Guizeppe

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About Guizeppe

  • Rank
    DCP Veteran
  • Birthday 07/02/1980

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  • Your Drum Corps Experience
    Never Marched Corps
  • Your Favorite Corps
    There are no "bad' corps, just bad show designs
  • Your Favorite Drum Corps Season
    2004 (My first trip to finals)
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Citrus Heights, CA

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  1. I'm glad this topic is already created, as I was going to start one. Was at the Moonlight Classic two weeks ago. Totally unaware of the new "rules/allowances". I noticed the mic-ing first with the Mandarins. We sat on the 35 side 1 (or A, depending on your upbringing). They were very loud, which is good, because I like loud. At one point I noticed the drum line was playing on the opposite 40...but it "sounded" like they were playing on my 40. That's when I noticed the mics picking up their sound and throwing it through a speaker. THEN I realized that's how my hometown kids had suddenly become so loud...cranked to 11! I chose to ignore the infraction, thinking that there's no way DCI was letting groups use mics to artificially enhance their volume. "Must have been a mistake at the ol' sound board," I thought. Then...the coveted Blue Devils. "Mics up!" I said to myself. And sure enough, there I am, sitting on the 35, hearing things I shouldn't. The brass was positioned on the other half of the field. I expected to hear the awesome BD brass out of my right ear, but oh no no. Here was the full sound, emitting from the stack of speakers squarely placed in front of me. You know what wasn't in front of me...the HORN LINE!!! It doesn't make sense. I asked my wife what she thought about the mic situation. The word cheating came to both our minds. Not just cheating by making sound louder, cheating the audience, giving the auditory appearance of things that are not. If a horn line is opposite field, it should sound like it is! If a drum line is parked right in front of me, it should sound like it is! If a drum corps is made up of 70 marching brass, 20 marching drums and an awesome pit...IT SHOULD SOUND LIKE IT IS!!! ...breath... That same night, The Academy came out and blew our face off. No additional mics. The show was questionable, but I'll be darned if they weren't every bit as loud as the Mandies and Devs. And it felt AUTHENTIC. This notion that an entire drum corps needs to be micd for the betterment of the crowd is ridiculous. Before reading this thread, I was seriously going to send a note to the DCI offices regarding what I and other "old folks" like me (38 btw) considered unfair...again, not unfair to the judges or corps members, but unfair to us paying customers. But come to find out DCI chose to make this ok. DCI is allowing this deception, rationalizing it as yet another "design element". Mic the pit, that makes sense. Mic the soloists...IF it's a "voice" that under normal circumstances would be drowned out (ex. BD french horn soloists, or actual voice)...NOT if you need one sop or mellow to be heard over all the others. Something like that should happen naturally, and if it doesn't, design drill that helps showcase who and what is supposed to be showcased. If live corps start sounding no better than Youtube corps, I'll save my money and watch at home. Gas is expensive. And If I think a corps should be louder...I guess I'll do what "modern" drum corps do now...turn the knob. --end rant--
  2. Thanks Harvey. Agree with the hat debacle, as I wrote and you read. How SCV rationalizes that they have more presence without the classic unis is utter nonsense. And I forgot to mention about the mic'd horns in my review and agree with you about them being overdone. If I can hear the horns on the field, why even use the mics, especially if it's going to cause phasing. Anyway, good stuff. Hope PR turns it around.
  3. This will be quick, mostly because I'm at work, but also we got back at 1:30am this morning and tiredness is setting in. Haven't reviewed for a few years, had no plan to this year, but a few things are worth mentioning. And as a special treat I will point out the big props used by each corps, as that has now become the norm. Apologies to Salinas Drum Line, Freelancers Alumns and Golden Empire. After an extended stay in the will call line we finally sat down just before BDB took the field. BDB: Liked the Wonka song mixed throughout the show. For whatever reason, their bottom base seemed like the loudest of the night, which is much appreciated as a former bottom base player. Good sound. Too many vocals for me, but I'm old. PROP: Flag holders scattered about SCVC: Honestly the only thing that comes to mind is their show didn't seem finished, and that any SCV cymbal line is always a site to see. My wife liked their show more than BDB. Wish I remembered more. *yawn* PROP: Rolling white mini-stages w/ tall backdrops BDC: Always cute, always fun. Airplane/flight theme complete with propellers. Danger Zone was cool. Love the mini-guard classic flight attendant outfits. PROP: Airplane Intermission: 20 minutes did not seem like enough time to get some grub, but alas we acquired what we needed to get us through the 'meat' of the program. Btw, $7 for soda and $5 for water. Someone call the police, I've been robbed!! So glad I brought water. PACIFIC CREST: CA corps doing a CA-themed show. Music was good. First big hits of the night. Very enjoyable. At stand still the corps was clean, but while moving things were a little shaky. Just needs more practice. PROP: Tilted gold circle left of center. MANDARINS: The good: brass is amazing! Most power I've heard from my home team maybe ever. And "Sound of Silence" was great! The bad: not so much bad, the drums just need more time to clean. The ugly: Let me say the guard is very good and really brings home the "Ink" theme. However, at one point a portion of the guard wears...um...zippered up sleeping bags that are red on one side and black on the other, with arms, legs and head all inside. An interesting concept, but really hard to clean, visually and perhaps physically throughout the season. PROP: 4 GIANT classic ink pen tops laid on their side. My dad said they looked a bit like giant silver sun fish. Actually used pretty well...get it? THE ACADEMY: Love the uniforms, both classy and a bit cheeky, Half the guard are bunnies, half are hunters. Hence the show name *By a Hare*. Super fun fan-friendly show with recognizable music throughout. Drums were very good. Really quick tempo. Brass had some highs and lows dealing with that, overall pretty balanced. Actually thought they played better in their company fronts all spread out then in the increasingly popular big ball-o-brass. Great show! PROP: Rabbit holes all over the field. Kind of "Whack-a-mole"-esque. BLUE KNIGHTS: Bright color-by-section uniforms, huge brass hits and a thunderous drum line (second best of the night imo). But the music, or what there was, reminded me of BD ten or so years ago. Blasts and blurts, no real melody or musical theme. Sounded very clean, just not particularly engaging. Also, corps didn't wear hats (more on that later). PROP: Two tall '" i " shaped mirrored towers. Also some large tiara-shaped metal structures that looked like burning man left-overs. PHANTOM: Awkward. Very doom and gloom during the first half of the show. Corps is black and white while the guard has skin-tight red onesies initially covered in long black gowns. Guard also covers their entire head with a red wrap, that at one point is being pulled by brass members in a very "dominating" way. And then, suddenly, the corps dawns the familiar white-plumed helmets and the show perks up, both in music and feel Needless to say we enjoyed the latter half of the show much better. The corps seemed to perform the second half better as well. Overall, not my favorite Phantom show by a long shot. PROP: Nothing big, white helmets scattered over the far right of the field. VANGUARD: Before they entered the stadium, they showed a video about their new uniform and how it incorporates their "Serpent" theme. At the end the member doing the voice over said "I hope the fans will enjoy the change" or something like that. Hate is a strong word, so maybe I'll go with really really strongly dislike. Let's get this straight, there is ZERO connection to the crimson and green of old. I don't care if you kept the shielded V-badge because "you thought it was and important tradition". The hats and feathers are gone...GONE, what was more traditional than that! But most of all, their show is freaking awesome, and they don't look a thing like the Vanguard! Brass..amazing, loudest of the night by far. Drums..terrific. Guard uses the rolling stages magnificently. I thought initially they would be distracting, but the are used really well. Championship quality show, uniforms...argh!!! PROP: Masterfully created large round stages that look like those dangerous yard trampolines. BLUE DEVILS: If it's not broke don't fix it. Lots of high brass, drums throw down during every break. The opening sequence is really cool with the all snare line and the corps entering from left to right vertically. As BD does now there's a dance break in the middle, this year set to Rihanna's "Diamond", though not too lengthy. Lots of stairs, used to give different heights to different sections through the show. Flight of the bumblebee is fast and needs lots of cleaning, but will be BD brass at it's finest. Over use of the low end synth. Corps "Morphs" into not wearing hats and removing jackets making everyone look like the guard. Guard was not as clean as I'm accustomed to seeing, but it's also only their second show. Jazzy music, lots of scatter drill will feed the trolls. Liked it, didn't love it. PROPS: 14 sets of stairs...all white of course. VANGUARD ALUMNI: Wow, just wow. I was brought into this activity during the Phantom of the Opera years, and have always loved and appreciated the rich musical history of drum corps. Their "show" is called Send in the Memories, and the huge guard does a lot of work as the drums and horns blow your face off with hit after hit. Beautiful, just beautiful. I would have had every corps that performed last night come back out just to listen to how beautiful brass and drums can sound on a field. Worth the price of admission all on their own. Two words...bottle dance. Well, that got a bit long. Oh, my thoughts on the hats. I don't like it and I'll tell you why. What it does is it creates an inconsistency with the uniform. From the neck down, everyone is wearing the same or very similar uniform, for better or worse. But without a hat or shako or helmet or whatever, now everyone looks different, even if playing the same horn. Visually it looks less professional and borders on looking messy and unfinished. What's funny is, on the long drive home, I joked to my wife and dad that, drum corps is no different than professional sports. Do as the winner does. Just like what happened with synths and vocals and more recently giant props, drum corps has become very copy-cat from a design perspective, in that if the championship winning corps is doing it, then we should too. So I joked that Bluecoats must have not worn hats last year, not remembering if they had or hadn't. Sure enough, wifey looked it up...no hats. So, in an activity that rolls with the changes, or sometimes lives to do so, I hope it doesn't forget it's own motto. If this is truly "Marching Music's Major League", then I would expect everyone involved to not forget about the professionalism and the history of the activity. I'm very thankful there is enough perspective to showcase last night what many of us fell in love with decades ago, and I hope to see more of it in the future.
  4. Well Mr. Kamarag, we must agree to disagree. You're right, I don't like the K-pop, more so because of what it could mean for the activity long term. If there were some interaction between the hornline/drums and the "music" - say a little kpop, then some brass hits, kpop, drum licks, etc - then I would consider it part of the show. Instead, it's a 60 second so-you-think-you-can-dance number...not what I consider drum and bugle corps. There is a fine line between variety and doing something just to see what happens, and I believe this falls into the later. I like italian food and mexican food...that's variety. But if in the middle of eating a delicious enchilada I stop, pick up a dozen eggs and throw them at the wall, then eat a bowl of fettuccine alfredo as if nothing happened...that's crazy. Not to mention the time I wasted throwing those eggs could have been time enjoying more enchilada or fettuccine. So I will amend my statement...it is not a waste of everyone's time...it is a waste of my time. Now I'm hungry.
  5. Posted a review over in the review forum, but might as well chime in. caliswift - i am pretty much with you on all counts, save for the Open corps. I actually preferred SCVC to BDB. Other than that you are right on. The Mandarins mock-drums would obviously be better if they were real. Cool effect though. Loved the big front sideline arch with the guard playing horns. Did not like SCV for the first time in...forever ($.05 to Disney). BD has an amazing 10 minute show. The kpop thing, which I imagine is this years' controversy, is bad on two fronts. First, it's basically a dj, set drummer, and dancing corps members for 60 seconds. A WGI show broke out in the middle of my drum corps show, not what I paid for. Second, as mentioned above it totally ruins the flow of the show. As Herk posted, they play arguably some of the best jazz ever, then the dance club opens, and a minute later we're back to BD brass kickin' you know what. To me it's a waste of time. However, if what PhotographerJim said is true, the whole "character control" thing might come off better if Red Riding Hood runs over to the synth table, throws on a set of Beats and does a Skrillex impression (yes, I had to look up Skrillex). Outside of that, it just doesn't make sense.
  6. Bored at work, so here are my quick thoughts, feelings and desires on what was last night's Moonlight Classic here in Sacramento. Blue Devs C: Beatles music. Pretty well played. Group looks to be on the older end of the 8-14 age bracket. Not as many real little ones as in past years. Guard unis were my favorite of the night, think Sgt. Pepper meets Hello Kitty. Fun. Magical Mystery brought back fond VK memories. Golden Empire: 2nd year. Was not expecting such quality, both in size and sound. Reminds me of The Academy and Esperanza in how quickly they are progressing. Won't be surprised if they're competing at the same level of BDB and SCVC in the coming years. Pink Panther theme, a little Mike Buble. Really enjoyable. One not to miss. SCVC: in a word, classic. Had them over BDB tonight. Don't remember much of a theme, just a good ol' fashion drum corps show from top to bottom. Brass was the loudest I've heard from them in a long time. Drums look good, sounded better. Trombones didn't add anything in my opinion, could have used flugels or more mellows. My favorite of the early groups. Dare I say, liked their show more than big brother. BDB: Large metal cones, call them stalagmites if you will. Don't remember their theme either, but it was another very enjoyable show. Loud, brassy performance. Drums are ridiculous. Good luck beating the BD corporation in drums this or next year. Overall I found all the open Class corps quite good. Intermission: Took the kids to the souvie booths. Got their picture taken with the "Mandarin man" showcasing the new unis. Freelancers alums arched up and jammed some Mangione. Two gelatos and three slushies, then back to the show. Pacific Crest: Bigger, fuller sound then past years. Relied too much on the "liquid goo" for my taste. New unis looked good, but I pine for the long lost years of the white pants, those really stood out. Corps needs an identity. Music was nice, well balanced, though a bit forgetable. Low brass is their bacon...very tasty. Mandarins: Talk about identity. Mandarins going full taiko on this one. Fits them to a tee. Wonderful music, very rich and appealing. New unis are very modern in style. Like that they're staying with the purple/gold motif. Not sure the point of the people cut outs backfield. At one point the guard - not in uniforms as of yet - joins the horn line in a company front with horns in hand. Are they actually playing. Either way it comes off with big big pop. Loved it. Great show. BD: Wow. The best of the night without question. Absolutely love and totally hate. I'll explain. What I love: the corps music is great, drums are on fire throughout, guard telling the story(s) is top notch, even my kids got the gist of the "inked" theme, and it appears Mr. Goodwin is their new ace in the hole writer. For 10 minutes, this show is untouchable. BEGIN RANT: Here comes the almost-35 curmudgeon. I could go on and on about amps, mics, synths, and their positives and negatives. I know i can't take my kids back to the 80's and 90's when I fell in love with drum corps, and that's okay. I don't pretend to know what kpop is, but I know what it isn't. What I hate is that the Blue Devils are influential. In today's world, the way to beat the man is be the man. Please please please promise me, all you other corps directors, that when BD wins this year, you will be influenced by their supreme musicality, their outstanding work ethic, and their constant desire to perform at a championship level every night. A straight minute of dance club with a dj, drummer and 135 dancers is not what I will continue to pay for. END RANT SCV: Tesla coils...I think? SCV is on a mission to blow you out of your seat. Very very strong brass. The theme is a little heavy handed. Hard part about using electricity as your theme is that you have to do so through sound, and that makes for lots of spark and crackle noises that - at times - drowns out parts of the show, specifically the drum intro. Liked the show, didn't love it. Too much electrodes for me, also too much goo. I'd like to see a bass line drum-off between them and phantom. Tasty bass beats. Phantom: Beautiful music. The brass section solos are crystal. After having three heavily themed shows, this one was a little flat on the emotion scale. Corps looks really nice out their. Could use more Claire than we got, and American in Paris was fantastic. Guard was very effective in portraying Paris. A good classy Phantom show. Won't net them any metals, but it's loud, light and happy. Enjoyed the post show concert as well, major goosepimples. Keep coming West, we love you!!! BK: Another good show from these guys. i wish they would just let us here the believe music rather than "tell" us the theme. Drums were amazing. Throw them in the bass line battle as well (can you tell I was a bass drummer). Brass was probably the 2nd best balanced behind BD. Show ended quickly, so I'm guessing no closer yet. Liked it very much. So glad they've made the effort to make the West coast swing part of their standard tour. That's it. Had a great time. Kids really enjoyed Devs, and maybe that's the point. Anyway, back to work or whatever.
  7. Agreed. Is it too late to change the show design? White pants = classy!
  8. Let's see...25 years since SCV did the "unthinkable" and repeated, albeit differently arranged, a near perfect fan favorite show and won it all. Hmmmm.....
  9. Amen to that. I'm glad my 1-year old wasn't with me last night or he might have learned to fly.
  10. Dude...or Miss...whatever. Can't believe I'm the first to comment. GREAT review! Spot on with just about everything I was thinking of after tonight's show here in Sacramento. Vanguard is un-1989-freaking-believable. " Cry harder, other 49 states." classic! Excellent stuff.
  11. Let's hope the lights are on this time for the Moonlight Classic here in Sac.
  12. Ah the Ides of March, when the mind wanders and wonders of things that could or shouldn't be. I think DCI + Groupon could be a great thing. If DCI through Groupon offered a 2 for 1 deal for local shows or a discounted VIP package for major events, would you go for it? Plus and minus time: + increase in attendance + increase awareness on the web, if only from people visiting Groupon + possible increase in fans: let's say you get the BOGO offer and take a newbie or two + attendance boost might increase souvie and concession sales + current fans might be willing to travel to more shows since they're getting a deal on tickets + fans could give them as gifts to friends and family that otherwise couldn't afford to attend - shows that normally sell out would not generate as much revenue - DCI would not bring in as much giving away "free" or discounted tickets - increased attendance = increased parking and concession concerns = headache and higher cost for host That's 3 to 6, which tells me it's a good idea. Thoughts....anyone....anyone....Bueller?