The_Reasonable_Man

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  1. Hip Hillsboro - July 7, 2017

    What a great night of drum corps. My brief thoughts below: Open Class - nothing shows the stability of modern drum corps like the absolute quality coming out of open class these days. Wow. Battalion, Columbians and Golden Empire all put on shows that, when I marched, would have easily made "Top 25" and likely quite a bit higher. Golden Empire was the smallest of the three (about 40 horns?) and had the least interesting show design, but was pretty clearly the cleanest. I don't notice drum lines much, but thought theirs was their strongest section. Cool backdrops that framed the field nicely for the smaller group. Good guard. This corps deserved its win tonight. The Columbians fielded around 50 horns and had a bigger, fuller sound. They seem to have taken a different approach to show design this year, and I'm not sure it an improvement. Much of the show is interspersed with the poem "Do Not Gently." Too much narration which, for me, distracted from what the corps was doing. Overall, this show didn't much range of emotion - just anger. Adagio was nice, but I found myself wanting more of it (that's a compliment). As an alum of two fallen northwest corps, I love seeing a strong open class corps like Columbians in our backyard. Battalion - huge, loud, and visually very dirty. Were those Freelancers old uniforms? They have an old-school show design, which I appreciated. 4 songs. No narration. Readable (but currently very dirty) drill. I think I counted 12 contras, which is absurd for a second year open class corps. Clearly they are on the right path. World Class Cascades - its great to see this corps continue to grow and improve every year. This was very "modern" show design - buckoo electronics, a solo vocalist during the Sia closer, a huge bird cage, narration, hornline dancing. My 10 year old daughter liked this one quite a bit. The shows starts with a few fleeting phrases out of the pit from Freebird before I was hopeful we'd get the rest of it somewhere, but I didn't catch it (which is a bummer). Accessible music. This is clearly the most talented Cascades corps in quite a few years and they have a show that is fan-friendly and an easy sell. My hunch is it won't be enough to overtake Oregon Crusaders by Indy, but it should let them make a jump up the standings. Oregon Crusaders - tough for them to follow BD. I know its their homeshow and all, but I seriously think the crowd would have had more energy for them had they not gone on after BD burned the place down. This looks like the biggest and best OC ever, and they have their most mature show design ever, too. It is delightfully old-school. No samples. No obvious electronics. No huge props. The hornline marches in big, complex forms more than it dances. They wear shakos. This IS your father's drum corps, and its done quite well. I thought the spread between OC and Cascades would be higher. The hornline was the strong point for me - they will blow some faces off by the end of the summer. Guard the weak point. They are cleaner visually at this point than in years past. I thought they had the best ballad of the night (the Enya song). It did what a drum corps ballad should - started softly, was accompanied by flowing drill, built, went backfield, had complete musical phrases, and blew our faces off in the end. Bravo. My guess is this corps won't make finals, but who knows. BK - I have hated BK in the past, but this show is great. Much has been written elsewhere on these guys, so I'll sum just sum up by sharing what my 10-year old daughter randomly screamed 1/3 of the way through the show: "This is SO AWESOME!" BD - I haven't seen BD live in probably 10 years. When I did, they were unrecognizable from the corps I loved in the 80s and 90s. This is BD at their finest. They were fantastic. Thanks to OC for putting on a great show. It was a real treat for us in the NW corner to get to see 7 fantastic drum corps in one night.
  2. Agreed - I caught the Columbians at the McMinnville show and couldn't believe how much they've grown and improved. I enjoyed them every bit as much as I OC and the Cascades, if not more. I hope they continue to improve and grow and provide yet another quality drum corps option for kids in the NW!
  3. Spokane, WA Review

    Great review! Don't mean to nitpick, but I counted brass for Thunder and Oregon Crusaders at the Hillsboro show, and I seem to recall Crusaders marching 42 horns, and Thunder marching something in the low 30s.
  4. Pieces never done by Corps

    Obligatory plug for the music from Conan the Barbarian. I'm astounded that, year after year, so many corps pass over this incredible music that is simply crying to be put on the field. Amazing. Even though I've seen the movie countless times, when I hear this music, I see drill moves in my head instead of scenes from the film. There's also a ton of really cool, field-worthy music from contemporary groups that should be played, like Sigur Ros, Godspeed, You Black Emperor, Polyphonic Spree, or Sufjan Stevens.
  5. This is my second viewing of most of these groups, as I was also lucky enough to see the San Jose show last week. Show logistics -- My general admission ticket cost $25 bucks, which allowed me to sit either way low, or way out on the past the 25 yard line. That's fairly steep compared to the cost of other drum corps shows, but fairly reasonable for a night of great entertainment. I certainly enjoyed the show last night more than any Mariners game I've ever been to! Still, I'll admit it, I had no compunctions about breaking the rules and sitting in the sections designated for high rollers. There was plenty of room there anyway. Venue was the huge Husky Stadium at UW. I'm starting to like this venue more and more over the years. The roof holds in and amplifies the sound -- good. The stands are high, allowing one to get a good read of drill -- good. There's a huge running track separating field and audience, so big it could accomodate a NASCAR race -- bad. The views of Lake Washington are breathtaking -- good. Weather was fantastic. On to the show... The crowd -- I'm horrible at estimating numbers so I won't even try, but it was more than 200 and less than 50,000. Very enthusiastic and appreciative, which surprised me considering Seattle's laissez faire attitude toward pretty much everything. National Anthem -- well played by a 12 year-old solo trumpeter. Corps reviews will be short on details/analysis, long on impressions. I don't like analysing shows as I watch them. General Comments -- * what is up with these Div. II/III corps? They are awesome. I can't believe there are people who skip out on these guys and come just for the Div. I corps. * enjoyed the musical selections more this year than in recent years. Is the trend away from obscure music written by people with no vowels in their names finally over? God, I hope so. * can it be DCI policy to supply every show announcer with phonetic spellings of drum major names? Failing that, can drum majors just use fake names that are easy to pronounce? BDB -- This is simply an excellent drum corps. Show design fairly safe but entetaining. Horns (I think I counted 37 of them?) were well-balanced and controlled, though not very powerful. Drill makes great use of what they have. I know nothing about guard, but they weren't a distraction for me, which is usually about all I can say of my appreciation for the guard. Drum feature was highlight of the show. Marching was very clean, forms readable. Very strong across all captions. Most I have ever enjoyed a BDB show. I was looking foward to this show after seeing them in San Jose, and wasn't dissappointed! I have little doubt they'd make finals and challenge for the top if they were going to DCI. Oregon Crusaders -- When I first saw these guys in 2001, I remember being angry at the staff for giving them a show way above their heads. It was one of those uncomfortable experiences where I was actually somewhat embarassed for the kids. I remember thinking in '02 and '03 that things were improving, not because the show designs were much better, but because they were performing just enough better; not to the point where it was real fun to watch, but at least to the point where it was no longer uncomfortable to watch. I didn't see them last year, so, naturally, I was shocked when they did so well. So -- this was the corps I was most looking forward to seeing tonight. Wow. First thing I noticed was their size. Div. I sized corps. 10 contras. 56 horns. A pit the size of LeBrea. Guard of 17 or so seemed small compared to the rest of the corps. New (to me) corps uniforms look sharp, if a bit generic. Is this the biggest corps ever to come out of Oregon? Did the Argonauts ever have 10 contras? Great job recruiting in an area that has traditionally been somewhat tough to recruit in! The show -- very well designed, very entertaining, very, very, very dirty show. Although the horn-line is big, and they were easily the loudest, fullest sound in Div. II/III last night, they have a somewhat young sound. It's almost an old-school drum corps sound. Harsh and brash at the cost of intonation. Like those old drum corps recordings from 1978 corps whose names I can't pronounce. Whether by design or accident I don't know. The guard is, regrettably, in Aladin-type costumes. Again, I know nothing of guard, but this guard was something of a distraction for me, with some cheesey sword-play and acted-out scenes seeminly thrown in random that, for me, added nothing and detracted much. Show starts with some mysterious, Egyptiany sounding stuff, and then a predictable first big, loud, full horn hit. Very nice. I like predictable horn hits like that -- not a knock! Music overall is kind of Egyptiany. Very nice arrangements; appropriate for the talent level; full phrases with beginnings, middles, ends, and real dynamics -- none of this three-measures-at-ff-and-then-on-to-a-new-phrase business that seems so prevalent in drum corps today. Some outstanding sop soloists bordering on screamers. Drill again was well written with some big open forms. Not terribly demanding, but tasteful. At one point the hornline makes an hour-glass and the guard, dressed in white and carrying white silks, ran from the top to the bottom, representing the "Sands of Time" theme well. Pretty cool. First 2 or so minutes of the drill was fairly clean, and then the dirtyness sets in. Bottom line -- an enjoyable, accessible show that needs lots and lots of cleaning. Corps has come a long, long, long way in just two years. Great work Crusaders! Fever -- saw these guys in San Jose and was left with sort of a "blah" taste in my mouth. Not so tonight. This is a show that grows on you. Big horn-line for Div. II -- I counted something like 44. They seem significantly cleaner than in San Jose. I'm not sure if their orange and grey uniform scheme is doing them any favors with the judges, but I appreciated their willingness to do something different. Show is tidier than Crusaders, but less accessible. Some cool drill moves in the opening movement were well-executed -- full corps in a block, every other line moving in opposite directions. Guard didn't annoy me much, but their dancing, even to my novice eyes, could use some work. The original music is interesting, if a bit dark. It has the same feel throughout, although it doesn't all sound the same. Deserved their placement tonight over Crusaders -- although their show design isn't as cool (IMHO), they are that much cleaner. Spokane Thunder -- Div. III. 42 horns, 6 in the guard. Now, that's what I'm talkin' about. This is an excellent philosophy -- can more corps please use this horn-to-guard ratio? First year in competition for these guys, and, I'll admit, I was expecting a train wreck. A train wreck it was not. Horn line had some volume at times; at others some, uh, issues. Music wasn't "fun" and/or hummable, but it was pleasant and enjoyable. I joked about the guard above, but only because their 6 person guard actually added quite a bit more to the show than you'd expect. Show was very dirty; maybe a bit too difficult for the performers. They seemed to be having fun, though, and performed with the enthusiasm and energy you love to see from a young corps. An excellent showing for a first year corps! Keep up the great work in Spokane! LONG INTERMISSION -- I had time to smoke a cigarrette, use the restroom, and read 25 pages of my book. In succession, not all at the same time. The cigarrette and bathroom were needed and enjoyed. The reading could have been better. Vanguard Cadets -- regrettably, I don't have much to say here. Show didn't really leave much of an impression on me. They march and execute well, and have that Vanguard presence, but I just didn't enjoy it much. Phantom -- Phantom actually went on last, but I'll review them here in one word: sweet-a-licious. Cascades -- I think this is one of those shows that you're either going to like or you're not going to like. Not much middle ground. It's design is too much at the margins. The cube props that makes an airplane; the guard uniforms; the fact of narration. You're either in their camp or you're not when it comes to its design. I'm in their camp. The purple and orange guard uniforms make a statement, but it's a statement I like. The orange cube things that make an airplane are bold, but its a boldness I applaud. The narration is unecessary, but does that mean it should go? I'm resigned to the fact that narration and human voice are now part of drum corps. I bristled when I heard it San Jose, because until then, I'd never heard human voice in drum corps. The fact of it was just so startling. But once I got over the fact of it, I was fine with it. The narrated parts account for, I'm guessing, at most, a minute of their entire show. Not that big a deal, IMHO, and way less chintzy than Boston's last year. Show design -- music good, drill, not so much. It's music you've never heard before, save Stairway to Heaven, but its interesting and fairly accessible. You're not going to be humming it out of the stadium, but you're not going to be wondering, as I often do watching corps, "why the heck did they play that?" I think Stairway is probably overarranged. It's such a powerful song, I'd leave more of the oringal structure in there; its powerful enough that it can stand on its own. Unfortunately, I think the drill is not up to par with the music. Very compact. It's fast and challenging, but they don't cover much of the field. You have a huge drum corps full of interesting colors -- use it to your advantage and spread out! Perhaps when they clean it all up it will make more sense. The drill in Stairway has nice moments, though. At one point, they make a stairway that is moving toward the back corner of the field, almost like an escalator -- very cool. Either they changed the ending or cleaned the heck out of it, because now its working for me whereas in San Jose it didn't. Hornline is loud and powerful; good blend; a bit muddy in the low brass, at times it sounds like they have horse tongues. Soloists don't seem to be playing with a ton of confidence; I thought OC's were better. Overall -- noticably cleaner than in San Jose, but still noticably dirty. That their score is less than two points better is odd. Show has finals potential, but not sure they can clean enough to get there. Which leads me to my next point: It doesn't matter. My Not So Deep Closing Thoughts -- That's right, it doesn't matter. I was so impressed with the overall quality of all the corps last night, and the enthusiastic reception they all got, that it reinforced for me what drum corps is all about. Working hard, having fun, performing cool music, and making out in the back of the bus on the way to the next show. The Cascades, Oregon Crusaders, and Spokane Thunder left me feeling particularly warm and fuzzy. Northwest drum corps has been through some hard times; to see three corps tonight (with a combined 150+ horns!), was, in a word, awesome. I marched in two Northwest drum corps that bit the dust in the 90s, and I'm sure I speak for every alum of a defunct Northwest corps when I say that I sincerely hope all three of these Northwest corps can keep on keepin' on. Amazing.
  6. San Antonio review

    Thanks for taking the time to write a review. You're a king among men! I'm curious -- how did Revolution compare to Pioneer?
  7. Houston Review

    Ugh. This is the second thread we've had that's gone all meta and reviewed reviews. Can we let it go, already? The bottom line is that not everybody is going to like every show. DEAL WITH IT! I'll say it again, just for good measure: DEAL WITH IT! Rule #1 to keep in mind when reading reviews is this: Reviews are inherently subjective. If people don't stop bashing reviewers, we'll have no reviews (or at least fewer reviews). If you don't want to read reviews with which you disagree, just stop reading them.
  8. Houston Review

    wow dude... so, you think a horn book/music is better when you can go home singing tunes that have been around since friggin' 1974 and previous???? I hate to put you down, but how is coming up with an original show meaning the music is forgettable?? I've been to 2 shows, and I can sing the show top to bottom. And did you ever do any research on the way they designed the shows?? it pretty much IS a soundtrack to a visual show... using a marriage of music to vis to make the most perfect complete package they can. By your comments, I can tell you're not much of a music guy making statements like those. But that's okay. We're not all music people. And people wonder why there aren't more reviews. He didn't like Cavies. He isn't the first, and he won't be the last. Get over it.
  9. That was an awesome review. Can you give an on-line review worshop for the rest of us prols? Personally, I think you're wrong, and that three of BK, Scades, Magic and Spirit will make it. And I don't think Seattle will make it.
  10. 1991 Phantom Regiment

    1991 Phantom. One of my favorite shows ever. Always wondered where that Jazz section came from. Thanks!
  11. Wow. Great review. Thanks so much for the 411. I was surprised to hear the corps won't be using any color to start the show. When SkyRyders played that same music in '93, at the start of the season, they had no color at all. As the season progressed, they added a sash to the corps proper and some other color, presumably because their GE scores were relatively low. The addition of color really helped the show. Hope Revo aren't similarly hampered by their lack of color.
  12. REVIEW--June 20, 2003--Cerritos/Impulse Show

    Just want to add my thanks for the two great reviews. About as good as it gets without actually being there. Hopefully more folks will be inspired to contribute reviews as thorough and thoughtful as yours. Also glad you set the record straight on Mandarins' size. 50 horns? With Mandarins' trademark technique and control? Whoa, mama...