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Ok. This review really isn't all that much of-death, but just in case, here's the usual disclaimer:

I marched Bluecoats. I typically love certain corps. I typically hate certain corps. I'm also a Cleveland sports fan, which means that I tend to love/hate things that I love and or hate with a little more passion than the typical DCP honk. Also, keep in mind that I tend to take the vaaaaast majority of criticism from the overall design angle and NOT from an "oh-my-god-the-members-are-terrible" standpoint. If you can't process that, please click the back button on your browser now (and how on earth are you able to operate a computer, for that matter?). :thumbup:

And with that said, on the the review!

Glassmen

There are many reasons why a corps can be in 12th place. Hell, I've been there myself. On the positive side, I really dug the percussion book, and considering Rob Ferguson helms the program, that's no surprise. At first, the snare line "headbanging" (which I know is an exaggerated term, but it's the closest I could think of) got on my nerves. It was a little distracting, to say the least. Then I really started to dig it, mostly because it was clear that the players were really digging what they were playing. Very nice drum book. This show was very competent overall. The members were clearly a cut above what 12th place meant 10 years ago. All I could think about, though, was that their designers just...forgot?...that a show should be memorable. How on earth does that happen? And no, that's not a rhetorical question. Seriously. How does that happen? Anybody know the rationale? They have some good talent. It's not like the kids would take a look at a brass/guard/drum/visual moment that would wow a crowd and mysteriously forget how to march/spin/play. There's no Glassmen bylaw that says that you need to be forgettable compared to corps like the Cavaliers and Cadets. The more I try to remember what I liked about this show (and I DID like it), the more I realize that it's only because I didn't hate it. Why was "The Prayer Cycle" nowhere near as mind-blowing as "The Age of Reverence" was in 2000? This is a good organization that's been stable for quite some time. How bout we step it up for the kids in 2011, shall we? I would love to see the Glassmen surge up and be more competitive like they were in years past.

Blue Knights

This is always a difficult corps to review. I feel like they're taking some nice baby steps toward being more crowd-friendly, without going waaaaay over the line and pulling another 2001 (anybody remember that monstrosity? lol). Europa had some good musical moments, and from the energy coming off of the field at the beginning of the show, it really looked like BK wanted to take it to Madison. I think the membership really made what would have been a good, but not jaw-dropping, show into something greater than the sum of its written parts. Gorgeous ballad--one of the best of the year. With all that said, some of my Glassmen rant definitely applies here too, though it seems like BK is more in the middle of progressing toward something than just staying in meh territory. It was even said before their quarters performance that that was one of the goals of the staff: to really start moving toward something more accessible while still keeping the integrity and image of the corps. 2010 wasn't a massive leap, but I'm really glad to hear that that's the direction they want to go in as an organization.

Madison Scouts

Or should I say, Madison Explorer Scouts? heh. What a killer show. Starting with the positives: this corps really came to play. They were a crowd favorite, and it was pretty freaking clear that they knew it. Still loving the short-sleeved unis from the box perspective (though they still look a little weird during the closeups. At least the members get to stay cool). Kudos to the design staff for keeping pretty true to the original Rhapsody opening solo, and whoever that soloist was, way to freaking go. Great stuff every time I heard it this season. Nice low sound from the 20-man contra line. Spectacular guard feature during the big scaffolding section. I think the drill design could stand to mature a bit, but that's more or less getting down to some nit-picky design stuff. The direction of this corps is something really exciting, and I really hope they can keep on this path. The director of the year award seems to be very well-deserved. After multiple little reboots throughout the last decade, this is a Madison Scouts I can really get behind.

Boston Crusaders

And speaking of solidifying images, what I would consider year two of the modern Boston Crusaders seemed to be another success. I loooooved the Eve show last year (and some credit has to go to their guard uni designer. Giggity.) that really set a high standard for cohesive design. This year's music didn't grab me as much, but their corner entrance/fanfare moment absolutely hooked me in from the get-go. There seemed to be a huge step up in visual performance from Madison to Boston, which was pretty accurately reflected on the sheets. Boston is really starting to get an "air" about them that the upper echelon has always had. There really wasn't a weak section of this group, and thank god they've long ditched the cheese factor that plagued them circa-2002-ish. This should be an exciting group to watch over the next few years.

Blue Stars

This is a group that gets the "band-o" stigma thrown around every once in a while. Yes, the Houdini show was a little gimmicky. But rather than do nothing but design a show that revolves around gimmicks the entire time, they also had an all-around good show. I looooved that a top 12 corps FINALLY used some of the Philip Glass music from The Hours. I've been dying to see a minimalist show designed around that music for years. Such an awesome soundtrack. I thought their selections, combined with the old-school portraits up front really provided an aura of mystery that permeated a show (kind of like a Bioshock-lite, for all you other geeks like me out there). The colorguard didn't have that oh-my-god factor that they did during the Factory show, but their works was still cleverly written, and well-integrated at times. I absolutely love that the middle of the top 12 pack was able to put out shows this entertaining. The ending was one of my favorite parts, and though it wasn't the loud, in-your-face blaring that corps almost always do, it was a really, really effective moment. I went into my first viewing of this show at quarterfinals ready to hate it and write it off, but it somehow ended up being one of my favorites of the night. Awesome.

Santa Clara Vanguard

A lot of people seem to really dislike this show. Lots of note-for-note stuff. Couple charts that were famously done before. Yadda yadda yadda. Ok. I thought SCV absolutely freaking ROCKED. On the flip side, I thought last year's Ballet for Martha was a bag of ****. If you do Appalachian Spring, I will automatically loathe you. To me, this was a throwback to the ultra-innovative Vanguard years like 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003. The visual design was genius. Especially in the intro, I felt like I was watching some sort of insane 100-yard stage production rather than a drum corps. The group really has become more fearless over these last couple years in terms of approach and identity. The hornline sold the show well, which couldn't have been an easy task. This is one of those shows that I'm excited to watch on blu ray--every viewing seems to pull pack another layer of things to discover for the first time.

Phantom Regiment

The entrance was freaking amazing. I have a feeling that it's what the 2010 Regiment will always be remembered for. What a great moment. On a slight digression, if I were marching and the staff told me I was going to basically "prance" my way onto the field, I would have told them they have a new contra hole. lol But PR does quasi-ballet movement well, and though it's really, reeeeally not my favorite thing to watch, I appreciate that it's part of their visual identity. The flugel soloist really deserves some commendation on what had to have been a very bizarre personal drum corps season on the field done VERY well. I'm sure he'll rank up there with the Glassmen 01-02 flugel in the All-Time Flugel-Badassness List (that I've just now made up. Only two people on it so far. All applications will be considered.). The drumline? What more can be said other than they were absolutely sick? And although the crowd almost buried it, the final chord from the tunnel after the exit was gorgeous. PR really seemed to grow into their show over the course of the season much more than many of the other top 12 corps. It really seemed like an oh-my-god-this-could-potentially-suck feeling back in June and early July, but I'm really happy with the way the show evolved and the members really stepped up their performance. After a disappointing 2009, I think this year's show can safely put a checkmark under the good season column.

The Cadets

Ok. Somehow I haven't heard anybody else say it, so I'm going to. "It's NUDIE MAGAZINE DAY!!! Nuuuudie Maaaaaaagazine Day!!!" Little Jeffery looks like he should be drinking daiquiris and chasing invisible penguins by the pool. Maybe go up and feel the drum major's stomach and ask if it's "gonna be a soccer player?" Was this intentional?

Anyways.

The Little guy annoyed the bejesus out of me, BUT, that didn't stop me from still digging this show. Procession of the Nobles was incredible. A good symphonic approach really set the tone for this show, and the herald trumpets, while not easy to play (or tune!) sounded great. This was a strong corps that will unfortunately most likely be remembered for just one little gimmick. That aside, it was a show that was good enough to have even worked without the main character, and the Cadets should be proud of what they put on the field this year.

Carolina Crown

Crown is looking more and more like the new Star of Indiana every year, and I'm digging it. Their intro was my favorite part, by far. Subtle playing. Effective movement. Great stuff. It seemed like every time I saw this show, I caught more little hints of the Second Chance theme, particularly in the guard. This is another show that will be a blast to watch over and over again when the DVDs come out. And in terms of overall brass pedagogical approach---YES!!! My favorite sounding hornline in ages, just like last year. Whatever they're doing in Carolina, they need to keep doing it. Maybe they'll win some year soon; maybe they won't. Either way, this group really has "it" figured out now.

Bluecoats

When I heard the contra feature in the theaters, I #### near made a scene. :thumbup: I could write a 10-page review of how ******* proud I am of those 16 players, but lord knows I'm already enough of a Bluecoats homer. With that said, I'm always hardest on the ones I love. Bluecoats have been reaching for an identity for a while now. 01-05 were basically the misc. tango years with alternating happy shows on even-numbered seasons. 06-09 modernized things a bit with glimmers of a real image, but it never seemed to ultimately click. 2010's The Future is Now made a bold statement about who the Bluecoats are and who they intend to be, and I couldn't have loved it more. Can the drill design still evolve and get more effective? Sure can. Could the ending have been stronger? Yep. BUT, this was a package with so many highlights (and mid-show crowd applause moments) that none of those things really presented any immediate problems. Doug Thrower arranged a killer brass book this year that really had personality. Guard was easily Blue's best ever, and the drumline was smokin' as always. From where I was, they easily got the second best crowd reaction all night. Even the retreat block entrance got a good response! Reading this review paragraph back again, I think it's a little hard to sum up the 2010 Bluecoats into so many words, so how 'bout just six of 'em?

The Cavaliers

If I had to sum up Mad World in just one word, it would be holycrapohmygodyes. THIS is the corps that rocked DCI 2000-2004 (with '06 in for good measure). What on earth was The Great Divide again? lol Genius from top to bottom. Mike McIntosh's drumline really shone throughout, and I'm glad to see that after a shaky start, the horn book really came together at the end of the season as well. I feel like I could write a dissertation on why this show was just so #### good. Great emoting from the colorguard. The only thing I didn't like about this show was that it could only be 11-ish minutes long. How about "Madder World" in 2011? Anybody?

Blue Devils

I have always loved weird shows. Star 93. Blue Knights 02. SCV 01/10. The list goes on. BD has also had some of my favorite shows every year since 06. With that said, if I had a black ***, it's precisely what I would tell this show design to kiss. Yes, I'm familiar with the source material, and I was hoping that this would be a really cool take on merging the melodic with the dissonant. It ended up being... well... not that, even after multiple viewings. The membership should be congratulated wholeheartedly for their absolutely incredible performances. One of the best guards of all-time. GREAT hornline and drumline. This wasn't their fault. Even the big rock-out section toward the end would have normally gotten me really into the show, but given the context, it just wasn't happening. It's like farting into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes, then playing the guitar solo from "Layla." Sure, it's pretty awesome on its own, but seriously. You just farted into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes beforehand. And on that note, I'll stop talking about this show. *sigh*

So there you have it! 2010, in my opinion, was a really great year for DCI. I feel like I really got turned on to some groups this year and last that I usually am a little "meh" toward (Crown, Boston), rediscovered an old favorite (Scouts), and saw both a rise and return to greatness (Bluecoats and Cavaliers). Such a good season, and can't wait for 2011!!!

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Ok. This review really isn't all that much of-death, but just in case, here's the usual disclaimer: I marched Bluecoats. I typically love certain corps. I typically hate certain corps. I'm also a Cle

you know for those criticizing the farting into trash can comment, if you read it he wasn't saying that BD sounded like they were farting into a trash can. It was what is called an analogy. He thoug

Glassmen

There are many reasons why a corps can be in 12th place. Hell, I've been there myself. On the positive side, I really dug the percussion book, and considering Rob Ferguson helms the program, that's no surprise. At first, the snare line "headbanging" (which I know is an exaggerated term, but it's the closest I could think of) got on my nerves. It was a little distracting, to say the least. Then I really started to dig it, mostly because it was clear that the players were really digging what they were playing. Very nice drum book. This show was very competent overall. The members were clearly a cut above what 12th place meant 10 years ago. All I could think about, though, was that their designers just...forgot?...that a show should be memorable. How on earth does that happen? And no, that's not a rhetorical question. Seriously. How does that happen? Anybody know the rationale? They have some good talent. It's not like the kids would take a look at a brass/guard/drum/visual moment that would wow a crowd and mysteriously forget how to march/spin/play. There's no Glassmen bylaw that says that you need to be forgettable compared to corps like the Cavaliers and Cadets. The more I try to remember what I liked about this show (and I DID like it), the more I realize that it's only because I didn't hate it. Why was "The Prayer Cycle" nowhere near as mind-blowing as "The Age of Reverence" was in 2000? This is a good organization that's been stable for quite some time. How bout we step it up for the kids in 2011, shall we? I would love to see the Glassmen surge up and be more competitive like they were in years past.

Good review. I agree with everything you said about Glassmen. I was hoping that Glassmen were ready to take a big jump with Pete Weber writing the drill and designing the program. I loved what he did with SCV. Glassmen seemed like an afterthought.

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It's like farting into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes, then playing the guitar solo from "Layla." Sure, it's pretty awesome on its own, but seriously. You just farted into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes beforehand.

:sad::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I HAD been searching for the right words all summer............

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Best review of the season, hands down.

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Stellar review! Well said on so many corps. And you nailed what I hadn't been able to put my finger on with Blue Devils perfectly. Nice job!

Harvey

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It's like farting into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes, then playing the guitar solo from "Layla." Sure, it's pretty awesome on its own, but seriously. You just farted into a metal trash can for 9 and a half minutes beforehand.

This is quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever read.

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' ... farting in a trash can ...' Brilliant! While their show was not my favorite, they really did play it with conviction. I just hope this kind of show doesn't become 'the new normal' for the activity.

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