The drive in to Charleston was nice. I was a little concerned about the weather for a while but it held out for a nice night of drum corps. Parking was easy and I got a chance to watch some of the action in the lot before the show started. The stadium had a colossal track that takes a little away from the drum corps viewing pleasure. Also, the proximity to the interstate causes some distraction. I kinda liked it better in Huntington but can understand that the finances are more reasonable in Charleston.
Now to the corps performances.
Teal Sound - A very young corps. They're really dirty and the horns show some fundamental weakness in the visual department. What I don't understand is the real purpose for the guitar, bass, and two keyboards. I'm no drum corps dinosaur but those electronics are used very well. I never heard a note that the bass player played and when the guitar player was featured, the sonority was less than desirable. Welcome to the big time Teal Sound. I'd like to see you head to head with corps like The Mandarins, Pacific Crest, and Jersey Surf.
Spirit - REALLY NICE NEW UNIFORM. The program is a better offering than last year. I actually liked their use of voice sampling.As always, the Spirit Colorguard had a lot to offer. I was entertained by their show but I don't know if we'll see them on the last Saturday night at the Oil Can.
Glassmen - Standard Glassmen fare. They can play. They can march. Do they give me goosebumps. NO. Unfortunately, the most that I can remember about the Glassmen's performance was how proud Cassidy's parents were of her. I was hoping to feel more in my spirit about "The Prayer Cycle."
Carolina Crown - Wow!!! They are good. CC marches and plays better than anybody I've ever seen in June. The horn line is spread out like a week's wash and plays with great power and accuracy. There are a few visual moments that are really nice. They march and play the snot out of a bout nine minutes of a show. If that's what you want that is what you'll get. What this show lacks is a bigger idea or story. If you think about the underlying message......it's a little pretentious, don't ya think? Gold horns.......that will probably be the only things gold that they carry of the field at the end of the season.
Cadets - My favorite show of theirs in recent memory. I don't know if I like the recorded music in the preshow but I loved the herald trumpets and the block coming on the field. They communicate the toy soldier story very well. I'd like to see the guard get out of the corps proper uniform a little quicker and all together by the end of the show. I like the "old school" weapon spinning in the show. I look forward to seeing this show progress over the season.
Bluecoats - I am an unabashed Bluecoat homer and have no problems saying that I just didn't like last year's show. Maybe I'm not smart enough but I just didn't understand it. Now, this year's production is about as opposite to that as it can be. In a word......mean. This is not the "nice" Bluecoats that we're used to seeing. Everything about this show is aggressive. The horns, the drums, the guard all have a different attitude. Enough can't be said about the contra section. The best in the activity is the only thing that comes close. This is one of the best programs that the Bluecoats have offered. The best use of electronics of the night.
Phantom Regiment - The're better than last year. As always, PR has a great hornline that plays with a lot more control than usual. The drumline is nowhere near where they have been recently. Visually, they are still a mess. The drill just seems cluttered the whole time. Part of the reason that the horns sound so good is that they are so compacted together the whole time. Ther's a lot that I love about PR and I hope to see them "right the ship" soon.
Encore - I would appreciate a little more "higher, louder, faster" if you don't care.
Did anybody else notice that Carolina Crown's drum major was AWOL for the awards ceremony?