and musicality. Love the guard as well in this, that unison work at the climax is gorgeous. Brass and percussion really shine in the latter half of the show, those last big chords before the soft ending really have some punch to them. Not much else to say other than beautiful show. Troopers - Duels and Duets I have always enjoyed Troopers drum majors back to my infancy as a fan in the late 2000s, but Gabe man, you're on another level. I had a freaking blast watching you conduct. The transition into the Puccini ballad and the ballad itself are what I love most about drum corps. Loud, beautiful, emotional, and BIG music. And the percussion.........so so so tasty in writing and teaching. The front ensemble kinda Latin sounding stuff is to die for. Wish it was as strong visually as it was musically, if it was I think they'd be punching higher than they are but they made some improvements throughout the show. I see myself listening to this one a lot over the winter this coming year. The Academy - By a Hare I am so glad to see them really start to buy into this show, it's starting to really sell. So many recognizable and fantastic musical moments, the Anvil Chorus one in the closer is especially great. Some incredibly tasty percussion playing throughout the show, they're great this year. And they sound absolutely beautiful in terms of music ensemble sound. Guard antics got pretty good reactions at the two shows I attended, they're starting to be a lot more convincing. I think some of the changes/rewrites maybe put them a little bit behind in terms of performance but it's getting there. I think this is a show that has gotten a bit more grief that I'd expect it to, I think part of that is coming off of last year. Regardless, I'm excited to see where they take it. Madison Scouts - Last Man Standing Man, of all the corps I saw more than once these guys were the most improved the week of San Antonio. I wasn't a huge fan in Belton but something clicked in San Antonio. I don't think you can watch this the way you would a traditional show, now that it's sunk in it's actually incredibly intriguing. The brass sounds HUGE in that first big entrance, absolutely love the usage of trombones there and throughout. Really like the quirky darkness of the Bartok, the big moment in the ballad is GREAT, and "Music for Prague" really brings to life the angst and intensity of this show. O2 drum feature is really starting to sell. Color guard had some really great moments, love that flag feature in the ballad. Just keep selling and keep digging in with the theme and I think this show will really start to sparkle. Mandarins - Inside the Ink Oh man. This is a show from the second they enter the field to the second they exit. So many amazing moments to pick from, the ballad is definitely a highlight but I think this drum feature might be my favorite drum feature of the year. It's just so.........bad ### in every single way. It has Ike Jackson written all over it. Love the tone of the brass and how much of the low brass comes through. And that guard........####. Blew me away. They REALLY sell the insanity aspect of them theme so well. Love the new ending, the tarps are really cool and I love the added velocity in the drill. This show is just textbook good design in every way. Top 12 or not, what an incredible season so far for them and their future is incredibly bright. Blue Stars - Star Crossed/Belton Encore I really don't care what the recap says, this brass section is otherworldly awesome. The high brass is especially good, the clarity in those HUGE mellophone chords in the opener in that high brass feature right after the ballad is incredible. The tricks and things this guard attempts year after year never lose their shock value, there are very few color guards that entertain me that much. And the percussion is as bad ###/intense/fun to watch as ever. They are HOT. Show is really starting to come together, I think it'd be stupid to count this one out of moving up. There are so many great moments throughout, the opening few minutes are especially strong and I love the ballad and closer as well. Drum feature is the only part where I'm thinking they could finalize some layering and change a few things. Regardless, I think it has a ton of potential for growth. If this show is 11th, it's only because there are 10 amazing corps above them. Also, that encore in Belton was AMAZING. Getting to hear them play La Vie en Rose and Shofukan up close and personal was easily one of my favorite moments of the week. They sounded incredible. Crossmen - The Enigma They grab you by the balls from the get go with that soloist/drum feature start and do not let go. That first hit is EXPLOSIVE. Ballad soloist is fantastic and when the whole brassline comes in that was.......oof. Awesome. And the clarity of the articulations of the brass throughout but especially the closer was amazing, you could drive a truck through the space in those notes in the featured articulated passages. They were HOT HOT HOT in San Antonio. I'm really starting to get the show overall and I'm glad they're using the props a lot more, or I just had noticed before. I am interested in how much further they can take this because it comes off as super complete and very clean to me. Blue Knights - i The Beck and Schwantner........oh man. That's some of the freshest percussion and brass writing I've heard in a long time. Those drums are absolutely insane, and the brass side to side passages were INCREDIBLE from a timing standpoint. Wow. Loving the guard changes in the percussion concerto, the flags are WAY more effective than the discs ever were or were going to be. Incredible control and contrast in the closer, it's some of the most musically interesting stuff I heard all week from a dynamic standpoint. I'm really starting to come around to this show overall, kinda shocked at where they finished, because the brass and percussion are top tier. Phantom Regiment - Phantasm This show has come such a long way and still has so much room to grow, I give them credit for attempting such a difficult show. Brass is getting there, still some intonation and tone things throughout but I attribute that more to what they're having to do drill wise while playing. Very solid percussion stuff, some cool writing in the Jarre section. Color guard improved a ton from Broken Arrow to San Antonio, they had a WAY better run on Saturday. And it obviously showed in the recap, not sure about 4th but I'm no guard expert. Loving the new flags at the end, very impactful paired with the white skirts. They're starting to sell me overall, more so visually than on the musical/overall concept side of things. Not huge on the SUPER Broken Arrow voiceovers saying fantasy, invasion, madness, and whatever else ten billion times but I'll not let that ruin a show for me. They have limitless potential this year, interested in how far they take this thing. The Cadets - The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven I have to give them credit for having one of the most unique shows from a pacing standpoint I've ever seen, don't think I've experienced anything like it. Simple Song in the opener is beautiful. Agnus Dei is straight up Cadets with some singers thrown on top, great job to them by the way throughout. The middle portion of the show does feel really long, but it has some incredibly fun moments, especially towards the end of it. New closer definitely has more punch than the old one did. The two big things that turn me off some are still the narrated/dialogue bits and the last uniform change. The rest of the show is what it is and it's incredibly clear without it being told to us. But overall, it's starting to come together and kudos to those members for attacking so many changes/additions head on. They're beasts being able to tackle that stuff. This show has a pretty high ceiling, they're in a potentially good place depending on how they move from here. Boston Crusaders - Wicked Games I don't think I have a single negative thing to say about this show; I think this was my favorite of the week. It's 12 minutes of perfectly spaced amazing moments and being sold by 150 incredible performers. Musical construction as I've said before is amazing, the pacing, layering of voice overs into the music, use of voice in the texture of the brass in the ballad, and use of the front ensemble as a thread to weave together the whole show is just absolutely masterful. Visually it's the same thing. Your eye is guided so well to every single big event and moment and is sold by what I thought was easily one of the best guards on the field at both shows that I saw. They grab you by the throat and do not let go for the whole show. I was so blown away by them, the work and performance quality selling the characterization of this show is amazing. The singer in the ballad, she looks and sounds like she's part of a high end theatrical production and her voice is incredible. She sounds like she is singing with a purpose. Brass and percussion are fantastic, the control and clarity in that opening statement from the brass is so tasteful, and the percussion throughout is text book McNutt/Moyer. Those rim shots going into "Grohg" are so tasteful and their features in that section and the Ginastera are absolutely fantastic. The usage of themes in the front ensemble throughout again is so good; I love how "Moonlight Sonata" kept finding its way back in throughout the show. The ending........screw historical accuracy. That is one of the most enthralling things I have ever experienced at a drum corps show. The little addition of that smoke just puts the cherry on top, but that chord in the brass at the end..........wow. Had me on my feet well before the end at both shows; this is one of the most entertaining experiences I've had the pleasure of experiencing as a drum corps fan. Finally, I love the fact they're not shying away from such dark material and selling it in a way that's appealing. That's hard to do. And as I told the souvenir lady in Belton, those members are kicking ###. The Cavaliers - Men Are From Mars Man. Texas loves them some Cavaliers. And so do I. Easily one of my top three favorites from the last week. Like Bluecoats their confidence/performance quality/personality/etc. when they perform is so so so fun. Lets start with the obvious. That guard. Incredible. The athleticism and level of performance of this incredibly hard program is absolutely enthralling to watch. That 20 yard flag exchange near the end of "Little Green Men" is jaw dropping. A breeze caught that thing in Broken Arrow and almost sent it into the stands which added a whole other level of oh ####. lol Love the rifle stuff in "Mars"/"My Way" as well. Percussion is old school awesome in your face cool splits and tricks POWER playing, the stuff at the end is so awesome. I sat in front of a tenor (I think) grandma in San Antonio, and told she should be very proud. As should our resident @PopcornEater1963. Brass has made TONS of progress and they're really starting to hang with the big boys. Technical passages are starting to sound tight and that ballad is really starting to reminisce of their mid 2000s ones. I love the theme and its underlying messages. TONS of emotions and tones in this show, I still think the middle section is absolutely hilarious. I wonder what the joke was in San Antonio......his mic cut out as he was telling it. BUT we did get to hear some super tasty bass splits. They were one of the crowd favorites in San Antonio easily, there is just a aura about them that makes them hard not to love. Last thing, that section leading into the ballad with the flag exchange and whiplash drill and insane keyboard stuff and all that is some of the coolest run and gun stuff I've seen in recent memory. This show is a blast. Bluecoats - Jagged Line It's a pretty freaking good year when a show like this is sitting in 4th. I still think they're a change/cleaning away from easily fighting for a medal but we shall see. Opener timing seemed pretty solid, maybe a bit more so in Broken Arrow. No guard expert but I still love that opening flag feature right up front, it's incredibly exciting to watch. "Psychopomp" is a ton of fun, some incredibly cool time signature/timing stuff they do. That 20 yard tenor feature still blows my mind. And that snake drill REALLY got that crowd hyped up at both shows I went to. I personally really like the ballad live, I think the contrast of what you see/expect to happen when they turn around and what actually happens is pretty cool. But to each their own. Soloist was great. Psathas is really starting to cook for me, no one ever seems to talk about the absolutely ridiculous keyboard stuff that goes on in this. FANTASTIC stuff. Aggressiveness of the drums is new for me, usually their writing is much more laid into the texture/relaxed but this is a fun change. Zappa is where the fun really begins for me. In Broken Arrow especially, the clarity of the hornline reaches its greatest point here, some incredibly complex time/rhythmic stuff that might not be your traditional technical run but it's just as impressive to me. But above all else it's just a fun, let their hair down, and entertaining piece of music. Ending is still....wow. When they hit that snake with the two soloists (the one on the right using a pedal is SO cool!) the crowd went nuclear, especially when it hits that reprise. The low brass sprinting down that ramp is still as terrifying and awesome as ever, and those ear splitting power shots and the end are everything. They are easily a crowd favorite and was encouraging to see them inch closer on Saturday. The season really has just begun, and I can't wait to see this thing clean/enhance. The way those performers look like they're enjoying the show is so infectious, I have a blast watching them perform. Carolina Crown - It Is I came into this week REALLY thinking I was going to really dislike this show. They're starting to sell me. I'll work backwards. That closer is so so so dependent and features the percussion HEAVILY. That was incredibly bold move on their part and man. They pull it off. After years of people (IMO in most cases unfairly) using the percussion as the scapegoat for their scoring shortcomings, they are undeniably good. It's an incredibly agressive and in your face book with some absolutely ear splitting stuff in the closer. It's a blast. And that Carolina Crown bass 5 solo built into the closer is fantastic. Love it. Ballad is really nice, still is a pretty stark contrast to the rest of the show but in itself it's really started to work. Brass sounds gorgeous underneath it. The Giannini/Ives/etc. section is a ton of fun, like the play with the props and deconstructing the field (just hope no one ever catches one of those boards and bites it). And the Bach opener. As soon as they play the first note you know this hornline is incredible. The restraint and builds/falls volume wise display their incredible musicality right from the get go. Overall I think the show is super obvious myself, and I don't mean that in a bad way just that I definitely get it. They always have a trick up their sleeve in terms of late season additions so I'm excited to see those. Color guard is getting the same kind of grief percussion did in recent years which IMO isn't fair. I think for a staff change and what seem like an incredible amount of amazing guards they're doing fine. Just need some time to get more confident and a lot of issues will fix themselves. Enjoyment grew with each consecutive viewing. Santa Clara Vanguard - Ouroboros Oh my God. This show is one of the most seamless, coordinated, detailed, freshest, and enthralling shows I've ever seen live. Even up close where I could see a lot of corps tricks/equipment changes/etc. coming I could not with SCV. The way they use the props to hide members, equipment changes, etc. is just all a masterful game of "WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM???". Every little thing is effective. So elephant in the room is the featured performers vs. the rest of the hornline. I really don't mind it, they're not trying to hide this with some mics hidden in the corps and playing a trick on us, they're obviously featured throughout and I like the uniform change to highlight that. They're absolute virtuosic animals. The rest of the hornline is not backup to them, they have PLENTY of very intricate and hard passages and they're hauling ### doing it most of the time. IF they can match the featured performers in performance it'll really be amazing and they're getting there. Other sections, the percussion is as amazing as always. I didn't really enjoy the book on its own (this was VERY early in the season) but the way it's woven into the horn book is MASTERFUL, it's so organic and plays so well with the brass stuff from Shaw. And of course they perform it at the highest of levels, loved the basses spinning on the prop right after the ballad is over. Color guard seems like their best in.......a long time? They're amazing, the featured male performer is amazing. And that flag work in the closer is to die for. The highlight of this show is the ballad for me, incredible use of velocity in atypical ways and some incredible restraint and use of tension/release. I think this show simply comes down to performance. I think the risk/reward balance of this show is pretty extreme on both ends. If it gets clean enough..........this is gonna get really interesting. Regardless of that, easily one of my and both audiences I saw it with favorites. It's the IT show this year. Blue Devils - Metamorph I'm going to get my one major personal complaint out of the way. WAY...TOO...MUCH...BASS. Like Oh my God. I thought that was gonna reach brown note frequency from South Park levels, it's LOUD. Might be better up top but where I was it was a good few times louder than anyone elses. Ok. That's done. And I think they had some soloist mics out in San Antonio but they still projected very well where I was. On to the show. The way they perform is just second to none in confidence/professionalism/and clarity. Everything they do is done at the highest of levels. I love how from the get go of this show they put everything on super high exposure. 16 member snare feature is INCREDIBLY exposed and risky, that kind of writing and playing has to be nailed perfectly to sound clean and they're getting there with every show. And the rifle work and file marching across the field have to be impeccable too or it won't work. Love the added drill towards the end of the opening statement. Bumblebee is starting to sound really good, they've rewritten some ends of phrases and added some landing points that give it more accuracy and clarity. Starting to really cook. And man, I don't know much about guard but their rifles throughout, but especially this part were otherworldly awesome to watch. The ease they toss some of those INSANELY high tosses with blows my drummer mind. "Everything Must Change" is a ball buster, that's about as old school park and bark (I USE THAT IN A GOOD WAY HERE) ear shattering straight up music as it gets and people are still complaining about it. Oh well, I loved it. And the level of talent in those soloists is just insane, they all sound incredible. Trumpet feature immaculate. Closer still isn't my favorite thing in the world but I just apply my own personal preference to that, I will say that it is incredibly dense in terms of simultaneous events going on and I could probably find something new for years now which I have come to expect/love from them. Sitting down low I sure never thought hmm.........they sure are not moving any. They might not be marching 4 - 5 220 or whatever but it's smart. It's allowing them to max out. And if they max out too early I'm sure they'll add something else. All in all, they perform at a level that is their own and they really sold me on this thing, it's mind blowing how good they are.
  6. 31 points
    Bluecoats' 2017 production, Jagged Line, has met with quite a bit of controversy. "It the same thing as last year!" "There's no theme!" "Dancing is dumb, why would anyone do it?" Well, these are all completely valid concerns, so I decided to dive into the Jagged Line and try and figure out what the show is actually about. What I found shocked me, and may shock you. In an unprecedented move, the 2017 Bluecoats design team actually had the cajones to do a show of commentary on drum corps itself, both acknolwedging its past, and looking toward its future. Hear me out. The very first thing we hear when the show begin is a sample of the "Prelude" from Thank You Scientist's album Maps of Non-Existent Places; the lyrics are "Leaving without a trace / Don't know when I'll be back again". That is, we are starting from a place of familiarity (the paradigm of drum corps until now) and moving into uncharted territory (innovation in design). As the full brass choir comes in, we are given a final sample of "Leaving...", signaling our departure from where we "are" and the start of our journey into "where we will go". As the percussion enters, the brass ensemble struts out from under the prop and performs a choreographed dance program. Some say that this is simply recycled from last year's program; in actuality, it is the beginnings of an examination into the "past", beginning with just one season prior. In fact, this is our first hint into the theme of the Jagged Line in general: the Jagged Line represents the schism of past and future. If you don't see it, simply look at a timeline that has been abbreviated: Things that happen on the left of the prop represent the "old", and things that happen on the right represent the "new". This is a recurring theme that will show up later. But what does it mean when the corps is on the prop itself? Back to the show: The very first impact of the show takes place with the entire corps on the prop. Is this just a visual decision in order to emphasize the Jagged Line visual theme? Or is it more? When you think back to the left/right of the prop design from earlier, the answer becomes clear: when the corps is on the prop, it represents the marriage of old and new; the intersection of tradition and innovation in the present. Thus, the initial impact is a statement that while this show is going to examine both past and future, it is going to do so from the perspective of unifying them. Immediately after the opening chords, the high brass marches down the ramp and veers straight off into the "past" side of the prop. What does their drill do? They make rectangles and do box rotations, classic drill characteristics of the 2000s decade. When the low brass on the right side of the prop joins the high brass in the standstill with body movement, the form is disinctly reminiscent of 2000 Cavaliers, and the footwork reminiscent of 2010-era Crown; when they break into individual movements, it's a taste of "breaking down" the form and movements from unity into elements; a "deconstruction", if you will. What's interesting about the next phrase of drill is that while the horns start off facing backfield, they quickly turn to face right; facing the "future". The battery drill seems to lead them to want to go to the "past", but they reverse their direction and follow the horns. Meanwhile, the guard is gathering in the "past", and using traditional guard equipment such as flags and rifles, both things that are becoming more and more scarce in modern guard design. After the impact, the quad feature; a standard of drum corps designs both old and new. This one combined both style, utilizing both modern rhythmic and melodic vocabulary (in the feature proper) and traditional, less active writing (in the ostinato). Note also that this feature is in 7/4, and then moves to 4/4; even while the written material moves from traditional to modern, the time signature moves from modern to traditional, ending on the same spock roll that was so lauded in 2015. The tubas being on the prop is the glue that ties the next section together; a truly brilliant marriage of old and new. The low brass on the right side of the prop are playing very modern, pointed rhythms, almost percussive; when the high brass enters on the left side, they are in the very high register, reminiscent of 1980s Madison Scouts. The tubas on the prop privde the grounding that marry the past screaming and the future minimalism together. This is emphasized even more when the brass snakes through the prop, literally jumping between eras as they bring their statement to a final close. Now, the ballad. Much talked-about, very controversial. First, observe that the brass and guard spend the entire movement in the "past" side of the prop. This does not necessarily mean that the ballad is meant to be a representation of the past; rather, it is an examination of the past and what made the past great. The soloist stands on the prop, again signaling that the past will be viewed through the lens of the present. There is a very clear demarcation during the ballad; the curvilinear where the brass puts their horns down. To me, this is intensely reminiscent of the visual theme of the Bluecoats 2015 show, Kinetic Noise, except inverted; where before, the frantic action taking place during the baritone solo was above the curve, where here it is below. Note that as players "escape" from the hectic choreography inside the curve, their movements "calm down"; they become pensive as they reflect on the past. As the brass choir comes to a cadence, we expect a huge hit, but no. The brass begins marching away from us, as if to say that our expectations are outdated, and we cannot cling to the past. To emphasize this, they literally turn around, gazing one last time into the venerated altar of history as they play their beautiful chorale, which, again in defiance of our expectations, gets played back to us loud and clear, a foreshadowing of the integration of old (brass) and new (electronics). On the final chord, they turn back to the front, allowing us for one last time to luxuriate in the lushness of the traditional chorale ending of ballads old. However, even as this is happening, the battery, under the prop instead of over it, beckons us toward the present (the prop), to grow till tall, heard but not seen as if to represent the irresistable pull of idiomatic evolution. I haven't spoken much about the front ensemble yet, because there hasn't been too much to say about them so far. However, note that for the percussion break, the marimbas (the featured instrument in the original One Study, One Summary) are pushed forward; this may seem odd in the context of their setup, but realize that where the marimbas have pushed to is actually where the marimbas would normally be in a traditional front ensemble setup (at least in terms of front-to-back). This is a small way to ease the transition into the very, very modern percussion break; our attention is drawn to the snares on the prop, who start as a solo but build into a full section, representing more and more people wrenching away from the past and back to the present. During the snare feature, notice the shapes that the hornline make with their drill; they are arrows, first pointing right, to the future, then for a moment heading back left, toward the past, before resolutely heading into the prop (the present), simultaneously "pushing" the guard into the future. Note that the guard equipment has changed from the traditional flag and rifle into a newer implement: a cane. As the percussion breaks down their groove, the hornline and guardline are integrated into a very, very modern dance choreography, in some ways reminiscent of the choreography from earlier but also different. At the climax of the percussion break, the hornline has formed a literal line through the prop; this is the timeline that got slashed in the image above. Note that most of the timeline is on the right side of the prop; we are nearly finished with the past, but the future has much to explore. The Zappa piece, Zomby Woof, takes place exclusively on the right side of the prop, much like the ballad took place exclusively on the left. Canny observers will note the extensive similarities in visual design approach to the very recent developments of the Blue Devils, as well as the Bluecoats themselves in 2016. Musically, no more fitting word can be applied to Zappa in general than "weird"; when gazing into the immediate future of drum corps, that word applies aptly, and the strange fivelets that the trumpets (and piccolo trumpet solo) play reflect that perfectly. The Zappa is fun, it's energetic, and it's high energy, but it can be easy to be lost in all of that hype and energy, and lose sight of the history that got us to where we are. The quads show up just in time to remind us; two on the left of the prop, two on the right, and one up on top, they march down the field to remind us that we can't just have fun in the sun with our new design toys. Indeed, as the quads finish, the snares pick up, this time entirely on the left side of the prop, as if to emphasize that we cannot forget the past; the front ensemble has returned to the groove from earlier in the show, demonstrating even here a small look into ten minutes ago. As the final percussion break finishes, and the trumpet duet takes over, the hornline gives perhaps the best homage to old-school drum corps possible: symmetrical drill, and follow-the-leader. Even as we are hearing an incredibly modern usage of mic'd guitar patch over screaming trumpets, we see a throwback to the earliest visual designs of drum corps. However, right at the end, when the block consolidates, it is not symmetrical, but repeats the arrow from the drum break, pointing to the right. The message is clear: Even as we respect the past, we MUST stride toward the future. As the form unwinds and the low brass sprints down the ramp, we see this demonstrated as the symmetrical drill returns and the brass, now completely in front of all of the mic picks and therefore playing completely acoustically, marches into a double company front, while the guard behind them chaotically throws their flags to the winds, mounts the prop, and flings their hats, creating an explosion as old and new fuse to create the perfect marriage of style. ----------
  7. 31 points
  8. 30 points
    Can I get this off my chest? I love Crown. I'm a brass player and they make my socks roll up and down. But that singer...Bless your heart darlin' and I know you're trying but...
  9. 29 points
    Preface - So, 2017 is in the books! What an amazing season this was start to finish, Championships or not, Open and World Class, etc. I had a blast following this year, my week in Broken Arrow, Belton, and San Antonio was a blast. When it comes down to it the people and atmosphere fosters is just amazing and second to none......I'm having some battles right now with what I exactly want to do with my life but I know for certain it has to be under the umbrella of this activity. I'm pretty exhausted right now and REALLY need to go to bed, so this might lack some proofreading and details but I just wanna get it out there for everyone to enjoy! EVERYONE deserves some love. Every corps and member does an amazing job every season. There are shows that I might not like and corps that don't place where I might want them but I am not gonna let that get in my way of finding something positive in every show and performance. Congrats on the members, staffs, volunteers, show sponsors, and everyone involved on an incredible 2017. I took on every single show I saw this year, so prepare for a helluva long winded post. But I hope it's worth it for everyone to read through it. Enjoy! I'm gonna do an additional post on my thoughts of the BIG topics of 2017 like A&E, Uniforms, etc. so look out for that too! But for now....... Regional Touring Corps – These make me so excited about the future and growth of the activity. So many great corps weren’t even at championships this year, I had a blast watching a lot of these. Assuming some of these make the trip to Championships some day soon, it’s going to get incredibly exciting in Open Class. Blue Devils C always blows me away for their age, this year seemed especially mature and well performed from them. Always a fun and entertaining show from the most adorable corps on the planet, loved the plane theme this year. Incognito was small but impressive considering the exposure each performer had, they performed very well. Watchmen were a great surprise, loved the Norse thematic material and they had a GREAT percussion section. Only caught a YouTube video of Heat Wave, but man they improved a TON this year, easily the best show in their three year history. It definitely showed in their scoring too, they were right on the heels of Southwind and Louisiana Stars early on before their tour ended. The next three REALLY impressed me, these three are incredibly mature for their age in pretty much every aspect on and off the field and when they decide to head to Indy they are REALLY going to turn even more heads than they already have. Golden Empire’s hidden gems themed show is pretty appropriate, they continue to put out incredibly ambitious and increasingly well performed programs. I really enjoyed the more tangible theme this year and accessible music, “One Day I’ll Fly Away” was very nice. Incredibly successful season for them beating the next two corps. Columbians really impressed me two years ago with their “1942” program and again last year with their INCREDIBLY fun “Clash!” show with one of the coolest props I’ve ever seen. This years “Do Not Go Gentle” show seemed like an attempt at a much more mature and difficult show and I think they definitely succeeded. They’re an incredibly balanced corps with a particularly strong brass line in my eyes...ears? Nevertheless, a regional open class corps giving such an incredibly mature musical moment in the “Adagio for Strings” ballad with that huge and long crescendo is a testament to how far down the ranks talent goes nowadays. Loved their show on the Denver FloMarching cast. Lastly, The Battalion. This was their 2nd year and their performing a show like that that well? Wow. This is the kind of corps that a decade from now could be a huge heavy hitter in Open Class. Incredibly cohesive and well constructed show, use of silence was very clever and the visual design was especially great. Some absolutely fantastic moments throughout the show that were fantastically paced and built into. And they are incredibly strong in every caption, brass especially blew me away. That first big statement with the mellophones…...oof. Gimme more of that! If I had to buy stock in a corps I could see being the next thing, it might be these guys. Second year? That makes me giggle, cannot wait for next year. Open Class - The best set of Open Class shows I have ever seen, top to bottom. The Company - Tomorrow, It's Just Around the Corner 1st Place International Class - 72.325 The Company – So glad these guys made the trip over, have always enjoyed their offerings for DCE, and this show was no disappointment. This is probably the most impressed I have been by an overseas corps coming to the US since I’ve started following the activity, fantastic design and incredibly energetic and clean performance all three times I saw this one online. Very seamless and well constructed music book from Markworth and loved the visual program, especially the use of color and the overall aesthetic. Overall, great job and come back again! Les Stentors - The Red Line of Fate (I think?) 16th Place - 55.2 I always appreciate when corps that are on the small side shrink down their performance spaces, really helps make the performance feel more intimate and energetic and it just stages them better. Very fun start to Open Class overall, really enjoyed the singer in the ballad and the color guard usage, they were definitely the standout section. The level of exposure for groups of this size is pretty astounding, everyone has to be pulling their weight 100% and I think they did a great job of it. Can’t find a list of their repertoire but it was all fun and familiar music I enjoyed. Overall, nice job! Impulse - In the Beginning 15th Place - 58.125 It’s been cool to see these guys be able to make it out to Indianapolis this year and last year, hope they can bring more of their regional Open Class friends in the coming years. Very fun show, particularly enjoyed the “Rite of Spring”/”Eye of the Tiger” mashup, I could get used to this two things that shouldn’t work together but do thing that one other corps I’ll talk about later has certainly mastered. Hornline for their size really puts out a good and strong sound, especially at the finish of their show. Big drumline was very solid and the color guard had some great moments too. Overall, a very fun show! Colt Cadets - The Rivers Edge 14th Place - 61.2 Again, love the shrinking of performance space to fit the corps. This was a big step up, very pretty and gorgeous color and musical palette they worked with in this show. Loved the use of the silks in the guard. Hornline put out some very mature and musical sounds, lots of tasteful dynamic work throughout. Drums were solid as well. Particularly enjoyed the Smetana ballad, love “Ma Vlast” which I think is what they pulled from. Overall, very nice job. This Colt Cadets corps is light years better than the one I saw when I first started following the activity back around 2008/2009. Shadow - Atreyu 13th Place - 62.225 Seeing corps of this size doing this ambitious of a show is pretty awesome. First of all, percussion stole the show for me. From the get go the front ensemble plays with incredible maturity and musicality, they were easily one of the best front ensembles of the day; they were great throughout the whole show. They put out the first BIG sound of the day in Open Class prelims, hornline had a ton of energy and presence. Really liked the use of the fabrics and tarps throughout, I knew back in Minneapolis they were gonna have one at the end and low and behold there it was. I also liked the addition of the white fabric at the end, great transformation that helped bring some thematic clarity. This is a corps in their 2nd year doing great things and with high school aged kids? That’s awesome. Raiders - Iconic 12th Place - 64.975 Very fun show from these guys, loved the eclectic mix of music that everyone knows and loves. They have a ton of great soloists in this show, the talent level of the membership is obviously very high when you feature that many members so well. Particularly enjoyed the “Beat It” and “Let it Be” parts of the show. Really enjoyed the color guard as well, they’re staged and featured well throughout the show. Nice job! River City Rhythm - Misshapen 11th Place - 67.688 Very cool and fun show, they get the morphing/distortion theme across very well communicated through the Beethoven that we all know and the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ballad is GREAT. The star of this show for me is easily the percussion, the brass had increasingly great performances through Championships and the guard was solid but percussion…...well you can tell they have their roots indoor. Fantastic front ensemble playing from the get go, great features throughout, and I really enjoyed the morphing tenor feature. That was a great variation on the stationary tenor feature we’ve all seen before, nice keeping it fresh AND thematically relevant. Loved the pitch bend at the end of the show. I’ve really enjoyed them every year since their first season back in 2015, and this year was easily their strongest yet. I’m very excited at what’s in store for these guys in the future. Guardians - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 10th Place - 69.737 This is easily one of my favorites from the Open Class slate this year, this show is a blast. The insanity versus sanity idea has been done before but never in a way this fresh through Kanye West of all things. Love the way this show is set up from the get go, tons of great drill and moments throughout the first half but the second half of this show is where the real fun begins. Absolutely loved the Himdemith trombone feature in the closer and then we throw that amazing ramp drum feature on top of it and the energy and excitement goes into overload mode. They have a fantastic percussion section and color guard that’s featured in that portion, the two featured performers symbolizing sane Kanye and insane Kanye are AMAZING performers, they’re a blast to watch. Love the subtle use of the uniforms throughout the show, the different colored legs and flipping of the caps are small things but super effective. Overall this show is IMO one of the more ambitious and mature designs on the Open Class field this year. I can’t wait to see what they do next year, they’re two for two with me. Southwind - Toxic Mind 9th Place - 70.125 I hadn’t seen anything the whole year from Southwind and hadn’t read a ton either, so when they came on and did what they did in the 11th place slot in Open Class prelims me and I think everyone else watching were blown the hell away. Their arrangements and hornline performance were easily some of my favorite of the week relatively. The energy of this show was off the hook; Loved the use of Creep throughout mixed in with all the other music, “Superstitious” was fantastic, loved that trombone feature and the Muse stuff in the closer was amazing as well. This show is just straight up what I love about drum corps. Their brass definitely stole the show, high brass and mello books and performances were amazing for that tier of corps. Percussion and guard were both very solid throughout as well. Seeing these guys back on the national stage for the first time in a decade making that kind of impression is probably one of my highlights of the season, I love getting shell shocked by Open Class corps I haven’t seen all year and this one probably takes the cake for that. I am dying to see where they go next year. 7th Regiment - ...as the Sun Loved the Moon 8th Place - 72.0 Beautiful show this year, love story shows that are very easy to follow and interpret. Fantastic use of color throughout to communicate the sun and moon and both coming together at the end through the guard costuming, silks, and props. Very interesting and eclectic use of music throughout, who woulda thought that “Incantation and Dance” mixed with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” would work so well together? Very nice. Very controlled and clear brass performance from them, loved the ballad soloist. Overall I don’t have a ton more to say other than beautiful show, great job, and I look forward to seeing these guys every year. Fantastically designed show that was perfect for them as a membership. AND THEY GOT THEIR DINO NUGGS!!! Gold - Grow 7th Place - 72.75 This one grew on me every time I saw it this week, they really shined in Lucas Oil on Thursday morning. It was a lot easier to pick up this theme on the high cam in prelims, the growing theme definitely came across. I think it’s all original but some great musical moments throughout, the ballad was especially nice. Brass has great tone and clarity throughout and the color guard really shined in this show. Loved the ending, great drill, bright flags, ramming drums, and that last brass chord were all a great way to cap off that show. Great job! Louisiana Stars - Sanctuary 6th Place - 73.213 They won the most improved Open Class award for the second year in a row, and I can see why. Much more cohesive and better performed show this year. And I enjoyed last years too. The star of this show is definitely the musical program, tons of variety in style and musicality, they really play with great control throughout the whole show. Loved the vocal moments, the duet at the start of the show was great and the full corps singing stuff in the ballad was nice. Percussion really shined this year in addition to the brass, they definitely led the corps through OC Championships. Great visual program too this year that was a huge improvement over 2016. This corps is going places, and I’m excited to see what’s next for them! Spartans - Connected 5th Place - 75.925 This was a huge step up in visual programming and performance in Open Class competition, and it’s ultimately what put them in Semifinals. Fantastic use of choreography and staging, and that guard is fantastic year in and year out. I really enjoyed the show this year, particularly the drum feature with all the cell phone/communication stuff that they turned into an incredibly fun and exciting closer to the show. Congrats on keeping the semis streak going, and I look forward to seeing the show next year! Music City - Tribe 4th Place - 76.763 I can sum it up pretty shortly, this was their best show and corps in their history. After how their season began……...it warms my heart seeing how they finished this year. They earned every bit of that finish this year. They took a huge leap forward to me visually, the drill design and staging was a huge improvement over last year with some incredible field coverage and staged moments. The color guard was also fantastic, loved their use of color and thematic portrayal. Musically they were as enjoyable as ever, the musical texture of the ballad and that HUGE entrance after the drum feature that they nailed every time were amazing moments coming from an Open Class corps, though lets be honest; at this point in OC finals we had already well surpassed World Class levels of design and performance. Huge congrats on an amazing 2017 season and 2nd semis appearance! They’re currently under evaluation for a World Class promotion for 2018, they’ve certainly reached that level as a performing ensemble. They’ll move up soon if it doesn’t happen this year. Legends - The Signal 3rd Place - 77.25 First of all, I’m just glad they made it to Championships. Seeing them raise 100k in about 24 hours was pretty incredible. Just get that in order please! That’s out of the way now. Man, they just keep on improving year after year. This years show was a huge step up in maturity from a design perspective and from a performance perspective. The level their brass performs at is amazing, my personal favorite from Open Class Championships. The color guard and percussion also took big strides this year. GREAT music and drill this year, the “Wall-E” opener and “Sound of Silence” ballad were definitely highlights of OC Championships for me. The lighting trick this year was about as cool as 2016s, very fun theme that they portrayed well. Nice job, hope to see them as strong next year! Blue Devils B - The World the Children Made 2nd Place - 79.625 These guys have every bit as much swagger and confidence as their World Class counterpart and man it’s fun to watch. Their show had the best of what makes the Blue Devils the Blue Devils, incredibly professional and tight performances from all captions, very tight show design, and they perform it at an incredibly high level. I didn’t enjoy this years offering quite as much as last years amazing space show, but it was still an enjoyable program. Loved the weaving of “Pure Imagination” throughout the whole show in different ways. Loved the use of a mbira and the overall musical texture added from the front ensemble. Overall, just a great and solid show as always. Vanguard Cadets - In Pieces 1st Place, All Captions - 80.725 SCVC this year and BDB last year are the peak of an amazing Open Class, and man this was a fun show this year. This show reminds me a lot of Bluecoats 2016 Championship show in the best of ways; it was incredibly seamless, featured simple but hugely effective props, and had an incredibly infectious energy that was hard to deny in terms of effect. In addition to that they were just incredibly solid across the board, their sweep at Champoinships was very well deserved, particularly really enjoyed the percussion and color guard. Loved the use of percussion in the front half of the show and the closer was just a blast…...fantastic trombone and screamer soloists that nailed it all five times I watched the show online; that paired with the Vanguard moment made this show just incredibly exciting to watch. That was an amazing way to kick off SCVs 50th Anniversary on Championships week. 13th - 23rd in World Class - Full of incredibly accessible, fun, and record setting shows across all corps: Pioneer - Irish on Broadway 34th Place - 65.913 I can always count on Pioneer for something that’s very easy to just sit back and enjoy, and this years Les Mis show is no exception. Loved the various showcased soloists throughout, some fantastic guard moments, a great flugel soloist, and that singer is just stellar. Loved the use of the barricade props as well in the latter half. Pioneer has put out some very solid and entertaining shows as of late, last years Joan of Arc show particularly being a highlight. They do what they do very well, and I enjoyed it this year once again. Jersey Surf - Make it Our Own 27th Place - 71.613 This year was a big step up in programming to me from previous years. After 2012s huge success in that amazingly entertaining Bridgemen tribute show I felt like either they tried to recapture that magic and were not as successful or went too serious and lost what made them Jersey Surf. Musically especially this show had tons of depth and maturity to it filled with some fantastic moments throughout. The Snarky Puppy opener was a blast, the Sia ballad is beautiful (that climax is great), and the Basia closer was very laid back and fun. I easily see myself listening to this one a lot over the summer, courtesy of the arrangements and a hornline that can really push some power. Enjoyed the guard contribution as well, loved the use of color from them. Overall, most I’ve enjoyed one of their shows in a few years. I feel bad that they missed semifinals, they had a better show this year Open Class is just explosive in its growth right now. Seattle Cascades - Set Free 26th Place - 74.125 I’ve loved watching this corps grow every year since 2014 and seeing them field their largest corps ever only three seasons later is awesome. This year was the next logical step in a set of incredibly exciting and accessible shows. Easy to understand theme and great music with an incredibly tasteful visual program. I can always count on Mr. Norfleet for some incredibly fresh and exciting arranging and this years closer mashup of “Shostakovitch 10”/”Bird Set Free” is no exception. All captions continue to make strides, and even though the color guard might have been a scoring weakness after them fielding less than ten a few years ago, seeing the field full of flags and equipment is very promising. And like Jersey Surf, I think the explosion of Open Class is just really hard to keep up with. That shouldn’t diminish what was IMO a great season for them. Genesis - The Other Side of Now 23rd Place - 76.213 First of all, welcome to World Class! And I definitely think they belong. They showed incredible maturity in designing a show that is very challenging and taking it on with fantastic performances from all three captions, especially the brass. Their approach to ensemble sound, tone, etc. is very good and with a few years watch out for them. Overall it’s a familiar but very well executed concept that is very accessible and very captivating to general audiences. The music book was very eclectic full of great music that we all know and love in this activity and that visual program was a blast to watch from up top; so many cool sequences and moments throughout it. If this is their first effort in WC, I can’t wait to see what they’re doing down the road. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. Pacific Crest - Golden State of Mind 21st Place - 78.00 I really enjoyed Pacific Crest last year and I did again this year. Highlight is definitely the very easy to listen to music program, full of very recognizable, fun, and beautiful music. Best part of the show for me was definitely “Alfonso Muskedunder”, that was just old school park and bark jam out fun. The “Lost” ballad was great too, really enjoyed the use of color in the ballad visually. And the “California Dreaming” recap was great too. The visual program was great too, very well constructed and very readable. Great in all captions, brass line especially live because they had some punch. Overall not much else to say other than I enjoy what they do and I can always count on them for an easy to get and easy to watch/listen to show. Oregon Crusaders - EnCompass 20th Place - 79.05 Who woulda thought that U2, Elgar, and Enya would make such a seamless and gorgeous musical program? I’ve always wanted to hear more of “Enigma Variations” on the field, and them supplementing it with the U2 and Enya songs was a great move. By itself it could have gotten a bit redundant (it is a theme and variations after all) but adding those other two elements was a fantastic move that really gave it some freshness and variety. This show is a pretty seamless and organic thought so it’s hard to pick just one moment but that ballad was fantastic. The Academy did this last year in their closer and Oregon Crusaders caught on too…...it’s amazing what can happen when you just let something breathe for a few minutes and let it be what it is. Love what Tim Snyder and his team did with the hornline this year, they sounded amazing. Percussion was as amazing as ever, the bass line (which is always kick ###) and the front ensemble especially stood out to me. And the color guard…….this is the best guard I think they’ve fielded ever maybe? They were great, that’s been a weakness in the past but not this year. Great visual program too with the props and use of the encircling motif throughout. This is gonna be a show I listen to on repeat a ton. Spirit of Atlanta - Crossroads: We Are Here 18th Place - 80.075 Ever since post 2013 it has felt like Spirit of Atlanta has been lost in finding what they wanted to do, their shows felt a little bit safe and familiar until this year. This year had a sense of them trying something new and trying to forge a new identity and I think it was a great start at that. This show was way more exciting than their last three efforts, the very eclectic music program especially. There was enough familiar Spirit of Atlanta in there but also some great stuff that was new territory like the John Mackey, the Vienna Teng, and the Snarky Puppy closer. The ballad was easily a highlight of the show for me, so so beautiful. Very exciting visual program as well, loved the use of color in the guard and I personally really liked the new uniform. Overall I’m more excited about where Spirit of Atlanta is headed than I have been in awhile, almost reminds me of 2010 in a way. I think good things could be in store for them next year. Troopers - Duels and Duets 17th Place - 81.275 Overall it might have missed the mark conceptually and visually but man what a fun show this year form them full of INCREDIBLE moments. They cleaned and transformed this thing drastically over the back half of the season and turned it into something very fun to watch and listen too. The obvious standout here is the Puccini ballad........the transition into and then the payoff at the end is absolutely GLORIOUS! Musically I see this show getting tons of replays when I get the audio for it. So it might not have placed as high as recent years, but still a fun show that everyone seemed to enjoy. Interested in what 2018 brings! Colts - Both Sides Now 15th Place - 83.888 What a beautiful show this year........this was just a pleasure to sit back and enjoy. From the beautiful slow burn opener, to the AMAZING trombone soloist and guard moment in the ballad, to those piercing last notes this was their most cohesive and seamless show in years. I don't have a lot more to say outside of that. Fantastic performances from all sections, and a huge shoutout to what I think was probably their best percussion section in the modern era for them. Huge congrats, can't wait to see the shoe next year! The Academy - By a Hare 14th Place - 84.188 Man, it took a little bit of the season to get it there but what an incredibly fun and just down right entertaining show this turned into. Even if it was quite as competitively successful as 2016s show this was still true to what everyone has fallen in love with in terms of their identity. EASY to get and amazingly fun theme, beautiful melodies and all recognizable music, amazing characters and portrayal by the guard, sweeping huge drill, and just amazing energy all around. This was an incredibly talented corps too, all sections put out great performances this year. Don't have much more else to say other than I loved it and PLEASE........just because this year was a bit of a step back in numbers, don't let it change who you are. You are a voice we need in this activity and I hope they maintain who they are. Mandarins - Inside the Ink 13th Place - 85.55 What a season. When The Academy made finals in 2016 as the first new corps to make finals since 2002 it sparked a discussion of who would be next after them. My pick was the Mandarins. In the recent years they have been putting together some incredibly cohesive and well designed shows that were well performed in all captions and when they announced Ike Jackson and the new visual team joining this past year that feeling intensified. Well, they blew past my expectation of it still taking about five or so years to happen and almost pulled it off only a season later. The design of this show on every level was top tier, it was full of so many perfectly coordinated and paced moments throughout the whole show tied together with a fantastically presented theme that they nailed. The build and payoff of the opening hit, the pillow people and use of color and contrast, the AMAZING ballad that used incredible visual tension in the color guard, my favorite drum feature of the year bringing the best of the indoor activity outside from the amazing vocals of “Crazy” to the overall style, and that closer and ending that just exploded. Brass and percussion took leaps forward and the color guard just stole the show this year……...they were amazing performers that brought this show to life. They grew exponentially this year as a membership and an organization and finals would have just been the cherry on top of this corps best show and season in their history and not making it in doesn’t diminish any of what they accomplished. I’m leaving the 2017 season with a new favorite all time non finalist show and one of my top five favorites of the year from the Mandarins. If they did this after placing 17th in 2016……..what the hell do we have in store for 2018? Cannot wait. 2017 Finalists - An AMAZING slate of top 12 corps, and probably the best top 2 since I started following the activity. Madison Scouts - Last Man Standing 12th Place - 85.25 First of all, welcome back to finals! It just feels good when their name is announced on Saturday night. What a transformation this year………...incredibly bold and sharp direction change that was pretty polarizing, myself being on the more positive side of that discussion. They made a statement this year that they’re ready to be something new and break out of their mold to accomplish whatever goal they wanted to and they did. This was an incredibly unique and off the wall show to watch develop all season. Early on I thought the bones were there but they were gonna have to work really hard to sell it for what it was and by finals they definitely did. Loved the use of trombones in the Bartok, loved the ballad, and that ending was absolutely nuclear. They really brought this thing together in the finals week. All of that said I still think it’s the Madison Scouts, they were not as in your face about it but it was still there. I’m excited to see where they go from here, the possibilities are endless. And when they perform that well across the board...look out in 2018. Crossmen - The Enigma 11th Place - 86.825 It seems my view of this show is the opposite of a lot of others. I was not a huge fan early on and was worried about where they would place but I really came around to it overall in the end enjoyed it. Musically this was just fantastic. Tons of amazing moments in the opener, especially the ballad, and love what they did with the Emerson Concerto in the closer. Ballad was probably the highlight of the show for me, that horn soloist was pretty much perfect a huge majority of the time and when the brass comes in at the peak of it, wow. Love it. Loved the tone and approach to brass this year, they had incredible clarity and control to their playing. Percussion and guard were very solid too. Visually, hmm. I think they ended up using the props in more ways than I anticipated and Ebert did a good job writing around those things for sure but it just have a ton of punch up top. That’s probably the only negative thing I can say though, overall a very high energy and exciting show that solidified their position as a finalist. Blue Stars - Star Crossed 10th Place - 87.938 First of all, their encore in Belton this year live up close and personal with that brass and percussion playing the corps song and some other stuff was easily a highlight of the year for me. That was the essence of what makes me love drum corps musically. Their brass this year blew me away. Pure, smooth, clear, powerful, restrained, etc. Love what Ward Miller is doing with them, they sound like no one else and I appreciate them keeping it unamplified, they might not have as much punch as their peers coming out of a speaker but the purity and clarity we get in return? I’ll take that all day everyday. Color guard is as fantastic as ever, every year they blow me away at what they attempt and this year is no exception. Percussion was great too. In terms of the show, I acknowledge the issues thematically and in terms of flow but that doesn’t detract away from the fact that they were marching some of the most exciting drill and playing some of the most emotionally satisfying music on the field this summer. The opener was absolutely beautiful and restrained, the ballad was pretty stunning, the high brass feature in the last third was AMAZING, and the closer with the mellos soaring over htat amazing brass was a treat this year. These guys are the right show away from a huge hit and soaring up in the placements, every single piece is in place. They just need the right medium to communicate it through. But I’ll enjoy them regardless, have always had a soft spot for them since they blew me away as a new fan in 2010 in Denton Texas. Phantom Regiment - Phantasm 9th Place - 88.125 They took on an absolute beast of a show this year, and they cleaned that thing up way more than I ever expected them to by finals. In the end it wasn't my favorite show of the season but it felt like they were trying to turn over a new leaf and start fresh with something still distinctly Phantom Regiment but new and fresh. Wes Cartwright sure made his mark this year, he gave that color guard one of the most easily identifiable and exciting looks on the field this summer. Loved the closer, the use of color in the guard and kinetic energy on the field paired with that absolutely triumphant music was a sight to behold. Great season, looking forward to next year. Blue Knights - i 8th Place - 90.4 To me, the Blue Knights have found the best balance of what is the best about what drum corps was and the best about what drum corps is becoming. They’re both incredibly pure and progressive, finding an amazing balance of what makes drum corps what it is and being bold and fresh. Musically they’re probably the most refreshing and creative corps out there, what Bocook and Jackson among others are doing with their arranging is incredible. The Schwantner percussion concerto portion of the show this year is absolutely to die for. The drums in this show were mind blowing, they play with an intensity and aggression that is rivaled by absolutely no one else. And the level of variety and musicality in what the brass does isn’t either, there wasn’t a show I saw live this year that hard more control and depth to what the brass did. The extremes they play at is unreal. As a show I’m not sure if this was as strong as 2015s seamless and incredibly fresh show or 2014s amazingly emotional and gripping show but after a season that felt a little lost in 2016 they are back to what made me fall in love with them. If they can get stronger visually…….these guys are going to soar up the ranks as a leading voice of progression and purity in the world of the marching arts. The Cadets - The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven 7th Place - 91.675 First of all, the crap and hate that people have to see regarding this corps disgusts me. It pains me to think about members reading the kind of stuff that gets spewed at them. I know they don’t need my concern and they don’t buy into that stuff but I hate that it happens. I have a ton of feelings about this show, I feel like at the end it got heavy handed and a bit buried by all the additions and symbolism but at its core……..what a unique and fresh show this was. I love them experimenting with pacing and musical textures, they tried incredibly bold things in those regards and I we can argue about if they paid off, but I think they did. Some AMAZINGLY beautiful moments in there, the first "Simple Song" impact was just stunning in every way and that ending.........that's about as big and good as it gets in the pageantry world. Great performances from all sections this year, I particularly thought that the color guard did a fantastic job. I'm excited at the possibilities of Bernstein next year........it fits them so well. Here's to 2018! Boston Crusaders - Wicked Games 6th Place - 92.962 My favorite show of 2017. This show for me is everything that is right and that I love about drum corps; the range of emotions I felt live watching this show is pretty unmatched by anything else I’ve say through in a stadium in the heat of the summer. This show is one I have been waiting for to hit the drum corps field in my time as a fan; something that wasn’t afraid to embrace emotions and themes that are a bit darker and harder to sell in a way that is appealing to the masses……..and man they did it. The level of clarity and cohesion from things as big as the choices of music and as small as how tiny snippets of voice overs lay into the musical texture of the show was just second to none for me. No show for me this year felt so seamless or well coordinated. They nailed the programming of music in this show, the eeriness and creepy innocence of “Moonlight Sonata” woven through the show from the opener into the ballad brought to life by that amazingly dynamic and musically mature front ensemble, the angst and anger of the Prokofiev, Copland, and Ginestara that was portrayed with amazing intensity and power by the fantastic brass and drumline, and the mournful sadness and distress that was personified in that amazing…...stunning singer in the ballad that looked like she belonged on some high end Broadway stage was just perfect. Ryan George, Colin McNutt, Iain Moyer, Michael Zellers, and anyone else who helped arrange and construct this show deserve huge congrats. The clarity, power, and level of detail not just in arranging but how the amazingly done voice overs and singer laid in the brass and percussion writing is just mind blowing. And Gino, the aforementioned two percussionists, and all the instructional staff bringing it to life deserve as much praise. And then Leon May and the color guard staff setting an incredibly emotional, easy to follow, and perfectly coordinated stage to bring the music to life visually? Amazing. The color guard live just took me by the throat and didn’t let go, the level of intensity and emotion they perform with while tossing rifles, sabres, flags, and everything else with was just mind blowing. And it all came together to make a show that is easily one of my favorite shows of the modern era of drum corps. There are too many moments from the rifles set up in a pentagram at the beginning to that absolutely explosive final chord as they are burning and hanging the witches to talk about. I wasn’t happy and didn’t get joy watching this show, but that’s why I love it so much. Tension, dread, sadness, anger, angst, mourning, and just a disturbing darkness. They communicated such taboo and off putting emotions so effectively that it made it impossible to not be impressed and blown away. And the last piece of the puzzle…….the members that made it happen. In 2016 them squeezing that show for everything it had to give is what got it into finals and in 2017 them stepping up to so many expectations and an incredibly emotionally complex show and selling the absolute #### out of it is why they ended up in 6th and with their highest score ever. The designers coulda done everything in their power, but in the end it’s the members that brought it to life. Congratulations on an amazing transformation, building a champion has more than begun. I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store. Bluecoats - Jagged Line 5th Place - 95.162 One of my big questions about 2017 will always be why this show could never seem to get traction in the scores........but that's beside the point. I've been a die hard fan my whole time as a fan of this activity and tonight didn't change a single thing. When they hit that "Psychopomp" reprise and the crowd erupted, that's why I love this corps. 1st or 5th. They keep giving me those moments that make me come back for more. Every. Single. Year. I loved this show, musically it's about the most straight forward and exciting thing I've heard out of a top tier corps in years. A few amazing pieces of music each given their time to breathe and brought to life by a corps that has about as much energy as anyone could ask for. In the end what probably bit them was the incredible depth and complexity of the visual program, the amount of Fosse choreography and content was NUTS, huge props to them for taking that on. Amazing performance from them across the board this year, it might be time for a bit of an adjustment to what they do but I know they won’t lose what makes them so enamoring to watch. Here’s to an amazing 2018! The Cavaliers - Men are from Mars 4th Place - 95.2 Before the summer began I got the chance to be a part of the Marching Roundtable podcast where The Cavaliers were the topic. I talked about one of my favorite things about 2016 and now 2017 has been The Cavaliers finding their voice again and reemerging as an updated version of what made everyone love them in the first place. Incredible drill, stunning and death defying color guard, and a level of swagger and presence that just makes them impossible not to enjoy. And now that they have really began to recruit talent in all three sections again……...they’re soaring. Best brass from them in at least six years, best color guard in maybe a decade, and continually amazing percussion. I LOVED this show, the tones and underlying messaging of what they did was incredibly complex and so much fun to dig through over this whole season. The whole mockumentary section on men was HILARIOUS! I totally got what they were going for; and even if that wasn’t for you the balls to the wall FLYING finish to the “Little Green Men” section of the show with that insane flag exchange was about as old school run and gun insanity as it gets. This is a corps that isn’t afraid to be bold, they’re not afraid to pick a concept that should be incredibly off putting and in your face, and they pull it off in a way that is so complex but still so approachable and enjoyable to the masses. Next year is an Anniversary…and they’re flying high going into it…...and I’m dying to see what they pull out for it. The Cavaliers are BACK. Carolina Crown - It Is 3rd Place, High Brass - 96.575 When I first saw this show I thought they were in BIG trouble. It seemed incredibly cliché, over designed, and almost…….pretentious? But man, they did way more with this thing than I ever imagined they could. First lets get this right, that singer did an AMAZING job this year as a hugely featured member. Any distaste for her is peoples own personal preference and that’s fine, but when you go after her as a performer you’re kinda being pretty petty. Amazing job by the brass once again, they're amazing. Color guard ended up doing pretty well despite the grief they got over the season. And percussion.......that's gotta be their best line in YEARS. They did an incredibly job carrying that second half of the show, it relied on them and man they pulled it off. Overall they've given me a ton to digest and go through this off season. I'm not sure where they go next, and that's pretty exciting! Santa Clara Vanguard - Ouroboros (...and Alumni Corps) 2nd Place, High Color Guard, High Percussion - 97.6 What. A. Year. 50th Anniversary. First medal in over a decade. First caption win outside percussion in God knows know long. The Vanguard is back in Vanguard. I knew over the last few years as much as I loved their shows there was one piece missing. Maybe it was Michael Gaines? Maybe it was them being bold and adventurous with their show. But wow. What a seamless, ethereal, and STUNNING show this was! From start to finish it's just one organic and complete thought. Cyclic. The drill........oh man. Pete Weber at the top of his game, some of those sequences in the ballad took my breath away every time; impeccable staging of the color guard and sections overall as well, and integration of the props was totally masterful. And that guard.......HUGE congrats on the win! Incredible performance from them, that diamond moment in the closer is just to die for. Musically that percussion section is just undeniable, amazing intensity and restraint at the same time. Brass did an amazing job, those twelve featured performers were just absolute animals this year. I can talk about scoring, but watching them watch the alumni corps in semifinals and that connection of so many decades of members it just doesn't matter where they finished. That is what this is all about. SCV is back, and going forward I can't be more excited for them. Blue Devils - Metamorph 1st Place, High GE, High Visual Proficiency - 98.537 So. In my infancy as a fan of the activity I was definitely off put by the Blue Devils. Their shows were too confusing their shows were too easy blah blah. I went through a ton of my time as a fan over almost the last decade annoyed when they would come out and go undefeated. They were beating corps and shows I loved and it didn't seem like anyone else was being given a fair chance. 2014 I still felt the same way but they blew me away regardless. 2015 on finals night I loved a lot of other shows more but defended their win. In 2016 I LOVED my Bluecoats riding high but began to really enjoy what Blue Devils had to offer, their ballad remains one of the moments I consider utter perfection in portrayal of a theme and visual staging. Then this year happened. I saw this show twice San Antonio week in Broken Arrow and San Antonio. I was so close minded and had convinced myself that I was gonna hate it and low and behold.......I didn't enjoy it. Then they started adding things. The voice overs. Stuff started cleaning up. Atlanta weekend.........they had me in tears at the end of their performance. What this show transformed into..........it was an INCREDIBLY emotional, beautiful, and amazing tribute to where this corps came from, their roots and incredible legacy full of amazing references to their storied past. It was an amazing display of who they are now with incredibly challenging staging and depth for me as an audience member to sort through. And it was an AMAZING peak into the window of what this corps future could hold. The thread of time throughout this show and how they paid tribute to their whole history is just...........incredible. And I have no ties to the organization. I can't imagine what this must be like for alums or MMs of this organization. As a future educator the level they perform at in everything is staggering.......the clarity, professionalism, and expertise they do everything with blows my mind. But when it's all said and done, when they hit that ballad tonight with that AMAZING flag feature, the INCREDIBLE music and soloists, and just overall marriage of that moment.........it left me speechless and weak. 2017 made me a Blue Devils fan. Any hate and distaste I had is gone. I have nothing but respect, admiration, and gratitude for what they did this year. I'm just sad it took me this long to get here. Congrats on #18 Blue Devils. What a journey this was for me, I'm dying to see what 2018 has to offer and no more taking a whole season or years to come around to shows. I'm a fan from the get go from now on.
  10. 29 points
    I am new to the forums and really only created an account to thank someone for posting such wonderful pictures of the Cadets. However, this post is so disheartening to me. You see, my child just spent her 3rd year with the Cadets. She marched The Power of 10, Awakening and TFTFTF. The POT show got the Cadets 4th place and this year the lowest of the 3 years she's been involved. However, this summer was by far her favorite and most enjoyable. I have never seen her so devastated over a season ending as I did 3 days ago. She is still crying because she misses the show, the corps and 149 of her best friends. If you could have seen the looks on their faces at the banquet and the tears that were being shed because those kids had to leave each other, the show and the corps behind until next summer you would need no explaination at all about what the Cadets are about. I appreciate that everyone is entitled to an opinion but I just wish, as a mom of a Cadet and a fan, that people would be more tactful in their postings. Being a Cadet has a far deeper meaning than any placement or medal. Please remember that. My heart breaks reading such negativity from people towards the Cadets.
  11. 29 points
    SCV has a hater thread. I guess this means they really are contenders now. lol
  12. 28 points
    Or maybe, just maybe, because it IS their 60th and 50th year anniversaries respectively, that they took even greater care to choose their staff, corps, and show design even more carefully than they usually do, so as to put out the best product they possibly could to celebrate their illustrious histories? Nah, that couldn't be it.
  13. 28 points
    I was on the side two 45 yardline about 5 rows up. EVERYONE was WAY better live. I didn't hate anyone, and actually found something in each show I loved. That said, lots to......discuss. Blue Devils - I really feel like sitting low killed this show for me. It was 12 minutes of getting screamed at through speakers, the bass thunderous goo and the solos were bone shattering loud where I was. Their whole show sounded synthetic. And on top of that there was no dynamic variance to me, it was either kinda loud or REALLY LOUD. Ballad was awesome but everything after that still seems incredibly schizophrenic and I didn't know what to look for or listen to. Front half was fine. Percussion has bitten off A LOT. That book is nearly impossible. Being up close I was shocked at what seemed like a lack of attention to details in terms of props, uniform changes, equipment changes, etc. Feel like I need to see it again which I do in San Antonio. Was incredibly impressed by how good they are but was expecting more with the numbers they're putting up. Santa Clara Vanguard - Juxtaposed against BD........this show is immaculately designed down to every detail. Equipment changes were SEAMLESS, members were popping in and out of nowhere, it just felt like every single little thing was planned. Featured performers are OBVIOUSLY the featured performers and the brass line has PLENTY to work with, so the myth of all of hard stuff being handed off to the 12 is just that.......a myth. Percussion took my breath away as always and the guard was mesmerizing. That said, it's all gonna come down to achievement. Out of all the corps tonight this show felt like the biggest risk/reward payoff or downfall potential this year. If it gets clean......they're gonna soar. If not. Well. Getting beat by about .5 happens. Bluecoats - Well. I know which show I wanna see again. I thought the ballad was awesome live, when they turn around and you expect that sound to die away and echo and suddenly BOOM it's right in front of you was super effective to me in terms of playing with what you see and hear. Lets talk about ZAPPA. Zomby Woof was probably the single most fun thing I've ever seen at a live drum corps show, and that Psychopomp reprise to the end was fantastic. I enjoyed this WAY more than last years show live in Denton and I loved that. The members look like they 100% believe in and enjoy this show which IMO translated to the audience, it was infectious. Dirtier than the 3 that placed above them? Yes. That much dirtier? I don't know. But who the hell cares. I want more ZAPPA. The Cadets - Some amazing highs in the opener/Agnus Dei and the Fallen section and some incredible lows in the narration and heavy handedness and what is one of the worst uniform changes I've ever seen on the football field in the closer. I was hoping that was gonna go away but they managed to make it worse and enhance it by bringing out a cross tarp and throwing their discarded uniforms on them as they stand in the same area for a minute killing any visual momentum this show has into a pretty stock and expected ending. This show feels like the polar opposite of last year. Awakening was very difficult to follow and interpret and way too vague. This year is 12 minutes of getting beat with a cross and a bible. The corps was stronger than I was expecting, still LOTS to clean visually though. Blue Knights - They sound like a top tier corps, but don't look like one. I understand everything they're doing with the unconventional guard equipment but it still has nowhere near the effect or presence of when they're on traditional equipment. LOVE the Beck and Schwartner. When they got done with the Schwartner I was drooling at this show. And then Bjork went on.......and on.......and on.......and on......and not a huge change of tone in Hide And Seek. Not sure about the arrangement of the closer......I REALLY appreciate the dynamic contrast which the hornline pulled off MASTERFULLY, but it felt chunky. I did really enjoy it overall though, and that percussion......man. They're AMAZING. Phantom Regiment - Hornline sounded better live than I was expecting but definitely a noticeable level below everyone else tonight to my ear. They start to sell me........and then Broken Arrow voiceover lady shows up with fantasy.......fantasy......invasion.......fantasy.......fantasy.......invasion........madness........fantasy.........ugh. Not sure if this show is the cliche of all cliches dark to light show or if it's something else but I didn't follow. Loved the use of color and they play about as many notes and march as intensely as anyone else. Just question if they're gonna be able to get clean enough. This show (design) just feels like it belongs on the field at a BOA show in the fall. It's incredibly mimic-y of Wes Cartwright's high school shows to the point it just feels like another one. Carolina Crown - Very clean. Hornline is amazing. They march VERY well. Singer is very talented. But.........if you're trying to sell your show as an evolution of what drum corps was to what they think drum corps is/is going to be a bunch of gimmicks I've seen before, don't really sell me on that. This show feels like it would have worked five - ten years ago though obviously the judges disagree with me on that. It just feels a bit......pretentious. That said, they do sound amazing and are very clean. The Cavaliers - Fun fun FUN. Loved it, incredibly entertaining and I thought their hornline followed up Carolina Crown GREATLY tonight, I wasn't expecting nearly as much sound as they gave me on the first big turn around. Percussion was off the charts awesome, and the color guard REALLY stole the show. This show is exceptional visually, so much exciting stuff to watch. They really play to their strengths and it works incredibly well for them. Like last year........the members made it impossible for me to not love this show, they're so engaging and incredibly fun to watch. Really enjoyed it.
  14. 28 points
    Parent of a first year DCI MM this year. And just wondering if the whole notion of "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" has ever been introduced to this community. I really don't mind at all reading constructive criticism of all the corps as long as that's what it is. But when it turns mean, rude, vitriolic, and just crusty, I have to wonder what joy people get out of trashing 17-22 year old kids who are busting their ### for 16 hours a day to make themselves better. My kid marched 2 years of DCA so I stayed mainly in the DCA section of Drum Corps Planet. And for the most part, that seems to be a fairly polite community that encourages all the corps in the activity. In one month of posting here, ( and now 4 days of shows rolling out), I've seen things posted about the shows, the corps, the staffs, etc. that simply make my heart hurt. Criticism? Sure... "I think XYZ Corps could improve by doing ABC"...for sure...bring it on. Nastiness? No..."This show is an absolute trainwreck. The whole staff should be fired and the kids sent home tomorrow." Nope. Not appropriate. Rant over.
  15. 27 points
    The tone here tonight is really bad. All these members work so hard and frankly all these corps are incredible, it's too bad some folks can't find it in themselves to see positives
  16. 27 points
    Overheard some kids from Crown talking as I was walking about and one kids said "man I just really want people to like our show this year". I stopped and told them I love the show and to please tell the singer she is doing a wonderful job. Their faces lit up and they said thank you so much. Remember these kids / young adults are giving it all they've got every day to put in a show for us and I appreciate that a lot! Have a great show tonight Crown!
  17. 27 points
    or alternatively, we could wait to see the shows first before drawing judgements and conclusions on its messaging values to us. But maybe thats asking to much, and instead we should make judgements and assessments on the unknowable at the moment. That certainly would seem to be far more quicker to do at the moment anyway. And making snap judgments on things IS faster and quicker, if faster and quicker is valued more highly than measured and patient reflection on something yet unseen would be.
  18. 25 points
    I know this is the World Class forum, but I think this is very important so I'll post it here if that's okay. If you can, watch the OC Championships stream. I might have some issues with FloMarching this year, but I am SO incredibly excited that they decided to broadcast the Open Class championships this year. I know we get to see these shows in the prelims cast but from the videos I've seen in the past the environment of that stadium in Michigan City where they're 100% in their element seems incredibly exciting. From what I've heard there is a chance they might cover more OC shows depending on the viewership of OC Championships which would be AWESOME. Something I've loved and enjoyed the last few years is the explosive growth and improvement of Open Class corps. Some of my favorite shows every year come from these corps. If the way the top of World Class is going isn't your thing, I think Open Class might just be for you. So much pure, accessible, and exciting drum corps going on. I haven't seen a lot of shows but what I've seen from Vanguard Cadets, Blue Devils B, Legends, Music City, Lousiana Stars, Guardians, etc. is all fantastic. I've always thought supporting all corps is very important and worthwhile, and this is a big opportunity to do that and for them to get some discussion and exposure going. So back to the World Class discussion, but you should check out the Open Class stuff if you can. I know I sure will be.
  19. 24 points
    Hey SCV Alumni Corps: You all deserve a special thread to say thank you for the special thrill you gave all of us drum corps fans tonight (Friday) in Indy. You touched many hearts with your fantastic performance. THANK YOU!
  20. 24 points
    I don't like the trend of any disagreement with anything being labeled as "hating". There are legitimate haters out there, but criticism is not hate, as long as it isn't overly and excessively negative. Just my opinion though
  21. 24 points
    I never marched. Back in the late 70's, I remember my band director saying that he wanted to take us to a drum corps show. I had no idea what it was, just knew it had something to do with marching. I fell in love with DCI that night. I played clarinet and was incredibly uncoordinated so auditioning for a corps never occurred to me. I regret that somewhat. I had a few years when I wasn't as involved although I loved the PBS and ESPN years. Where ever I taught, I always introduced my students to corps through championship videos. Most of them had never heard of it. Now, many years later, I have a former student marching his first year. He is like a son but is also a friend. Tomorrow, I get to sit in the stands and watch him and his corps take their home field in Rockford after a very emotional and exhausting week. I'll watch him march on the field, and pursue his dream of marching in DCI, all the while remembering when I first introduced him to the activity and when I took him to his first show. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry like a baby. Sorry this is so long and emotional. I just needed to share with people who might 'get' it. Thank you!
  22. 24 points
    Saw this come through the Cavalier's newsfeed on FB. That's MY young man busting it for the Cavaliers!
  23. 23 points
    im in tears...that was an elite performnace...no doubt..yes im homer..never saw them this good...ever
  24. 23 points
    My apologies to the DrumScorps people for my outburst over last night's score postings. Of course if they get garbage in, then they're going to post garbage out. My frustration was misplaced, in that this is the second time inside a week that DCI has either mis-keyed or NOT keyed scores in at all (leaving a "0" in a caption). As hard as the kids, staff, and volunteers work at this activity, one would reasonably think that proper care would be taken at the end of a contest to properly key in the results. But, to many poster's responses, the information is "free"...and I definitely lost my temper seeing the Cavaliers posted as a 13th-place corp with a 10-point drop in score. I'm going to wait at least 2 hours after Pittsburgh wraps tonight to even check. Again...my sincerest apologies.
  25. 23 points
    Who did you want to be number 1 and 2? Crown has some programming issues in the back 3rd of their show and a guard that took 6th last night. The Bluecoats are not yet clean and need to get their GE scores up. Cavaliers? Well, visually they are stunning. Some of the best marching, visual forms, and guard you will find this year. GE is a mixed bag though with music vs visual. Music often seems choppy and plugged in. Boston? Definitely an up-an-comer and cleaning nicely, but I am not sure their visual program is in the league with SCV or BD. Brass is great, but not there with BD. Their guard is progressing fast. But again, most of their performance captions will be slightly under BD and SCV. Cadets? Good show from them that has improved massively, but they are nowhere near clean. They have moments of great GE and then some cheese. Brass seems less polished vs the top 4. Guard is much improved from the previous 2 years, but not in the league with BD, SCV, Cavaliers, Bluecoats. Let's see, should we continue down to Phantom, Madison, Blue Knights, Crossmen, Academy, Troopers? BD and SCV are in the lead at the moment because they have great shows. We can nitpick little things here and there, but they both came out of the gate strong. The only corps in my opinion that can catch them is Bluecoats. Bloo has everything you need to win. Fantastic, challenging, and fan-friendly show from top to bottom. Big GE impact moments. Great performance captions, and a killer visual program. But Bloo will likely have to clean much faster, purge some things that are not needed (cut the fat from the program so to speak), and hopefully make a move over Crown by Allentown or maybe Buffalo. Then who knows? I give Crown a slightly less chance of topping SCV or BD and a greater chance of holding serve or falling behind Bloo. But BD and SCV are numbers 1 and 2 at the moment.
  26. 22 points
    I will say this. I am totally down for a rule change banning mic'ing your entire ####### hornline. Seems like a few more have started and they probably feel pressured to if they feel others are getting rewarded for it. It's not gonna make me stop watching the activity but it really takes away from the authenticity that drew me to it in the first place. Started with Phantom Regiment and maybe one or two others this June and has spread like an ugly epidemic. You. Don't. NEED IT. Ok, that's my negativity for the night. GREAT runs across the board tonight! Tons to love. This is gonna be a really exciting week.
  27. 22 points
    They never left....
  28. 22 points
    These are MY reviews and MY opinions. You don't have to agree or like them, this is just how I felt about these shows last night. Music City - Dang this group is good!!! Comparing them now to where they were last year is night and day better. I've heard rumors of them going to world class next year, and I support it. If they improve that much again in a year, look out. Whole show had an amazing energy. Guard was really good, emotion and weapon work was outstanding for them. Brass and percussion were sounding very world class level, and I dig it! This was probably the biggest good surprise of the night, awesome job! Crown - BRASS BRASS BRASS!!!!!!!! The opening hit was by far the best one of the night, and got an amazing crowd response. They had a wonderful run and honestly I love the show everytime I see it even more. Guard was spot on too, I know and understand that that aren't at last year's level, but they don't seem like a 5th or 6th place. Their execution seemed really strong tonight. Percussion is the most improved section from last season. Such a great sound and technique. Was expecting more changes given the past 2 days, but oh well. The singing certainly isn't as bad as I expected live. Seems pretty well integrated, but still too much of it to me. But I enjoy her voice. Bluecoats - Opening thing under the prop is genius, and it sounded wonderful. This show seems geared towards trumpets and seems very trumpet heavy. Not really my style as a horn player but it's not bad, they play REALLY well. I could only hear the tuba in their opener feature, somewhat in the ballad, and the closer soloist. That's it. They are the 2nd worst about having too much synth bass to me. It wouldn't bother me so much if you could still at least hear the Tuba. Also there were times the synth bass was playing and the tubas weren't. And as someone said around me, "why not just leave them out all together?" It's true to me, and it's kinda sad. They have so much talent! It's obvious in their feature, so why not leave all the bass parts to them? Other than that, the show itself is really cool. The guard was magnificent, such high execution. Amazing drumline. LOVED the hat stuff, cool visual effects!!! Closer was also great, favorite moment for me. I also like the turn back around in the ballad. Much better than all turned around. Ending hat toss was a great moment with attitude. Well done! Blue Knights - Weirdest show to me over the last 2 days. I love the uniforms from the stands, they make the show a lot better visually. The guard is good, but clearly the weakest link. The drumline was an absolute treat. Brass was also very good, especially the ballad, but not so much in the closer to me. I don't get the pool noodles, kinda distracting. Overall a great program, just weird. Cavaliers - this show was top 3 for entertainment tonight. They had a great run and the crowd loved it. I don't really see how the guard got 1st last week, they didn't seem as good as SCV or BD. They certainly aren't bad, just not as good as I expected. Brass was louder than I expected in a good way. Mars sounded absolutely great! Spinning drums were freaking awesome too. Favorite Cavies show since 2011, and I started out hating it on the preseason viewing. Really great things happening, but I think Boston may be able to catch them in the home stretch. SCV - This show is SOOOOOO much better live than on flo! The small ensemble surpringly added more to the program than I thought, and they sounded fantastic! I can see why they are dominating percussion. The drumline and pit are top notch and have wonderful writing. Guard was super good, not as clean as BD, but I would have them higher in content. The brass as a whole was so great and enjoyable to listen to. Probably most incorporation of props tonight. Bluecoats used the stage well, and was used throughout the show, but SCV's work with theirs was masterful. Ballad is my favorite moment of the show and probably was my 2nd favorite moment of the night (after Crown's opening hit). Everything about it was graceful and impactful. Wonderfully done. I am rooting for them to win it all this season. GREAT show! BD - same issues I had with Bluecoats, synth levels were wayyy too loud. Not good at all. I don't really understand how the staff thinks it's good or cool. People around me were mouthing "too much" or just shaking their heads, and I agree with them. Tubas may as well just do guard in this show. Didn't seem like they had their horns up for 1/4 of the show, and there were parts synth played and they didn't. That aside, the show itself is championship quality. I love how it starts out with the old announcement of the corps and then ends with their name, it's a nice touch. The brass (what I could hear of it) is very good. I enjoyed crown's brass more, but I understand how they won it last night. Flight of the bumblebee was REALLY good, they killed it. Percussion didn't really grab my attention at all in this show, but they have improved. Guard was certainly a highlight, favorite moment from them was ballad flag work, absolutely stunning. I surprisingly really enjoyed the jazz section, and I'm not usually one to listen to jazz for fun. Closer definitely still feels unfinished, but a spectacular performance. I won't be mad if they win it in Indy. The Cadets - yes, I am a fan of this group. The show is really good and executed well too. The amount of progress they've made is astounding, and the brass sounds great. The guard is a huge asset, they perform great and the rifle line in the opener was absolutely wonderful. Percussion was really good in the fallen movement. There were quite a few moments of applause from the audience around me, and a few people down were on their feet before the last chord ended. The ending is better than it has been all season. Now the one prop not turning was kinda sad to see, but it didn't ruin the whole performance or anything. The robes were a little weird, but drill was still effective. You can see the gold shoes very well from the stands. The transition of outfits in the closer is still awkward and needs tweaking. The incorporation of the pews is also a nice effect, the snake drill through them was clean. They are getting more hate then they deserve, and the show is easy to understand and is straight forward. I don't understand how some people can praise the Blue Knight's show for being wonderful and great designed, but yet the Cadets have a simple church theme and it's a trash bag in design quality? No. The crowd stood and applauded louder this year here than in Atlanta last year. Keep going Cadets, love this show. Phantom Regiment - The guard is the standout section, they were very good and staged nicely. I think this is another show really designed around the guard, as they keep taking my attention away from the marchers. The show does seem very high school, but I really don't mind. They did a really good job with it. The ballad and ending were the 2 big moments of the show for me. I think the guard flags at the end are beautiful and add a nice touch. Brass surprisingly wasn't as quiet as I thought, they can project very well. Percussion was good, but really listen to them so much. Favorite Phantom show since 2012. Another group I feel is getting more hate then they deserve. They are so much better than they were on the west coast on video. Keep the momentum up, Phantom!
  29. 22 points
    What a night. It was fun to hear people talking as the show progressed, because there was a general consensus that this lineup of shows was shockingly great. Just one heavyweight after another. Attendance was virtually sold out. There wasn't a single empty seat on the west side of the stadium. I would guess. 18k to 20k tonight. I was sitting in the eighth row so I got to see the kids' faces when they got set and looked into the sea of faces...some nerves tonight! Heres how I had the night: 1. SCV. They had the second largest crowd reaction and their brass took your head off. The show design is just so smart, very similar to Bluecoats last year. Amplification issues at times. But SCV had the best musicianship and performance from beginning to end, and it wasn't even close. How they didn't win tonight is beyond me, and I guarantee you most everyone else at this show. Standing ovation before they finished. 2. Bluecoats. Again the clear crowd favorite. The first ensemble run on the stage, wow! Changes in Zombie had a big impact, changes to the ballad less so but still effective. Ending does not yet have the impact of SCV. Musicianship was off the charts, and the kids just poured their guts into it. Lots of happy faces at the end. Heard more than one person state that the show was too amplified. I agree. But clearly the crowd loves Bloo. 3. Blue Devils. Their show just doesn't have the magic or complexity of SCV or Bluecoats, but their high brass is as amazing as usual. The ballad remains my favorite moment of the year, and it was definitely the high point of the night musically. There is a lot going on all the time but it's largely lost on the viewer because it lacks visual focus. Low end synth was absurdly loud, esp in the first half. It was so bad that people were cringing and once it actually overmodulated. Why would BD push so much synth? Was very noticeable. 4. Crown. This show received a tepid response, which I think surprised everyone. Nashville loves Crown, obviously, but this show didn't really deliver. The big brass hits are there and are awesome, but the second half of the show lags. This show is very clean...but almost too clean. It feels sterile. Didn't get the crown ending from where I sat. Props on the hash lines made no sense live. But when Crown delivers a singular ensemble hit, no one can match it. Just so level and powerful. But imo this is not one of the three best shows this season, and I might even put it behind Cavaliers and Boston. Guard had at least six drops tonight. 5. Cavaliers. Guard is crazy skilled. Just shocking how much those guys pull off in this show. Lots of ooooohs and aaaaaahs from the crowd! Their high brass is still no match for SCV, Bluecoats, BD or Crown, but sell this show hard and the crowd loves it. This was a high point of the night. They have come a very long way this season. 6. Blue Knights. Thought they had the biggest sound without amplification of all the corps. Show drags at times, and of course there is some navel gazing. But I would see this show again, really talented group. Percussion is crazy good. Surprised at how poorly this show was scored, but the guard book is just killing this show. 7. Cadets. Percussion was on fire tonight. Guard was terrific. Brass is great but poorly staged. Awful awful amplification issues, bad feedback four separate times. WTF? Someone didn't flip one of the stained glass windows at the end, in my mind I could hear Hopkins cursing on the sidelines! The kids play the heck out of this show, but it is such a head scratcher conceptually. Way way too loud on the choir, and again the narration is abrasive. The middle section was oversold and folks around me were actually laughing. But I really love the robes and the guard uniforms. Just not easy to follow Blue Devils with Mass. 8. Phantom. Much better ensemble sound than I had anticipated but just not a very cohesive show. The constant whispering of words was silly and got a lot of giggles from the audience. Someone said they felt like they were in a perfume commercial. Uniforms didn't come off well but the guard had a strong night. Music City had a great night, their guard was very impressive, which shocked me. Obviously they lack the ensemble sound, and parents of a guard member sat next to me and said that's because they had 80% turnover from last year. They need a three act show design. This is the third year in a row in which they basically had one idea the whole show and it got monotonous. Still, they clearly put a lot of money and time into this season and it showed.
  30. 22 points
    Well! I never! I never... have gone this long without getting hate mail in my private messages and, honestly, I'm starting to feel a little neglected. A man has needs! And so, I present to you, with absolutely no apologies to Carnac the Magnificent, the 2017 DCI World Championships Finals scores, a full MONTH before they happen!! For starters, no, The Mandarins will not make finals. That's still no blemish on their best season ever as they finish 13th, ahead of The Academy (14th), Colts (15th), Blue Devils B (16th), Spirit of Atlanta (17th), and Troopers (18th). But they get edged out for the final Saturday spot by... In 12th place, with a score of 86.575... The Madison Scouts Look, the Scouts easily could have made Finals last year until they let it slip away. This show is better, but I'm not sure it has the juice to crack the Top 10. Despite the wild uniforms, this show concept just doesn't feel that fresh or novel, you know? In 11th place, with a score of 88.775... The Blue Stars I like the IDEA behind this show (even if the Blue Devils did it 19 years ago *cough*) but from the videos I've seen it hasn't quite gelled yet. That said, the two corps above them are far from invulnerable and if LaCrosse can keep jacking that performance level up... In 10th place, with a score of 89.325... The Blue Knights What the what? I've really like BK's past three shows, but this one has me scratching my head a bit. Perhaps they will grow a lot over the course of the summer, but considering they've already been passed by Messy Regiment... I'm not sure that's a good harbinger. In 9th place, with a score of 90.600... The Crossmen Bones is really playing the heck out of this show, the pink and orange works far better than I thought it would... and yet, I just don't see them going higher than 8th in a best case scenario. I think there is a pretty low ceiling for this show compared to the corps around them. In 8th place, with a score of 90.825... Phantom Regiment Optimistic? Maybe. And yeah, I fully admit to being a Phantom homer. Unlike the past two years, this doesn't feel like Generic Drum Corps Show #14. There is a distinct Phantom identity to this show. I also like that the staff is writing stuff that, frankly, is beyond the corps' abilities at this moment. I would rather see Phantom go for the gusto and fall short than be content with an 8th, 9th, 10th place show design. That said, the difficulty is eating Phantom alive right now. I watched their Oceanside performance, and they were gawd-awful dirty. They have SO MUCH cleaning to do in the next month. But the vehicle is there. The ceiling is high. In 7th place, with a score of 92.400... The Boston Crusaders When I heard their performance in the park, I was AMPED. I was really hoping they would crash the Top 6. But man, no one ahead of them is letting up even a little! Of all the placements, this feels the most secure to me. Boston is noticeably better than every corps below them, but there's still a gap between them and the Top 6. Still, the new staff obviously has big goals for this corps. In 6th place, with a score of 94.300... The Cadets There's another really hot thread right now, "Can The Cadets Medal?" Yeah, I'm just not buying it. They are better than I think we all expected, but to me this is another low ceiling show. I just don't know how they keep pace with the corps above them as those corps continue to clean and improve. In 5th place, with a score of 95.050... The Cavaliers THIS SHOW IS... well, really cheesy, not to put too fine of a point on it. Oh come on, you know you're thinking it too. This is the drum corps equivalent of an eye-rolling Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liner in a special effects laden action spectacular. And I'm not thinking "I'll be back" from Terminator 2, more along the lines of shooting alligators and saying "You're luggage" in Eraser. Sure, they're performing great. But I mean seriously. Yes, you're an all-male corps, we GET IT already. In 4th place, with a score of 96.050... Carolina Crown Every year I think, "man, there's no way that a corps who plays THIS WELL can not medal." And yet, almost 50% of the time (four of the past nine seasons) Crown has finished just out of the medals. Crown is starting to remind me of early 2000s Blue Devils, though: they're SO CLEAN, SO EARLY... where do they go from here? Also, are they going to fix that show-flow disaster of a closer? New drum corps or old drum corps, bigger faster louder closer or slower and emotional closer, I'm still of the old-fashioned opinion that a show design should build up, build towards the finale. This show really feels like it kind of decays and falls backward into the last minute of the show. Receiving the bronze medal, in 3rd place, with a score of 96.925... The Blue Devils Concord has medalled in 22 of the past 23 years. They have been Top 4 in 41 of the past 42 years. I'd bet on the SUN NOT RISING before I'd bet on the Blue Devils falling out of the Top 5. They always finish at or near the top... even with a poorly designed, poorly performed show (cough). Look, by THEIR standards, okay? They have been Top 2 for an amazing ten years in a row, but I look back and I don't really see a show with the (small, but noticeable) question marks this one has. Also... is no one going to comment on how much park and bark they do this year? Oh sure, you can add all the hip shimmies or rocking on your feet like superhuman autistic drum corps savants you want, whatever the trend is this year, it's STILL park and bark. Receiving the silver medal, in 2nd place, with a score of 97.350... The Santa Clara Vanguard If anyone is going to catch the defending champs, I think it will be Gail Royer's legacy from the south bay. Brass, percussion, guard, visual... they have it all. The double-tonguing they do in the finale is unreal. The new uniforms (like 80-90% of the new uniforms, to be honest) might be non-traditional, but they work with the show. They have a lot of ensemble cleaning to do, and some fine tuning of the musical effect flow in the second half of the show, but they COULD win it all. Receiving the Gold medal, your 2017 Drum Corps International World Champions, with a score of 97.925... The Bluecoats My first viewing was their stadium run-through in Texas before the season, and all I could do was marvel at the amount of effect they were cranking out of a show that was still so, so dirty. I mean, the sky's the limit here. The show design is the best in DCI this summer, both musically and visually. Their staff is amazing. Doug Thrower might be the most underrated arranger in DCI HISTORY, much less working today. Successive viewings of regular season shows hasn't changed my initial opinion at all. This is still their championship to lose, no one else can catch them if they get this show to its full potential.
  31. 22 points
    Davis(this morning via text) : "Dad, I can't find my wallet anywhere". Me: "Please call home as soon as you can". FOUR HOURS later ( on the phone): Davis:"Dad, the last time I remember seeing it was at the laundromat in Kokomo, Indiana. I've called them but I'm not hopeful they have it and even if they did, not sure how I would get it. I'm in Wisconsin!" Me: "Well, we need to cancel your debit card if it's really lost...have you looked in the creases of the bus seat, checked every pocket of your book bag?.. Davis: "Yes" Me: "Could it be somewhere in the gym you're sleeping in?" Davis: "Yes...I've looked everywhere". Me: "Okay son, we'll figure it out before you're at Disney on Saturday..." Davis: " Oh no...is Disney BEFORE we come to Powder Springs" ? Me: "Yes...and you know what's going to happen don't you? As soon as we cancel your debit card you're going to find it..." Davis( laughing); "Probably". Me to Laurie (my wife and CFO of the household) : "Okay, go ahead and cancel his debit card". THIRTY SECONDS later ( on phone) Davis : "DAD! HAVE YOU CANCELLED MY CARD? I JUST FOUND IT! I forgot that I hid it in one of my Sperrys in my suitcase! About 10 seconds before Laurie was going to hit "Enter" to cancel his card. Crisis averted. Carry on, my wayward son! ( I've never heard such relief in his voice...and the young man sounds like he's having the time of his life on the road with the Cavaliers! )
  32. 22 points
    So first of all, as of hitting submit on this post I haven't read any thoughts, seen any recaps, or really talked to anyone in detail since I left for the theater two and a half hours before the show. I'm forming my own opinions and insights without any outside influence. I'm interested to see if I agree! Sorry @Lance, it's pretty long again this year. Hehe. Disclaimer, there were two shows I feel like I kind of unloaded on......these are just my opinions. I'm not stating my thoughts as fact, and I think a lot of it has to do with personal taste. I'm not taking away from the INCREDIBLE performers performing these shows. You're all awesome! I had a two hour car ride home to really think about shows and what stuck with me as opposed to me coming home within twenty minutes the last 7 years and immediately typing away. Anyways, my way too long review of the first show of the season. Crossmen - The Enigma Five Things I Liked Opener was super fun. Love the percussion writing, incredibly fun to listen to. GREAT guard. Great brass. This Radiohead ballad is fantastic. Five Things to Wait and See On: …...not sold on the visual program. Especially… …the props. They get in the way, are IN FRONT of sections when they’re being featured multiple times, and are hardly utilized beyond the guard just kinda stretching around in them. Took a good few minutes before anything was done with them. The “A Beautiful Mind”/”Miranda” section doesn’t really do a ton for me musically or visually. Nothing really connects or evolves. It has its moments but as a whole it just doesn’t have the cohesion/energy that last years show did yet. This is obviously a finalist level corps. But I’m not sure the show is. Overall Thoughts - So last year I saw their show the first time and was blown away. Incredibly energetic music, fast drill, a million colors and excitement from the guard, fantastic brass and percussion, and it was all packaged with a simple but easily accessible theme that was maxed out by finals week and they really made a statement. I’m getting the great guard, great brass, and great percussion again, but not any of those other things yet. I really question the props in this show. They are not really utilized a ton and when they are not in many ways. Guard stretches in and out of them a few times, brass plays in them, and they stage moments. But a lot of the time they just felt in the way. There were times with guard/percussion that highlighted moments were happening behind them or as a prop was moving in front of a featured section. Ballad was the highlight of the show, very cool arrangement of a great Radiohead song, but on the two hour car ride home I had a hard time placing my finger on anything else musically or honestly as a whole. Question marks were also about the only thing I could pick up thematically. This is a corps full of fantastic brass, percussion, and guard talent. Fantastic instruction going on. Just not sure this design is firing on the level of the performers. Maybe they have more planned and it just isn’t clicking for me yet. As always I’m open to getting my mind changed. Reaction - FANTASTIC corps. Just don’t know about the show. Blue Stars - Star Crossed Five Things I Liked: Brass has a fantastic ensemble sound already. Especially… …the mellophones. They get their own bullet. The HUGE notes in the opener, the soaring lines over the arrival in the ballad, and the sustains in the closer that sounded sublime. Wow. First 2/3rds is pretty strong. Ballad is already one of my favorite musical selections of the year. Uniforms and costuming are phenomenal. Five Things to Wait and See On: The last 1/3rd of the show kinda meanders around. Lots of empty moments and filler sounding stuff. Have a feeling it’s just not layered/finalized like the rest yet. Wondering what else they’re gonna do with the tables. Story line/lines aren’t SUPER noticeable yet, but I can see guard staged for moments that will probably come later. Shapiro guard book is insane once again. Needs the whole season to mature. SUPER difficult visual program, needs lots of time to clean. Overall Thoughts - I can safely say this is the best Blue Stars corps in terms of performance I’ve seen early on in a good while. Brass especially has a lush, full, tight, and just beautifully balanced sound. LOVE it! Percussion is solid and guard has another beast of a show to tackle all season long. This show is once again not an easy mountain to climb but it feels more attainable than a lot of their previous offerings which IMO is a good thing. I think this one can REALLY be maxed out. First two numbers were fantastic, tons of HUGE musical moments and that ballad…….wow. That arrival gave me some serious chills. Last 1/3rd is definitely not as solid/finished in terms of body/guard moments/story arc so it remains to be seen how good it’s gonna finish but I have faith. They know how to layer a show over a season. I think this has more potential down the road in terms of proficiency than they’ve had in awhile, just needs the right design choices to highlight that and allow them to score in the bracket I think they are EASILY performing in. I thought they were way under scored tonight. Reaction - Best start in awhile from them, just needs the right layering and finishings to use that talent. Brass is taking my breath away! The Cadets - The Faithful, The Fallen, The Forgiven Five Things I Liked: Great drum writing and performance. Already SO much more cohesion than last years show. Shockingly enough, the look with the skirts was my favorite. Boy they sure dedicated to the shows visual aesthetic. Loved the first “Simple Song” impact. Beautiful! Five Things to Wait and See On: Drill design……hmm. The way, times, and just how they used uniforms and changes seemed SUPER clunky and not super effective or done in spots that made sense. I noticed the singers, but not a ton. Balance of the three sections feels really off, lots of time for the first, about as much for the second, and the final one doesn’t get a ton of time to develop, even with an extra minute I still feel like the balance is pretty front heavy. It’s a super literal show, and doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. They cross every t and dot every i. They say every amen. By the end where we have someone literally telling us they sinned and want to be forgiven…….it just felt like they were literally beating me in the head with a bible at that point. I get it. I more than get it. And by the end I feel over saturated with all the symbolism, props, narration, EVERYTHING. I cringed a lot to be honest. Overall Thoughts - So I think this show is already WAY ahead of last year in the conceptual department. Lots of faith/believing in the first part of the show, we sin a TON in the middle, and we are forgiven in the end. Boom. TONS of set pieces this year. None of them get in the way and they all look decently well made, already a step above shows like 2013, 2015, 2016 in that regard. Uniforms. Wow. The aesthetic of this show changes a TON. And the changes happen all over the place and not very gracefully, the corps just kinda peeling out of them kinda singing going into the closer felt super awkward. My big issue tonight was the polar opposite of 2016. They spoon feed you every. Single. Thing. and you don’t really get to think or interpret it at all on your own. It lacks any kind of finesse/restraint. I feel like they’re going to opposite of last year where it was super vague/not easy to follow and going the polar opposite by beating you over the head with pews, prayer, crosses and fishes, choirs, and the list goes on and on and on. Performance wise it's maybe not as solid as the last few years but they're fine. Brass has a great ensemble sound, percussion is very solid, and the guard seemed like a HUGE step up this year. Great performers, I'm just feeling pretty overwhelmed by this show already. Reaction - Polar opposite of 2016. I get it, but then they beat me over the head with it. The Cavaliers - Men are from Mars Five Things I Liked: Once again this corps has members that are totally buying into their show already, and it made this performance electric, entertaining, exciting, and I’m sure many other good words that start with the letter E. The color guard staging, usage, and performance to my untrained eye seemed INCREDIBLE. This is the best the Cavaliers brass have sounded early on in a long time. The closer……this might have been my favorite moment of the night…….so fun. SO FUN. This show felt complete but with still a TON of room for growth. Five Things I Will Wait and See On: There is so much going on in this show I think I need to see it about ten more times to take it all in. Balance of electronics, I don’t know about live but in the theater they were QUITE loud. But I still enjoyed their usage. Refining/clarifying/layering certain moments of the show, especially in the middle sections. The ballad felt short. I wanna see them milk the ending even more come finals. Overall Thoughts - I knew it. I knew that performance on Tuesday was not a good representation of how good this corps and show is. HOLY CRAP they blew me away!!! I think performance wise this is the best Cavaliers corps I’ve seen out the gate since 2011. This is a corps that believes in their show and is already performing it at an incredibly high level in terms of energy/confidence. Proficiency will come, but the brass and percussion are off to a fantastic start. I’m not a guard expert. Maybe I’m nuts? But the color guard blew me away. The 20 yard flag exchange in the circle surrounding the brass right before the ballad actually made me gasp. As a show this is pretty clear to me even if the guy hadn’t explained it. It’s evolution of man. I think it’s an incredibly hilarious, entertaining, and interesting commentary on what we think a man is/was/will be. It might need some refining but I thought the DUDE section was HILARIOUS. This part of the show isn’t taking itself super seriously and is just trying to be funny and be entertaining, I loved it. The Steve Irwin-esque narration complete with a CRIKEY was a hit in my theater. Visual and music design is great, I thought the closer was a phenomenal mashup of “Mars” and “My Way”…….Cavaliers sold me on a singer. I don’t know if he was live but leading into that final bras push I loved the usage…….When it comes down to it this felt like a Cavaliers show. Incredibly athletic, ridiculous drill (kudos to Mr. Hinshaw!), insane guard, great percussion, and a super masculine and entertaining vibe the members sell in spades. Brass deserves some recognition, I think they’ve made incredible progress. I’m getting long winded on this one……..but that’s cause I loved it. I cannot wait to see where this show goes. Reaction - INCREDIBLY high energy, entertaining, and complex show that I think I am in absolute love with. Excited to see how they adjust/refine/balance/etc. throughout the season. Carolina Crown - It Is... Five Things I Liked: Fantastic brass performance. Percussion is very solid. LOVE the first guard look and corps uniform. "No One to Know One" quote before the ballad is a very cool moment. Some nice Sacktig drill moments. Five Things to Wait and See On: As a whole it feels......a bit empty despite there being SO much to it. Cohesion.....feels like I'm watching three different shows that don't quite fit together. Singer usage, not ability. Closer is pretty.......schizophrenic? So much going on, being pulled onto the field, etc. to the point it just seems messy. There wasn’t a ton of focus anywhere. The show feels like it is leading up to something/tries to say something and it never says it. And not just because it’s obviously not done at the end. Overall Thoughts - So I definitely get this show. They deconstruct the field/what they think of as normal drum corps and build it into something they think is new. But.......hmm. It's the beginning of the year so I think an "I feel like something big is missing" reaction is probably okay and/or normal. I can't put my finger on what, it's just leaving me REALLY cold right now. Proficiency wise the brass is bonkers as always, percussion was solid pleasant surprise, and guard doesn't seem quite as strong as the beginning of the year last year but they'll be fine. Singer is great in ability, not sure if I like the usage/overabundance of it in the latter part of the show. The closer is.......a lot. I know it’s the nature of the deconstructed part but it was so chaotic it just felt unfocused. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea this year, usually I have an INCREDIBLY emotional response to Carolina Crown, even in 2015 I loved “Organ Symphony” early on and saw that it was really empty and they were gonna layer it. I’m not sure how much more stuff they can throw into this one besides finishing it. I dunno. I’m certainly open to having my mind changed, this is of course an incredibly talented group of kids that are absolute animals being able to perform such a hard show. Reaction - Wait and see. Fantastic corps, just maybe not for me. Bluecoats - Jagged Line Five Things I Liked: No. Weaknesses. This could very well be the most enjoyable musical show I've ever heard from them. Best I've ever seen their color guard in June. I think this is the best drill they've ever had. Their performance value and energy is ELECTRIC. Five Things to Wait and See On: I think I like the uniform in context, it's pretty dang simple. Will wait and see how I feel about it. The choreography/show aesthetic is very interesting to say the least, feel like I need to see it from the box and different angles. I definitely get the show and prop usage, just feel like there is a lot more to come...... ......but where do they go? Every year in June I feel like the show is done and then they layer the crap out of it in ways that never crossed my mind. Excited to see where they take it. I need to see and hear the ballad live. I can't form an opinion on tonight on that part of the show. They did it again......every year since 2009 whether it's the whole show or just a moment, they find a way to blow me away. I really couldn't care less if they win again or not......when they give me full body shivers like this show did multiple times I don't care. People are gonna say it's too similar to the last few years......it's gonna peak......blah blah blah. So what. This is a corps with no weaknesses, a show that is both SUPER complete but with tons of room for growth, and performers that bring it to life in a way that is unique to them. They are Bluecoats. This is them through and through. Musically.......holy crap. This is their most straight forward music program since gosh.......2013? Electronics are more laid back this year and they just let the full corps shine. There were many times tonight where corps felt like they had obligatory brass moments thrown in.......Doug Thrower once again totally respects the source material and just simply adapts it to the field. He doesn't over writer it but there is still TONS of content. "Psychopomp" and "Zomby Woof" are especially fantastic......just two pieces of music given a few minutes to be what they are. "One Study" was a fantastic percussion feature as well, and those drums.......(Zomby) WOOF. (that's a good thing). Brass was fantastic and seemed to get a TON more full ensemble time this year. Color guard to my untrained eye again looked incredible, I think this is the best their guard has ever looked out the gate and the way Vanderkloff stages them is sublime. This is the best drill program I think they've had too......lots of modern stuff but also just tons of super hard stuff that they play super hard stuff while doing, for example that SUPER fast follow the leader near the end of "Psychopomp". So kudos to Vanderkolff. I am going to wait on "Grow Til Tall" until I see it live. I feel like I didn't get a good read tonight solely because of how the mics were picking it up for the broadcast. That's not on the corps. Prop is cool, that first brass moment with them on top of it was really cool, they use vertical space again this year but in a different way. The drill cutting under the prop and not letting it be a hindrance was SUPER cool. I bet they have more planned for it. All in all......bravo. You have me again. Win or lose this show hits every single tick mark of what I love about the activity. Over the last three seasons they have completely re-instilled my enjoyment in the activity, I feel like a little HS kid seeing his first show again every single year. When that "Psychopomp" reprise happened at the end I thought I was gonna need to be resuscitated. Reaction - They take my breath away year after year after year after year. I don't care where they end up when they make me feel this way. One moment from every corps I loved: Bluecoats "Psychopomp" reprise in the closer. Carolina Crowns "No One to Know One" quote going into the ballad. The Cavaliers final "My Way" push. The Cadets first "Simple Song" impact. Blue Stars "Young and Beautiful" ballad arrival. Crossmens "Exit Music" ballad arrival. Overall I LOVED two shows, liked one more, and need to wait and see on the other three. I love that I can pick six moments that were all musical moments. No show tonight felt too far gone/like it was gonna peak. These will all grow. I totally agreed with placements, not necessarily spreads though. But who cares. AWESOME shows. I think we're in for a fantastic season!
  33. 21 points
    CAVALIERS!!! OMG!!!! **** YES!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!! YES! SPLOOIE!
  34. 21 points
    Bluecoats set up their audio in three minutes ... Flo had all day
  35. 21 points
    When you have the best brass line on Planet Earth, why would you ruin it by using it to back up a pitchy singer?!?!?
  36. 20 points
    I figure we all could use a break from celebrating (or grumbling) about another spectacular season of drum corps. Over the course of the summer, I have been collecting "one-liners" from this board. These are posts that have made me laugh or stuck out in some way or another. I think we have a great group of people here and when our favorite corps are scoring well (and we haven't had too much to drink yet) we share some great banter and insight among us. So here's a snapshot of the summer, presented with no context and in no particular order. p.s. I made this with no intent to offend any particular poster or corps. Just having some fun! Academy At this stage, it looks like they might have to pull a rabbit out a hat to do so. But... they're in the hunt. - BRASSO That's the Academy's male colorguard members warming up their rifles for the wabbit hunt later tonight. - Cadevilina Crown Bluecoats Bluecoats set up their audio in three minutes ... Flo had all day - Jurassic Lancer Bluecoats are the closest thing to a Super Bowl Halftime Show DCI has to offer. - Fred Windish When you guys need me I'll be over here trying to figure out how 4th place in an ultra-competitive year counts as "getting the shaft." - Saxfreq1128 Bloo turns me into a sobbing 13 yo girl at a biebs concert - Fracker Cadets make me wanna come to Jesus. Bluecoats just make me wanna......... I'll stop there. - Furious-winter Blue Devils I'd love to see Bloo repeat, but my eyes say SCV, and my ears say BD. - Mrk I like seeing BD stretch their legs with something different like white props and mirrors. - Chaddyt As of Friday night, BD is 100-0 in shows following silver medal finishes since 2009. Unreal. - Chief Guns Based on all these comments it looks like BD is coming in 5th tonight. - Yorkvillain Blue Knights One thing's for sure when it comes to those BK uniforms: You will always lose a staring contest with them. - Cadevilina Crown Watching the guard members on the podiums with the DMs. I'm not sure if I should bunt or steal second. - CrownBariDad To be honest I have no idea what is going on but I like it. Who doesn't respect a corps that shows up to finals in their onesies! - Sideways Blue Stars By the way, Blue Stars have at least two deaths in this show. That's why they're doing so well. :P - Kevingamin Boston Boston wants you to never ever doubt them making finals again. - Quijeros I don't think hanging around the chest is a very effective way to execute someone. - Jasgre2000 I hope that's not baby powder. - Crownbaridad I KNOW YOU! I mean GET HER!! - TreeFidy I mean, did you see when they did the thing? And the thing with the rope? And the thing with the lady, then the thing with the other rope, then the drill thing, then the rifle thing? THEN THE FIRE THING?!? - MikeN Phantom Regiment It isn't a Phantom show unless there's a death. This year, it's the entire audience after listening to the brass through speakers for 13 minutes. - Cadevilina Crown I can see it now: Phantom Regiment presents Phamilton. - Ajlemm Carolina Crown Crown - Cool first half but Judy Jetson kind of killed the second act after a while. - Dmiggles GH would be SO disappointed in the condition of the yardlines and hash marks after Crown's show. - CrownBariDad Cadets Cadets just out scored BD and you can totally compare scores from cross country - George Dixon I was able to stop hitting the gym in the last week because summer 2017 Cadets vs. Crusaders threads are so exhausting. - Mjoakes It's a weird day when everyone is saying mostly positive things about Cadets - Cadevilina Crown Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm Drum Corps International welcome to, Jesus! - MikeRapp Please remember watching The Cadets perform the Mass does not count for going to Mass for real. - ThirdValvesAreForWimps Jersey Surf To be more authentic, that subway announcement should be "STXXX BXXXX MMMMBGGFFF XIXBOOTOULKDJSDJ"" - 2muchcoffeeman Madison The unis give me a Mad Max came over on the Plymouth and had Thanksgiving dinner with the Natives vibe. - Dcsnare93 Scouts get GE points for covering the Colts helmet. - KVG_DC Mandarins Wow they really put the roar and the shock in Rorschach - skevinp Troopers My first look at the Troopers and it looks like they raided a tarp factory. - Barigirl78 They have the drum major from the troopers going over to flip on the sound - Onion head Troopers 5th bass went down in a tarp like a seal during Shark Week. - CowboystauinDallas Misc When a mommy score and a daddy score REALLY love each other... - Precious Roy I'll take my burger medium, grillmaster! - Terri Schehr Because "Wausau Documentary" won't fit on a corps jacket - ThirdValvesAreForWimps No. I just want the best sound to win, not the best sound man - ThirdValvesAreForWimps The Chief Judge assures all payoffs are handled in a discreet manner. - pbeau I'm late to the party. Which corp had a "bad run" so we can brush aside their disappointing score, and which judges are on the panel that are in the bag for XYZ Corps so we can gripe about that? - Mboogey73 At least they're as loud as the g bugles unplugged now.:) - AROD24601 The other show is still going on. Can't slot scores yet. - Prd9601 He actually goes by "Damp Otter" now. - crownisking Ok, so I saw a little blue flag above one of my posts and wondered, what does this do"?. I think I just reported myself. - Newseditor44 Don't you mean "burn" a dead horse. More GE that way. - George Dixon Goo happens when a kid on a synth. takes his finger, and presses down with all his might, to blast out low bass sound. this is done at about 10 decibels more than a 747 taking off. - Alvinpr89 I do believe this is also the cleanest Weber drill I've ever seen. Now, I'm still waiting to see the cleanest Weber grill, but that's another story. - Kevingamin Every corps is simultaneously the best and worst of all time with everything they do or don't do. -DCP - Snare_guy_83 If you wanna come to Amarillo Texas and scarf down some food during one of my breaks in a hot band hall filled the the smell of teen spirit be my guest. - DrumManTx The crowd shots tell me drum corps fans need more exercise. - mcjordansc Well that's vague. You could judge Effect for dci with comments that nonspecific. - DCPusername Last years 12th place right behind last years 1st place. What a crazy year. - Defeldus2
  37. 20 points
    my only beef tonight..was the utter disrepect some lady showed for our national anthem...I was in line to get in...national anthem started I stopped turned toward flag and put hand on heart..and didnt move..she pushed right through me..told her kids to keep moving and was so disrepectful...I stood my ground...silent...I waited dor anthem to be over and let her have an earful afterwords..she didnt even get very far in line...what has this country come to with this dissrepect..ao disgusted with her and the example she set for her kids..she should be ashamed...I mean seriously ashamed...ok my rant is over now...
  38. 20 points
    My boy just called. They are not performing tonight. Academy is taking care of them. They are in shock and emotionally drained right now but will be okay. I can't tell you how good it was to hear his voice. He also shared that SCV may play Elsa's at tonight's show in honor of them.
  39. 20 points
    With all due respect, when most people see a big block of text like that with no breaks in between, their inclination is to not read it lol
  40. 19 points
    Well, Boston and Cadets have a 2018 thread.... and I am also excited gor the 2018 season! GO CAVIES!! HAPPY 70TH!
  41. 19 points
    I hesitate to post this in this thread as I'm not going to argue scores and I'm not going to cut on any other corps here. I'm just going to make a case for the depth of Bluecoats show design for some of you who think it is just a fluff show or inferior retread. I will offer just my opinion that it is a much more difficult visual and musical book than last year, but in a year where GE and analysis judges seem to be weighing execution more heavily than content, any argument should be about DCI priorities and not nitpicking the other shows that are scoring better. Anyway, follow on if you have a moment (I do have an extensive professional background in this type of thing)... 3PoC's totally overly verbose analysis of A Jagged Line from a design perspective: Firstly, it's a MUSIC show. For all of the "'coats are so pushing the envelope" talk, musically they are playing actual full movements of songs like we did back in my DCI days, including a drum break that is it's own complete musical movement just like we did every year I marched. Anybody here remember Stone Ground 7, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Black Market Juggler, New Country etc...? One Study/One Summary is very much in that lineage. The music book, from beginning to end, makes sense together - adventurous contemporary music with progressive metric and polyrhythmic motifs and strong melodic elements. It's a coherent playlist that is of a kind. So what kind of music is it really? Well, it is clear that the designers, because of the irregularity of the rhythms, the way many of the melodic themes jump around in pitch and are bounced around, often in a hocket style from instrument to instrument. decided to go with the adjective jagged. The idea of "jagged" is inherent in nearly every phrase of the music book and it's simple word with a clear visual associations, I believe the designers likely already knew they wanted to further explore a few significant developments they made over their past few years, particularly; a backstage type area so that performers could exit/enter view to highlight and focus on what they wanted to feature; motion on the x,y and z axes; surround sound design; full ensemble dance and emphasis on personalizing the performers. They took basic extensions of the idea of "jagged" such as zig-zag, back and forth/side to side, leaving and coming back, contrast, black and white, high and low etc... and put it all together to make a show that you can totally enjoy even with no attention paid to deeper underlying thematic concepts, But they are there. Let's look at some of the significant thematic implementations: The big center stage - well obviously it's a massive jagged line, but it also creates two fields - a here and there, a front and back, and a down and up. The show starts with an individual with a trumpet slowly going up and back with the words "Leaving on a train, don't know when I'll be back again" playing, and ends with a phalanx of low brass rapidly back down and forward as the music returns "home" to the main opening theme. They also return to using both sides of the field evenly as well as to a reprise of the signature move of the show, the fast side to side run that sums up the to and fro idea (and just looks cool). In between the leaving and the coming back bookends, the group journeys far backfield on side 1 where, beginning with innocence (notice the children's choir sample in the intro) they grow til tall, then during One Study/One Summary they make their way, starting with exuberance and near the end collapsing as they form a huge arrow pointing to the opposite side downfield, yet they rise in the end to triumphantly conquer the Zomby Woof in style on side 2. The center prop frames the scenes in the (imo wonderfully understated and unobtrusive yet effective) narrative. The Ballad - Why are they going away from us? They are on a journey far away. They were just in your face a moment ago blasting the end of the opener. now they want a jaggedy close/far contrast and to move the narrative away to a far off place where they will experience growth from the journey. The classic hero archetype in literature always has a Yoda part where the hero gains wisdom and strength in a place far from home before they can take on the Vader (or Zomby Woof) character. Why mic them backfield and have the sound come out of speakers on the opposite side? Apart from trying to capture the sound design of the source material which brilliantly dissolves into ambient cacophony with the distant drumming and shimmering and nearly distorting reverberations, they are also going for a spatial displacement effect where the sound literally zig-zags across the field. Narratively, I'm left to use my imagination on what this represents so I like to imagine that it's like a disturbance in the force type thing that perhaps rouses and foreshadows the Zomby Woof movement since that side is where that scene will soon take place. I dunno, may be wrong but it works for me! I've read other interesting interpretations as well. The best song lyrics almost always leave enough to the imagination to me let me find my own meaning. Color scheme and costuming - most obviously, black and white are contrasting opposites like many others in the show, but I get a distinct black&white silent movie vibe, particularly with the Charlie Chaplin character The Little Tramp. The Fosse movement vocabulary is pretty apparent but some folks don't realize that the bowler hat and cane Fosse character was his modernized version the Chaplin character, whom Fosse admired greatly. So I see the performers as variations of the tramp character, a good-hearted vagrant or vagabond type who wanders to and fro(!) getting into antics and surviving on charm, cunning and grit. But why Chaplin via Fosse for a show with such contemporary music? Well, I'm gonna suggest that it is precisely because of that contrast - old/new, In drum corps terms, this is an old-school format musical product with modern music, wrapped in a new school "theme" which is premised on very old school entertainment vocabulary. That's a pretty jagged (time)line. Again, I'm not gonna argue scores about this show, but I will argue it has depth of content (including incredible performance demand) that is pretty apparent if you look. The best part imo is that you can not care a whit about thematic construction and still throw babies at a great cohesive show featuring incredible performances of great songs! In that sense I guess it is a lot like Down Side Up. And that's a good thing. Peace! P.S. Your favorite corps is pretty awesome too! Don't let competition ruin your appreciation of the corps your fave is battling. In 2 weeks this will all be history. Savor them all!
  42. 19 points
  43. 19 points
  44. 19 points
    Tonights scores brought to you by
  45. 19 points
    Quick update: Legends hit their $100,000 goal! They will finish their season! (There was A $5000 matching grant announced at their show tonight!)
  46. 19 points
    Fans in the stands seem to like what they are seeing and hearing. A small minority are complaining.
  47. 19 points
    I'm wearing a bowler LOLOL posted from the DrumScorps app
  48. 19 points
    After an incident that happened in Allentown I believe two years ago where a "fan" who did not like a show made a snide comment about a performer that was pretty loud and crude (he was removed), within earshot of the young man's parents (I believe this incident made DCP), not all shows will be to everyone's liking, be passionate but objective, and when it comes to individual marchers, they are kids, twenty two tops. They may be mature, motivated, and talented, but they're still kids compared to most of us, and the person they call Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa may be sitting next to you. And even if the parents are not in earshot, don't ruin it for everyone else.
  49. 19 points
    Lol idiots? Kinda extreme. Probably should talk to those who are there recording the rehearsals.
  50. 18 points
    If the winner is based on show complexity, visual, and design... folks, I just witnessed the winner. This SCV show is one of the best shows I have ever seen. I screamed a "wow" a number of times just for the visual stuff the guard was doing. Incredible. So together. I hope everyone can see them live. Fantastic performance!
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