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Akron Cinecast Review

Let’s start off with some disclaimers. I’m a guard person, and I’m much more active in the winter than in the summer. I have no musical training, so I can’t comment much on brass or percussion. I mostly watched the color guard and overall visual effect. With that out of the way, here we go.

Cavaliers: I just could not get into this show because of the cheesiness factor. My guess is this show looks and feels much different under the lights, because during the day it felt comical and forced from the guard. The guard characterization was not right for me – I know that’s what they were given, but as an overall concept I think it was wrong. Also, didn’t Crossmen do this a few years back? Positively, the marimba feature is awesome. I enjoyed the drill; lots of visual impact and some clean moments from a guard perspective. The guard relies heavily on the 8 weapon boys – kind of obvious that there are some flag members that are struggling. Cavies have a high upside with their visual, but there needs to be a more mature vibe from the color guard.

Scouts: The commentators nailed it at the end of the performance: what was the significance of the actor who walks from one corner to the other corner, does a tumbling routine, and then show’s over? I know this characterization will be added in, but they’ve created so many moments around him that to not explain him or his role was criminal. They even had a show designer talking about the show who made no mention of it. I like the progression from black and white to psychedelic. The guard has a lot to clean and clarify, but I was underwhelmed by vocabulary and impact. Another reviewer said there weren’t a lot of impact moments, and I agree. What’s memorable about this show? Corps proper uniforms weren’t impressive, but the guard looked good. Overall, I would have put them last tonight.

Boston: Okay, I liked this show, and I’m trying to separate bias. Michael Lentz show design is all over this production, and it’s obviously something new to DCI, let alone Boston. The corps struggled through their first performance. The visual demand is sky-high, and achievement is way behind. BAC has so much work ahead of them to clean up visually. That said, I love the moments. I am familiar with Lentz’s style in the winter, and it’s clear they went visual first (as opposed to Bluecoats/Scouts music first). The guard personifies the show, and I thought they struggled to meet a high-demand show. Weapons probably had the most drops of all corps. The last minute or two of work still needs to be filled in. But again, I like this show. I didn’t need a storyline, and clearly they know where their moments are. I thought they should have been closer to Cavies, but obviously a lot of dirt to be cleaned and filled in. I am looking forward to seeing where this show is at the end of July.

Phantom: Totally opposite from Boston in terms of readability and cleanliness. This is probably my favorite PR production in sometime. Clear storyline that’s not totally hokey. PR’s guard puts a lot of emphasis on clean, readable work; although to me it looked like harder work than last year. They need to work on some of the transition stuff, especially uniform changes because it was just way too forced instead of an impactful change. The music was very enjoyable, and complimented the visual. PR has a history of adding onto their visual over the summer, so I look forward to the additions. As it stands now, they just look safe. Solidly middle of the finalist pack, and only ahead because of clarity. Very similar to last year, and I could see them getting passed by a corps or three. The white guard costumes were correct, but not totally flattering to the girls. Characterization was spot on – they expressed themselves wonderfully and believably. My favorite moment might have been the wing-flapping free arms under a toss. I’m not sure what more beef can be added to this show, so it will really be up to other corps to see if they can catch up to PR’s polished show.

Cadets: I saw their run-through they posted as a live feed, so I spent a lot of time watching my friend who was featured in a lot of parts. Great overall show, and felt more traditional than the corps around them. Music was great as I love Copland. Guard was performing at a high level. I am wondering about the costume changes and hoping that adds more to the visual program. I don’t really like the blue costumes – they don’t seem to be the right shade to evoke Americana and lore. My other big criticism was the long phrases of ensemble work. I wanted to see something a little more interesting instead of the whole guard spinning the same work. That style is great for an effect, but after a while loses its luster. I see why the corps is winning; there is not a down section of the show. But I do struggle to come up with a memorable or signature moment besides the ending, which is mostly memorable for being a big musical hit. I could see this show leveling off and falling out of a medal.

Crown: This was a hard show for me to consider. At times, the show was championship caliber – pushing boundaries, creating amazing visual impact, and interesting and entertaining music. But, there were also moments of nothing – no impact, no emotion, and using props/equipment just to be using props/equipment. And so I am not sure if I like this show or not. I don’t think the trampolines add much – there wasn’t anything super cool being done with them. I liked the Frisbees, but did not like the hoops the guard danced with. I hated the guard costumes – looked very high school and not like mature performers (exception: the face mask was interesting). If Crown can resolve the dead portions of their show and eliminate some of the cheesiness I would be much more on board. A lot of high achievement from the guard, but the costumes made them look young. I had similar feelings about the corps proper uniforms – I think it makes the corps look short (or maybe it was a bad camera angle). There’s a lot to play around with in this show, so I am looking forward to seeing where the show evolves.

Bluecoats: Another show where I spent a lot of time looking for my friend in the guard. As an aside, I have no idea how the DCI judges stay focused for the whole show. There’s a lot of tenacity there. Back to Bloo, this show was great, but still a step behind Crown/Cadets. The problem with moving up in the rankings is you have to knock someone out, and I’m not sure if they can dislodge Crown/Cadets/BD for a medalist spot. The programming was great – I really enjoy the concept of tilt with the props and the altered field. One example – when the guard spins around the perimeter, it’s a great effect as opposed to when Madison did it which looked thin and too spread out. I appreciate a lot of the nuance, but I think they need to dial it up to take a crack at the corps above them. I love where the show is going so I hope they can pull it off.

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Thanks for the review! I'm not a guard person at all, so it's interesting to hear how your visual take in many ways completely differs from my musical one... :tounge2:

Mike

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The show was great. Everybody still has stuff to work on, some (BAC) much more than others, BUT it's hell to have your very first performance be broadcast. Not sure why they chose that date for cinecast, but, being a media veteran, i know how things work (not). The theatre in Knoxville was very full. I was pleasantly surprised at the attendance. The announcers though, were more than amusing, especially after Boson. Their comments were ludicrous and at best, ill-informed. To say "they have a long way to go" or whatever was a disservice to the process of DCI. It was if they didn't have any personal experience with DCI. Plus, the audio for their voices was too low; the music swamped them. They also had the BAC guy talk OVER most of the intro, which is poor post-production. I think they drink too much before going on air.

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Actually Boston's director before the show said something about it having "so much room for growth", which probably helped put that idea in the announcers' minds after they saw the performance.

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Thanks for the review! I'm not a guard person at all, so it's interesting to hear how your visual take in many ways completely differs from my musical one... :tounge2:

Mike

what he said ^

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Their comments were ludicrous and at best, ill-informed. To say "they have a long way to go" or whatever was a disservice to the process of DCI.

Of the groups that performed, they DO have the furthest to go. They were by far the sloppiest group that performed. Visual mess everywhere, especially from the guard. So I don't think it's that ludicrous of a statement. While the rest that were there will spend most of the summer refining and polishing, Boston is going to spend most of their time cleaning up what they have and then refining, they have a long way to go.

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Love that this was a guard focused review - we don't have a lot of those!

I didn't know Michael Lentz was doing Boston - that helps explain alot - I really do like the show though and hope they can master it!

I'm loving Bluecoats - but not sure that the guard is contributing enough at this point. If they weren't in orange I'm not sure I would have noticed them as much. Little things like the "V" poles just don't seem to add visually. I'm hoping they continue to add "colour" as this show could go really far!

Totally agree on the Cadets blue costume - not sure it was the best choice.

later,

Mike

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Of the groups that performed, they DO have the furthest to go. They were by far the sloppiest group that performed. Visual mess everywhere, especially from the guard. So I don't think it's that ludicrous of a statement. While the rest that were there will spend most of the summer refining and polishing, Boston is going to spend most of their time cleaning up what they have and then refining, they have a long way to go.

I bet your kids really like you a lot, especially with all that encouragement.

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