radiosteele

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radiosteele last won the day on March 9 2014

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About radiosteele

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  • Birthday 04/26/1971

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    http://www.musiccitylegend.org
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    Hot Springs, Arkansas
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    Drum Corps, obviously.<br /><br />My wife, children and newly restored life.<br />They are proof of a loving God.
  1. Strongest Top 5s Ever?

    I for one, am glad they weren't, for obvious reasons.
  2. There's an afternoon occurance in Arkansas where on a hot summer's day, sometimes the clouds will decide to explode and dump eleventy billion metric tons of water. A perfect set-up for a drum corps show, no? God would not have any of it, as He took His mighty hand and shoved that mess aside just in time for the 8pm delayed start. I wish He would have thrown in a big divine blow-dryer as well. We could have seen full-on versions of these great shows with no short-cuts or boo-boos. That being said, a great evening was enjoyed by all, including my two teens and their tag-along friend. I will be sharing their perspectives with you as well. The field, as expected, was treacherous and we in Arkansas thank all the participants for risking your health and well-being to give us fantastic entertainment. There were about three to four thousand in attendance at the horrid, unaccomodating War Memorial Stadium in downtown Little Rock. Despite sad, poor conditions, nine corps persevered and all represented themselves well. They were: Cascades "Turn" - Small. That is the first impression you get with this corps. Small. And tiny. And small. I do not know why some administrators and staff of these corps misstrategize how these groups should compete, because I would rather see Cascades win Open Class than for them to finish next to last in World Class. The program was well designed, but elementary in its difficulty, rightfully appropriate for its membership. You didn't see them overly struggling like some small corps tend to be subject to by an overzealous staff. Good foresight and judgement on the part of the show designers. I thought the kids did an admirable job with the arrangements, especially "Turn, Turn, Turn". They finished a distant 9th in all captions. In a open class environment, this corps would easily challenge for a Top 5 spot. Respectable. Stephen - "Not bad" Abbie - "Meh" Alex - "I wanna talk to that boy again" My rank - 9th Actual rank - 9th The Academy "Vanity Fair" - Slick, sharp and very clean for a corps at their tier level. This wonderful, elegant show features some amazing silks, and they are used to great effect by a very capable color guard. Visual is such a strong point for the corps in this very classy program featuring some good musical selections. Marching technique and execution was fantastic. I feel the brass, although good in quality, need a bit more difficulty for this show to challenge those ahead of them, and also - not hold back!!! Wonderful visual performance I think was also hampered with some design over-simplicity. Unlike Cascades, there is Top-12 talent in this corps, especially in guard and percussion. They would hang if they had the vehicle. They lost brass and music rep to Oregon. The show just feels safe and restrained and they need to just let it loose. Percussion were impressive with a nice feature. Striking uniforms with flowing capes added to the formalty of the show. The color guard was splendid, and performed with confidence. With some musical rewrites and another dynamic level of brass performance, this corps could get really interesting.... Stephen - "Wow, beautiful!" Abbie - "I want a lemonade" Alex - "I really think he likes me" My rank - 7th Actual Rank - 8th Oregon Crusaders "nevermore" - I appreciate the innovative idea of attaching a poetic narrative to a show, which the Blue Knights would also do later in the evening. The hornline and program concept is carrying the corps, plain and simple. "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, was the DNA for the show, and the corps ably incorporated their selections into the theme. The guard did an impressive job of selling the visual. The hornline was powerful and loud, with good dynamic contrast but some obvious dirt. I have one main criticism - the overuse of sound bites!!! Now don't get me wrong, James Earl Jones narrating is something to be revered, but having him drop "nevermore" a dozen times, sometimes over brass hits is distracting, unnecessary and incohesive. That is no fault of the kids. The designers need to reduce the electronic clutter in the show. In other ways, the atmosphere set up electronically is quite nice and effective, but some refinement is necessary. The percussion slightly lags behind the other two captions who are holding their own. To improve, the narration needs to be honed better, the hornline a little cleaner and the percussion to bring some snap and aggression to their roles. It will be tough. Academy was better, over all in my opinion. Stephen - "Really interesting" Abbie - "Wow - I like dark and creepy - cool!" Alex - "I like the raven, it's really cool!" My rank - 8th Actual Rank - 7th Crossmen "Alma Gitana" - As much as you can in Arkansas, this was the hometown corps....a lot of Arkansan kids marching with Bones this year. They were getting serious and you felt it in this awesome, powerful show. Even though the only recognizable tune in this was their closer, I felt so comfortable with their selections, they were performed like I knew all the tunes already. They actually beat Boston in General Effect 1 (should have won the whole caption) and should have beaten them in Percussion. This gypsy-themed show was the turning point in the night, where the "ish" got real. There was a good amount of footwork and choreography in this show, and excellent use of accessories by the guard. Hornline was monstrously powerful, with only a small amount of noticeable anomalies. These guys and gals will solidly be in finals, no question. Stephen - "Whoa" Abbie - "Is this like from Aladdin, daddy?" Alex - "Hey that's a cross - neato!" My rank - 5th Actual Rank - 6th Boston Crusaders "Animal Farm" - For a show called "Animal Farm" there were a whole lot of macabric elements present. This was a dark and brooding show, understated and ominous. They topped Crossmen tonight on the judges sheet because they marched their shoes off, even defeating Blue Knights in visual proficiency, and rightfully so. They need to enjoy that while it lasts, because I do not see a lot of potential improvement with this program design. The hornline of Crossmen are slightly brighter and more impressionable than Boston's, but the apparently judges saw more in Boston's show, likely the complexity of its composition and integration. I liked the intensity the performers provided, and keeping the feel of it consistent. Good push at the end for a strong finish. Stephen - "The dark thing really gets me." Abbie - (Missed it - talking to boys) Alex - (Missed it - talking to boys) My rank - 6th Actual Rank - 5th Blue Knights "That One Second" - I absolutely loved the poignancy and emotional punch this show has. This was such a wonderful improvement from the corps' more esoteric previous efforts. To me, the program seems to be about recollecting memories that one second before you die, with its female narrator sending a strong message to appreciate all facets of life. The show also incorporated oceanic elements into the visual. I can get behind this program. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!! So crisply performed, much cleaner than The Cadets later (who, in fairness, had more difficult drill)!! The kids looked like machines programmed to march. BK had my favorite uniforms of the night, and their percussion was downright sicko. Crown's percussion better keep improving, or they will fall behind these guys. Excellent staging in the drill with very effective use of props and the poetic narrative. You can tell this program was put together by some of the best in the idiom. Stephen - "That's just cool." Abbie - "Can I get a lemonade yet" Alex - "I like the blue - pretty!" My rank - 4th Actual Rank - 4th Bluecoats "Tilt" - The best show of the night - but the Cadets were cleaner. Even with the Bluecoats playing it safe on the calisthenics and tarp usage because of the rain, they sold the bejesus out of this program. They won colorguard performance and percussion, and should have placed second in brass, and also should have won MA and GE. They will on finals week. Their cutting-edge repertoire selections were the most accessible of the night, and Doug Thrower's arrangements prove to be the best in the activity. The percussion put on a clinic and blew everyone else out of the stadium. They have the goods, people!! Well-balanced captions with a championship vehicle. There is just a slight bit of refinement needed in the hornline, and some transitionary issues to address in the program. I'll go ahead and say it, "Hymn of Axciom" is amazeballs. The transition into the next tune kills enthusiasm for the ballad. END IT COLD AND LET US RESPOND!!! Same thing goes for the final 30 seconds of the show after a perfectly executed pitch bend!! Even though the staff added a cold cutoff and a hearty "blue" (i think it's because they realized it was a problem) - staff....the last 30 seconds of the program needs work and improvement, it is anti-climatic!!! If these areas can be fixed, the Bluecoats will catch and pass Cadets on the judges sheets after they peak too soon. Get it done! This show is amazing and these performers are champions!!!! Stephen - "OH MY FREAKING GOD!" Abbie - "They're slanted all the time!" Alex - "That was awesome!" My rank - 1st Actual Rank - 2nd The Cadets "Promise: An American Portait" - To verify, this corps, with a couple of slight exceptions, is way clean and will peak before finals week. Short of pulling out a gigantic American Flag and releasing 13 bald eagles, there is simply nothing more the Cadets can add to this show. In fact, they should reduce the narration slightly. The hornline was impeccable, loud and proficient, but I can see how Crown beat them in this subcaption. I was very surprised and shocked to see the phasing in the hornline!!! Did I just watch two people out of step? The only other corps I saw do that were the Cascades. So how in the hell can Cole give them a win in Visual Proficiency? Ridiculous!!! Percussion - always reliable - held up their end nicely. The color guard was neck and neck with Bluecoats, but should not be. They did a great job of selling this show and not being overshadowed by the 150 large props on the field. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if the staff has them parking a bus on the field during finals week. Classic, wheelhouse Cadets show. Stephen - "History book - the drum corps." Abbie - "I hate school." Alex - "I want to talk to that boy again" My rank - 2nd Actual Rank - 1st Carolina Crown "Out Of This World" - The mics for Crown's singers fritzed out and they had to do the opening unamplified, just like in the olden days. The hornline put on the clinic this time. The all high-brass moment during the percussion feature was just insane - very entertaining! Percussion, while improved from last year, has only one flaw - they are not victory-quality. Some I talked to felt the excessive prominent featuring of the caption hurt the corps. I agree. They need a serious non-percussive brass chorale moment to improve GE a bit. Also, between the hoops, frisbees-to-nowhere and trampolines, there is a bit of design clutter on the field. A better purpose needs to be forged for these interesting props. The program design is interesting, but not smooth and cohesive enough to compete with the top 3. Stephen - "Dad, did they just bounce on trampolines and play?" Abbie - "I want a frisbee - yay!!" Alex - "I liked how they ran around the trampolines!" My rank - 3rd Actual Rank - 3rd Welp, there you have it, Drum Corps Community! I always like to be of service when there are goings-on in my state! A GREAT job by Robert Hesse and workers at the show who handled the elements and delayed schedule very well!!! How they can polish a turd like War Memorial Stadium and turn it into a useable venue is beyond amazing. It made the show - amazing - great memories for me and my attention-deficit-disorder-riddled teenagers, who were of no critical help.
  3. Blue Devils 2014 Thread

    They are going to kill with this show. I have a positive feeling about it and if anyone knows me and i AM NOT a fan of the abstract, conceptual Devils versus the in-your-face, big ballz Blue Devils. However, Federico Fellini was about smashing every norm in the film industry - going places others were afraid to go and doing what other filmmakers were scared ######## of doing. If the Devils embrace this ideal and the impression Fellini made and put it on the field, its complexity will challenge what Crown did in 2013. However.....we do not know what Crown is doing yet - so hold on to your butts....it's going to be a wild ride!!!
  4. 2014 Predictions!

    1) My predictions mean nothing 2) this is just a rote exercize in pride and arrogance 3) that being said, here are mine (but not as a ranking) What each corps needs to do to achieve their highest... POTENTIAL WINNERS - Top Tier Blue Devils - for the love of pete - revisit the vibe you had in 2003 with "Phenomenon of Cool" - That was the last year the drum corps community begged for BD to win. Entertain the crowd - first - innovate like you have over the past decade - second - and the Devils will win, without a doubt. But I do not think they will do so......esotericism seems to suit their staff, so.... Bluecoats - Yeah, I SAID IT!! GREAT selections with Thrower's arrangements will have the 'Coats challenging Crown for high brass this year. If the visual/guard captions can break through and set a new standard - the Bluecoats will be in the running for a medal. Regardless of how they do, I will like this corps' show anyway go now and listen to the source material. Now. Cadets - This is a safe show for them, and for that reason, especially with rules changes, I don't feel they can win this year, but should stay solidly in the top 5. Carolina Crown - They will have to follow one of the best drum corps shows in 15 years this season, and I cannot comprehend how they - or any corps - could. That being said - a lock for top 3, but will be challenged by Bluecoats and Blue Devils. SCV - A dark horse - BIG time. If they do a rehash of their former Scheherazade show - forget it. If they can do a more aggressive - old-school treatment like they did with the AWESOME Les Mis' show last year, then watch your ### - Vanguard will be coming for you. Top 5 lock. RESPECTABLE SHOWING - Second Tier Phantom Regiment - I think 2014 will be an in-your-face year for drum corps, and Swan Lake's artistry and elegance I think will go somewhat unappreciated by judges. That being said, I think this corps may have "goose bump moment" potential. Regardless of how they place, they will not be forgotten. Madison Scouts - The Scouts have regained something in the past 5 years they lost for most of the new millenium - swagger. And Kenton/Ellis is 1000% BALLS. I think the boys will perform the dogcrap out of this show, and maybe snag 6th or even 5th from an unsuspecting corps this year. The climb continues. Cavaliers - Unfortuately, the Cavaliers have been making design moves away from "Cavalierishness". Last years show could have been done by the Blue Knights and you wouldn't have known the difference. They need to revisit some older material to re-establish their brand, something I know Mr. DeGrauwe would love to see. How about bringing back the incredible 1986 opener "Canzona"? Which I felt was THE part of their show that got them in 3rd place that year. Put a modern spin on that - resymmetricize the drill - and the Cavies will climb up. This will not happen, so Green Machine will drop down again - because Boston Crusaders - This corps deserved 7th or higher last year. I loved "Rise" and I think they can grow from this if their hornline can smooth out some rough edges. I'm confident they can, this corps gets better every season - and my gut tells me they will break through. HAPPY TO BE HERE - Bottom Tier Troopers - Last year's staff, it seems, kept the show difficulty down to develop consistency within all captions, and to present a show for the fans. They DID!! I loved 2013 - but now it's time to turn up the heat big time. The corps now has the talent. They need the difficulty, and the theme of the show this year is 100% Troop-friendly. I think by the time they hit "America The Beautiful", the crowd will be throwing babies with red-white-and-blue diapers. Not 12th - but 10th - you watch I'm right on this one. Blue Knights - They should be happy with being consistent, because this year will be insane for a finals spot. There will be 6-8 corps that could reasonably get in this year. They are: Spirit of Atlanta - Who were taking the year off, according to that part of my cortex that forgot they weren't Crossmen - fresh show ideas and an awesome hornline Colts - Pink Floyd - if they pull this off, the crowd will cry out for a Saturday Night appearance Blue Stars - Love the performers, but the Troopers beat them last year and everyone knows it. This year the judges will score them fairly. Need a fresh creative direction to keep from getting lost in the fray. Mandarins - YEAH I SAID IT. Wow - what improvement from these guys last year, and I strongly feel they can excel. If they still progress, Mandarins will challenge for a finals spot. Oregon Crusaders - HUGE improvement from 2012 to 2013. The creativity and cleanliness of their visual package last year got to me. They will definitely be in the hunt, but may likely see 14th or 15th due to the competitiveness of the season. This concludes my opinion and it is COMPLETELY worthless. But at least I feel better now that it's out of my system.
  5. Bluecoats 2014

    Honestly, as a former pupil of Mr. Thrower, I could give two ##### whether Bluecoats medal or not, because I will love their show and his writing even if the corps finishes 20th. He has surpassed Downey as one of the most proficient composers/arrangers in the activity, and this 'Coats and those kids have been the ideal conduit for his genius. The corps needs the visual element to catch up to the other two captions for those looking at placements. Again, I'm not so much caring about it. I love the freshness of the corps over the past few years and their innovation, I enjoy the entertainment they have brought me. If you hate on them , OK, I can respect that - but go isolate yourself in a small room to rage on them - keep the vapid, empty trolling off of here. It does nothing for you but bring you stepchild-like attention. Thanks.
  6. The staff merrigoround

    Bluecoats DO NOT need to f with the Hornline. Doug Thrower is a God among men. Give us something to see that matches what we hear and they could challenge for the title next year.
  7. If a corps did a Bollywood show, it would be ground-breaking. I would not be surprised if Crown, Cavaliers or Blue Stars did it next year.
  8. Troopers 2013

    It's fun for some of us armchair drum corps dopes like me to brainstorm, but in all seriousness, the staff, the crew and the members of Troop need to be VERY happy with what they have done so far this year - they may not be completely winning the judges over yet, but they own the audience like a set of fine china. Building on what Pinwiz so capably started.... I preface this by saying the talent is very much there - this is one bad ### group of men and women on the field this year, and they just need some more cool things to do. Some specifics that could launch the Troopers' show into a solid finals spot: 1) The end of the percussion feature, the dissonant chord sounds like it just sits there. Take a cue from Madison 1997 and go friggin nuts. The crowd will lose it. It's just what my soul is craving in that moment. 2) Get the soloists off the sideline after the Sunburst. It causes balance issues and unless they are wailing a la BD, the ensemble needs to be the focus. 3) Their first big chord, while powerful, could use a high mello layer on top. That would kill it. 4) Yellow scarves by finals. Make it happen. 5) I second Pinwiz on crazy-### bananas bumblebee drill the last 30 seconds or so, because the "11" doesn't show up that well. The kids are marching the crap out of it, it's just laid out a bit skewed. Suggestion: end with one perfectly straight and symmetrical HUGE "11"....and have our old-school homegirl with the flag *run* down the middle to the sideline during the last 4 measures (a reprise of the ballad move - makes sense). Babies - I promise you. 6) A few note runs in the opener. It feels like a more traditional arrangement, and while awesome, needs to be competitive. Useless opinion concluded. Everybody has one, just like........ (well, OK)
  9. Troopers 2013

    (whoops, double)
  10. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    If BD wins this year, I totally get it. That was the most complex musical & ensemble package I have ever heard or seen on a football field...and somehow those #### kids sold it. Kudos to them for trying something unheard of in the activity. Crown still wins brass, though. I'm not conceding that one.
  11. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    Blue Devils, you are polychordal, asymmetrical, abstract, absurdly complex and straight up weird. And awesome. Wow.
  12. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    My God, Crown sounds like a Symphony Orchestra.
  13. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    "Jingle Bells" to "Do You Hear...." - best transition of 2012. I just love it.
  14. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    Awesome SCV! Just awesome!!!! MOTN just hit me out of nowhere.
  15. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Factory

    The Cavalier's identity and standard of excellence - safe for another season. Kudos to the staff and those young men for turning it around :)