Calvalcade of Brass, Lisle Illinois July 6th, 2014


Recommended Posts

Quick review of a great night of Drum Corps here in Illinois. First, severe thunderstorms were supposed to roll in and ruin everything, but instead the sun came out and it was a perfect night!

Racine Scouts were up first. Small group but big heart! I think this was maybe only their 2nd or 3rd show this season and they had some jitters. Some tentative brass as the show got into the latter half of the show but overall a nice showing. Guard had some issues with drops but I am sure the wind had a lot to do with that as it affected pretty much every corps tonight! Always great to see a young group enjoying themselves and giving it everything on the field. Special props to the baritone soloist who had some chops :)

The Troopers came next and the opening hit was nice and powerful. Had some issues with the prop screens lining the front sidelines on Side 1. They pretty much all fell over, but it didn't seem to bother anyone too much. Again, screen props were blowing all over the place all night, so it wasn't just the troopers that were getting it ;) Guard wore really striking yellow dresses that matched the corps proper and had some nice moments. Percussion played with confidence as well, but the brass sound was what stood out. Lots of big impact points. Seemed to get a little tired towards the end of the show, but nothing that a week or two worth of reps won't fix. Overall a very nice show, but lacking a little in depth IMO.

Blue Stars were on after Troopers, and they opened with The Chairman Dances, one of my favorite pieces. Was a little too chopped up for my liking personally, but had some relatively difficult exposed parts all over the hornline that were nice. Hornline and percussion were way more controlled and polished than Troopers. Definitely a step up in content and difficulty as well. French horn in the duet was barely able to be heard despite being mic'd and didn't really do anything for me unfortunately. The whole corps started in blue jumpsuits covering their uniforms like a moving company and at some point mid show, sections began removing them to expose the corps unis. Very cool moments when small groups would be in their uniforms and others were in the blue jumpsuits.Neat contrast. Also they get my vote for most ingenious props...lots of carts and dollies...not hard to pack up your props when they are moving equipment :) Color guard had a GREAT show and was probably the biggest standout.

The Madison Scouts were up next and they were light on props but big on hornline moments. Percussion was pretty clean and have a fairly demanding book. The trombone feature was not as offensive as I thought it would be going in (my primary instrument is trombone, so I can say that :P). Not really digging the arrangement of the opener (Fanfare for the New). It gets a little square in parts and kind of meanders. Back half of the show shines with some strong brass work and a trio of trumpet players that can bring it. Not 100% sold on the down ending, but the trumpet player that closes it out is a beast. Guard had a rough night and they seem to have some issues that need to be worked out in the coming weeks.

Short intermission and then Phantom Regiment was up with Swan Lake, though you would be hard pressed to indentify it except for the closer. Hornline was pretty good though the book seems like it might not have enough meat in it to go much further. What was there was played pretty well however. Uniform change was kind of ruined due to the screens blocking the transition being blown over but was a decent effect. There is a portion of the show where some members of the guard are covered with big black tubes held by horn members that seems to go on for wayyyy too long, totally ruining any effect it would have had. Overall a nice show, but I don't think they have the vehicle to hold off the pack and unless they get going on the rewrites and additions I think they will end up on the lower middle of the pack come finals night.

Next up was the Blue Devils, and while I'm a bit of a homer, I have to say it was a massive step up in performance level and content. The opening trumpet feature is super impressive and when the full corps comes in for the first big hit you can tell they came to play. All sections are super strong and the show flows naturally, with almost no noticeable breaks or transitions. The Gordon Goodwin piece is straight ahead big band jazz with lots of meaty baritone parts (which I love). Percussion has a serious book that should be in contention for the trophy come August. Color Guard is typical Blue Devils. Tons of exposed work with lots of different styles and effects. What is being asked of the individual performer is huge. Guard highlights were the huge rifle tosses from atop a ladder to waiting members a good 15-20 yards away (two drops on that tonight which seemed to be due to the wind blowing them off course) which elicited a lot of oohs and ahhs from the crowd and the tambourine segment. The ending is the only part that I feel needs a bit of a change. Not that it isn't satisfying, but it just reads like a placeholder until something better comes along (which I expect will). Easily thought BD were 4-5 points ahead of anyone up to this point.

Last was hometown favorites, The Cavaliers. BIG step up from last couple of seasons! The Immortal theme comes across well and the hornline came to play. They were on the loud end of the spectrum for Cavies (but there were a few moments of some individuals sticking out of the ensemble, especially in the low brass, and 1 pretty bad release that marred a pretty good night for the hornline). Favorite part of the show was Danse Macabre which is just awesomely arranged. The on field pit tears it up with some insane mallet work! Another super cool moment is when the guard pulls long black silks from the chest of the hornline, which I assume is symbolic of pulling their souls from their bodies. Really cool effect! Percussion was a little off tonight in the battery I felt (though to be fair I'm really a horn guy) but nothing major that can't be cleaned up. If they can get the hornline a little more under control and polish for the next few weeks they are within striking distance of 4th-5th (I just don't see them getting into medal contention, but you never know!) but they are gonna have to fight for it. Great to see them back on track!

Overall, great night of drum corps and can't wait till next sunday for the Tour of Champions show!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review! Thx!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! Really sounds like we should prepare ourselves for BD to at least 1-point the other potential medalers, lol :huh2:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review!! Thanks for posting. I can't wait to see the Blue Devils. Typically my jaw drops for 2 primary reasons witht that corps: 1) brass, percussion, and guard performance; and 2) their marching technique (legs).

It's funny, but often I hear people speak about Devils in terms of show design (can it win, do they have it?), that sort of thing. I know people haven't always liked their show designs of the past few years, but if you want to know why they win, just look at all the performance captions. Look at their marching technique, which in my mind has been the best in DCI since 2009 (of the more recent years, not going back too far). Listen to their control. Their shows are always so organically designed around their talent. Even when I don't care for their design or the overall GE of their shows, I am often blown away by performance. So I never come away empty!! When they are "ON" their game, it's a sight to behold.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review!! Thanks for posting. I can't wait to see the Blue Devils. Typically my jaw drops for 2 primary reasons witht that corps: 1) brass, percussion, and guard performance; and 2) their marching technique (legs).

It's funny, but often I hear people speak about Devils in terms of show design (can it win, do they have it?), that sort of thing. I know people haven't always liked their show designs of the past few years, but if you want to know why they win, just look at all the performance captions. Look at their marching technique, which in my mind has been the best in DCI since 2009 (of the more recent years, not going back too far). Listen to their control. Their shows are always so organically designed around their talent. Even when I don't care for their design or the overall GE of their shows, I am often blown away by performance. So I never come away empty!! When they are "ON" their game, it's a sight to behold.

They're definitely visual machines. Their brass and percussion are not always gold (in recent years), but are usually close -- close enough to ensure a win most of the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What was expected as a nasty weather night turned out to be bad winds only. 6PM start appreciated on a Sunday night.

The Classic Cavaliers (14-16 horns) handsomely entertained on the concourse with several great brass-only numbers before the contest.

The Banner was sung with good pitch by a female vocalist.

Chrome domes Racine Scouts opened the evening. Good arrangement of "Always Chasing Rainbows."

The Troopers had perfect timing with their introductory narrated announcement ... and this is not an exact quote .... but something about "knocking down the house" ... and right on cue, several front panels toppled over in the fierce wind. Fun pinwheels on the 50. This show has beautiful drill, and will be appreciated more from higher seats in big venues. Lincoln's portrait is difficult to make out in small stadiums. The flag movements are wonderful throughout this program.

The flags in the Blue Stars Moving Day show reminded me of old bedsheets from Zayre. Or Ayr-Way. Or Woolco. Or grandma's third string linens.

Hooted over the rifle tosses above the futon-couch-sofa-davenport. The guard nailed several well-timed tosses. There is a bit of Salvation Army furniture in this show. The front panels also toppled over in the wind, so it was amazing to see how lickety-split fast the blue movers garb came off, and the usual uniform appeared.

There are times when Madison's dizzying drill is thrilling to watch. When the guard's psychedelic colors appear, this is a great contrast against the horn's white uniforms. This is not an emotional Madison show as is years past, but the groovy music is a thrill to hear.

One of the best things about Lisle is the concession's beer. Tall, cold beer.

Bought a XL Blue Devils Rite of Spring t-shirt for $5.

At the start of Phantom Regiment, about 5 staff helped corral the flapping front black panels.

Then the Blue Devils put on a guard clinic, WOW! Must see this show again. Lots to enjoy.

The Cavaliers haunting music is ideal for their immortal theme. Sinister flag work. A few brass splats during the ending.

* * * *

Excellent stadium PA announcer from local ABC channel 7 news. Later, on the 10PM Sunday night Chicago newscast, a short montage played at the tail end of the broadcast of Phantom Regiment, Blue Devils, and Madison.

Edited by DeanInChicago
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.