ayesha3

Corps at the Crest, Walnut - 6/30

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Old Schooler here with a brief review of the Walnut Show (Top 3 Corps). Warning: this review will upset some folks.....

For this reviewer, it was fitting in this 40th anniversary year of DCI for the top 3 corps this evening to be the perennial competitors for the top 3 spots when I started following this activity in 1978.

SCV - Best show I've seen from them in over a decade. Why, you might ask? Well, let me count the ways: 1) Great show concept, using Holst's The Planets. This speaks to those of us who fondly recall the corps' 1980 show, as well as many of us who attempted these selections in High School concert band. It's a perfect old school Vanguard show, at least musically. 2) Awesome horns. Most powerful Bb horn sound I've ever heard from the corps since the poor G bugle was kicked to the curb years ago. Not only loud at the punches, but loud and balanced through sustained notes. Awesome (for Bb). 3) The Drumline. Thank God the tilted snares are gone. The line throws down some very innovative beats and isn't afraid of nailing old-school duplex rolls as opposed to the more modern triplet rolls typically associated with today's higher tempos. Very solid drumline, with clean, well-exposed features for each section of the battery. The tenor line is solid! It's also nice to see a pit that isn't over-amplified to the point of distraction. 4) The drill. Watching a corps of this caliber without the field littered with crap and wheeled contraptions is a treat. The drill pictures and sets were great and worked well with the theme of the show. 5) The uniforms. Best SCV uniform yet in the Cesario era of modern uniforms. They actually LOOKED like the Vanguard for a change. Now, about those guard unis..... Several standing O's, and a big Standing O before the final notes of the show. My favorite show of the night.

Phantom Regiment - This is the show that I was really looking forward to this year. Beautiful music. What else can you say about Turandot? It's the perfect vehicle and will serve them well as the season progresses. What Phantom needs is more field exposure for their drumline. Some of their best "Marty Hurly" moments are lost as the drumline is parked behind the horn block. The horn line was the biggest disappointment for me. Way less power than the two California corps (BD and SCV). If they can up the dB level, they'll continue to grow into this show. For me, their Colorguard was the best of all. Thankfully, the Phantom Regiment has, over all these years, resisted current trends and continues with their all-female guard. It makes a huge difference and adds to their uniqueness. They work well as a unit, and thankfully aren't preening as individuals out there. Phantom will be OK. This show will continue to improve as the horns improve.

Blue Devils - Where do I start? So much individual talent........ First of all, their horn sound is huge. Like, SCV, this may be one of their best post-G Bugle horn lines ever. Now onto the show concept.....ummm....whatever. Let's start with the recorded narration that runs throughout the show: It's extremely distracting and nauseating. It takes away from the music that is happening on the field. Why would you cover up all that talent on the field with some pre-recorded garbage? The last thing I want at a drum corps show, is to be lectured, in French, about some artform. If I have to have it explained to me, while its happening, then the art isn't speaking for itself. Then there are the now-standard Blue Devil contraptions that litter the field. This year, it's hobby horse uniform racks. While other corps take parts of their uniforms OFF throughout the show, the Blue Devils put their uniforms ON during the show ("oooh, see how DIFFERENT we are?")Different, but is it better? The Blue Devils' soloists are first rate, but why must they play into a mic? Seriously? a mic? They don't need it, and it just ruins their sound. Also distracting is watching the drumset player in the pit playing the ride cymbal and then hearing the sound coming out of a speaker 25 yards away. Weird, and unnecessary. If you need more ride cymbal, then put it where it belongs; on the field with a cymbal line holding for the snare drums..... and this takes me to my biggest pet peeve; Why, of all corps, do the Blue Devils continue to write drum books without the snare line playing on ride cymbals? Maybe a cymbal line would get in the way of all the individual snare posing and soloing that goes on during the show. It's too bad, because their talent level is second to none, but it doesn't always come through in this show. I'd like to see some innovation in a marching cymbal line that holds for the ocassional ride pattern for the snares, and the Blue Devils should be the ones to do it. The squatting and pivoting in the snare line is getting old. They were the first to do it...many years ago now. Courtesy standing O after the final note, mostly in appreciation of the obvious talent and hard work the kids have put in.

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I read these posts with interest as , wasn't the idea of the new sheets to take into account how the show "connects" with the fans, or am I wrong? I'd have to say from my understanding of the sheets and most of the comments associated with BD is that, they don't connect with the fans as well as others, yet, they win GE! How can this be?

I think we all know the answer to that. The "community" believes that anything they (BD) does is the bees knees. Personally, I don't care how well you perform a turd, its still a turd. To clarify, I am not commenting specifically about any corps in particular with that last comment. If the Regiment put a turd out there ('09) I'd feel the same way. (Though, musically, it grew on me).

RM

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Blue Devils - Where do I start? So much individual talent........ First of all, their horn sound is huge. Like, SCV, this may be one of their best post-G Bugle horn lines ever. Now onto the show concept.....ummm....whatever. Let's start with the recorded narration that runs throughout the show: It's extremely distracting and nauseating. It takes away from the music that is happening on the field. Why would you cover up all that talent on the field with some pre-recorded garbage? The last thing I want at a drum corps show, is to be lectured, in French, about some artform. If I have to have it explained to me, while its happening, then the art isn't speaking for itself. Then there are the now-standard Blue Devil contraptions that litter the field. This year, it's hobby horse uniform racks. While other corps take parts of their uniforms OFF throughout the show, the Blue Devils put their uniforms ON during the show ("oooh, see how DIFFERENT we are?")Different, but is it better? The Blue Devils' soloists are first rate, but why must they play into a mic? Seriously? a mic? They don't need it, and it just ruins their sound. Also distracting is watching the drumset player in the pit playing the ride cymbal and then hearing the sound coming out of a speaker 25 yards away. Weird, and unnecessary. If you need more ride cymbal, then put it where it belongs; on the field with a cymbal line holding for the snare drums..... and this takes me to my biggest pet peeve; Why, of all corps, do the Blue Devils continue to write drum books without the snare line playing on ride cymbals? Maybe a cymbal line would get in the way of all the individual snare posing and soloing that goes on during the show. It's too bad, because their talent level is second to none, but it doesn't always come through in this show. I'd like to see some innovation in a marching cymbal line that holds for the ocassional ride pattern for the snares, and the Blue Devils should be the ones to do it. The squatting and pivoting in the snare line is getting old. They were the first to do it...many years ago now. Courtesy standing O after the final note, mostly in appreciation of the obvious talent and hard work the kids have put in.

I agree. I have watched this show several times and seem to walk away from it more frustrated each time. The concept is so far removed I need to go to Wikipedia to grasp any sort of connection - the gold bathing caps, the white sheet, the hula hoops, the horses... I would be more forgiving if it were at least accessible - but there are constant moments of random drum corps that irk me at each instance where I think I am finally going to get some sort of ensemble pay off. I too can applaud the individual achievements of the members, but am at a complete loss to the huge gaping chasm in scores as they continue to pull further ahead of the pack. Truly lost on me - and I am trying like hell to cut them a break. No entertainment value or engagement on my end. Comments welcome...

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I read these posts with interest as , wasn't the idea of the new sheets to take into account how the show "connects" with the fans, or am I wrong? I'd have to say from my understanding of the sheets and most of the comments associated with BD is that, they don't connect with the fans as well as others, yet, they win GE! How can this be?

I think we all know the answer to that. The "community" believes that anything they (BD) does is the bees knees. Personally, I don't care how well you perform a turd, its still a turd. To clarify, I am not commenting specifically about any corps in particular with that last comment. If the Regiment put a turd out there ('09) I'd feel the same way. (Though, musically, it grew on me).

RM

no matter how the sheets are juggled around ....entertainment or connection etc etc....will always be a subjective issue...just like the ENTIRE activity....and you cant just go by applause..if you did it would be a hot mess of corps every night. ( kinda like the old days )

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The concept is so far removed I need to go to Wikipedia to grasp any sort of connection

But now that you've read up on DaDa at Wikipedia, and therefore grasp the concept, does the show make more of a connection when you watch it again?

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BD know what they're doing- they do stuff so "out there" are far removed from the traditional show that judges can do nothing but to give them high scores. It's really brilliant when you think about it

Edited by Cavies92FTW
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Blue Devils [...]The last thing I want at a drum corps show, is to be lectured, in French

Well, to be fair, only some of it is French. There's also German lecturing and English lecturing.

It may be significant that the voice in English is questioning the value of DaDa at the same time the corps is donning their jackets. But what that significance is I could not say!

(I don't mind this prerecorded narration too much, since it's relatively brief and used mainly at transition points. But BD has too much synth and ampflication for my taste, and visually, I find this absurdity much less engaging than their 2008 show, which I consider a masterpiece.)

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But now that you've read up on DaDa at Wikipedia, and therefore grasp the concept, does the show make more of a connection when you watch it again?

In all actuality no :) It talks about rejecting the art of aesthetics; or the gut reaction that somethings brings inherently. It is meant to offend. It talks about chaos and irrationality. The show certainly hits all those bases - which makes sense from an intellectual standpoint. But that does not mean alienating an audience at the expense of pushing boundaries.

I guess I would equate it to crossing over from one art form to another. We have all seen a movie where it made better sense just to leave it as a Pulitzer winning novel - or a fabulous film that just should not have been made into a Broadway musical. On one hand, you want to applaud the effort, but that still does not make it necessarily valid. In this case it refers to an intellectual and political art form that does not transfer into the marching world of drum & bugle corps. Again - this is only my opinion, but seems to be resounding with more than a few others.

Edited by joeybabay
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