DCI Southwest Championship - San Antonio, TX

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DCI Southwest Championship

San Antonio

We're on our way back to the Sooner State after a great San Antonio show. I should preface this review by saying we skipped the first block of groups having spent too much time on the Riverwalk. So with that said, we arrived at 5:00, checked out the souvie booths, and slowly made our way to the 6th row up on the side 1 40 yard line...

Oregon Crusaders

What a show to start off with! Great low brass sound right out of the gate. OC spreads the field well and their theme comes across extremely well. The ballad, oh the ballad. I've read some comments that OC's take on The Hymn of Axciom is better than Bluecoats'. Well I may be in the minority, but I felt OC chops it up a bit more. Making it a little disjointed. But with that said, it's hard to mess up that beautiful piece of music. Visually they were pretty dirty and the contra soli before the drum break felt messy as well. Get to cleaning and this could push maybe as high as 14th.


This show needs to be seen in person! I was pretty meh on it most of this season despite my love of Pink Floyd, Wizard of Oz and Radiohead. The narration was (and still is) a bit much, but the scarecrow is a treat to watch. Shrugging off his minions, rejecting high fives with the solo drummer, and the added straw coming out of the seams of his suit add volumes to the production. Visually the MM uniforms work well with the black and white front and back transitions. Was a bit surprised to see them fall behind Spirit based on the FN viewings of SoA recently.


Really love this show. The narration to begin the show is a great way to introduce the corps. First solid Wall of Sound moments of the night. The only real problem I have with the show is it loses tremendous momentum in the middle. America The beautiful makes up for it in the end though. Goosebumps. I just think it's going to be tough to break into this top 12 yet again this year.

Spirit of Atlanta

Sadly I missed this performance. Needed a bathroom break badly and SoA were the ones to miss out. I will watch first, along with the first block of corps as soon as I step foot in my house. I promise.


Talk about a home crowd! Some staff were playing the cheerleader role down front which was entertaining. And Bones! Well you knew he would show up. And it was just as awesome as ever on that opening brass impact. This show has been a grower for me all year. Maybe because it reminds me so much of the summer I marched. We (Bluecoats) played Caravan and Madison (our rivals that summer) played Carmen. And this show has both. Plus a great hornline and great drill to boot! They seemed to feed off the crowd in a huge way.

Blue Stars

Oh how I love the fun Blue Stars seem to have with their shows! The MM's dance in their moving outfits was a highlight as was the drill moving through the house floorplan. Glad they changed those dark gray/black props for the brighter blue! I enjoy this show much more than last year's but it still needs some polishing. I feel the field is a little cluttered, but then that's kind of the point with moving into a house I guess. The singing towards the end is a great highlight. Seemed a little soft, hopefully they can crank those vocal chords up a notch. Then again, maybe it was where I was seated.

Madison Scouts

I had a lot more fun with this show than I have in recent Scouts history! I felt a little in the minority for the first time in recent memory regarding the crowd reaction. The trombone ballad is beautiful and even though the rolling prop seems a little clunky, the musical selections seem to blend well and I personally love the soft ending. The whole show feels like the Scouts are breaking away from their current mold, and while some may hate this, I personally enjoy it immensely. Regarding their placement though, 11th seemed about right. Definitely still ahead of Crossmen. Those trumpet soloists alone will keep them in the top 12!

Phantom Regiment

Oh Phantom, how much I will always love you. Even when you spend the majority of a show titled "Swan Lake" without hardly playing said music. I can't help but show my disappointment for the production, but this was the first "hello Brass!!!" moment of the night for me. They are really starting to gel. I just feel the production is completely disjointed. Don't really like the uniforms or change. The whole thing looks and sounds confusing. But the tug of dark versus light is starting to make more sense. So there's that.

Boston Crusaders

This was another show that's coming together nicely. Hornline sounds fantastic live. But jeez that visual dirt. Granted the MMs are marching their butts off. This whole show seems like a giant middle finger to DCI. From the fast drill, to the guard unis, to the hammer and sickle and brilliant G7 set, this show flies against convention. But sometimes I feel the design is just odd to be odd. Maybe I need to research more, but I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the concepts presented. And still that dark, augmented Conquest is just awesome.

Blue Knights

I will now reiterate what many others have been saying on DCP. This is the most emotional show since Phantom's "Into the Light." I couldn't really find anything I disliked about this show. The ballad around "my grandmothers hands and the way they felt like paper" is just beautiful. And that rich low brass sound had me in goosebump city. This show really did feel close to knocking off phantom. I won't call it yet, but don't be surprised.

Santa Clara Vanguard

WOW. I mean WOW. I was so shocked at how good they sounded. If you haven't seen this show live. You have to sit only a few rows up just to get the impact of those trombones during the opening hit and again towards the end. I'm definitely one that hated the idea of redoing Scheherazade so soon. That show is a classic and while this isn't there yet, it definitely carves it's own unique path. I love the colors and uniforms throughout. And those pillowboxes are great at splitting the field up in interesting ways.


I've watched bootlegs before the season and viewed this thing on the FN so many times I can't count. So of course I was excited and nervous to see what would happen last night. Yes the synth pitch sound is back and louder than ever. But the staging of the props is what took my breath away. For the first time since 2010 or maybe ever, Bloo feels like they belong in the medals. I've seen BD dominate DCI in the use of props, but Bloo are definitely challenging in that respect. Hornline sounded super tight and clean. Didn't really have any complaints.

The Cavaliers

It hurt to have the show sandwiched where it was, but this is easily the Cavies' best show since 2011. The marimbas are so fun to see live and that baritone solo in the ballad is absolutely gorgeous. Their drill in the closer is probably the most fun of the year. Count me back in on the bandwagon.

Carolina Crown

Yeah yeah yeah. Hornline hornline hornline. What else can you say at this point? They play runs that sound almost impossible at times and they still may be the front runners in the brass department. But they did seem to tear at times. I love how spread out they are, but the dome seemed to cause some phasing problems. I still don't really like some of the transitions. And the tramps are still pretty meh in my opinion. I hope they can iron out some of the production design because it just may be too hard to climb the mountain of competition that is 2014.

Blue Devils

Best of the night. Wrap it up. This is your champ. All in my humble opinion of course, this show may be unbeatable. I love Fellini films and BD does a good job of hitting many themes and moments from his films. The ballad is just gorgeous. Their sops are playing at an unreal level. I could definitely see them getting brass back this year. And visually what can you say? These guys are super clean. So much going on I felt like a kid in a candy store. I'm not much of a colorguard guy, but BD forces you to look for them throughout. Just a fantastic performance all around.

The Cadets

My wife's favorite corps. Personally I would put them right there with Bloo last night but right now The Cadets are still in hot pursuit of BD. The music is just stellar and the entire production feels reverent and urgent. These guys just know how to perform with deep reflection and emotion. I liked the colorguard/cumberbun changes but I wish the colors were different. I like the light blue and ending with the bright yellow. But the middle change just seemed like a dirty yellow. It almost seemed like the change for JFK didn't happen.

Awesome night. Awesome show. Enjoyed it immensely. Now to review on the Fan network if possible. Seemed like the same issues continued. On to the Mustang show this Tuesday!

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Thanks for the review!

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great review!

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