DCI 2015 Tour Premiere Review (Cinecast)


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This was an exciting start to the 2015 season. I left the theater in absolute awe.

In order of performance:


Madison Scouts

"78th and Madison" - 5th Place (61.500)

The Madison Scouts made for a fun beginning to 2015. From the uniform to the show concept itself, this is a Madison Scouts that I have missed terribly. Overall, "78th and Madison" was a very enjoyable production. There isn't much else to say other than that. Top to bottom, just an absolute delight.

One question, however: In the booth, Steve and Dennis talked to one of the Scouts' designers, and they said the title was in part a reference to the fact that this was the corps' 78th year. But, if my math is right, this makes year 77 for them, not 78. Am I going crazy?


Blue Stars

"Side Show" - 6th Place (60.950)

First off, I was DELIGHTED to see that the Blue Stars decided to go with the red plumes again. It's actually a very nice look for them.

This show took us to a depression-era traveling carnival. And there's a certain level of whimsy involved that makes the show a lot of fun. They had a rather impressive juggler, some palm reading, sword swallowers, and that thing where you hit the hammer on the other thing and ring the bell (you know what I'm talking about).

The music had Saucedo written all over it. This is usually a good thing, but his twist on "Entrance of the Gladiators" felt, to me, to be very awkwardly paced, and almost sounded like something else, but sounded enough like the Fucik piece to annoy me. On the other hand, there was a very fresh and interesting take on "Send in the Clowns."

I'm not sure if I love this one yet. I'll have to see it a few more times, but there's definitely something there. Overall, a good showing from the Blue Stars.


Carolina Crown

"Inferno" - 3rd Place (68.100)

Carolina Crown......WOW. Crown, as we now know, can do the whole "dark" thing. And they do it VERY well. After the massive banner that read "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," the music was just unrelenting. Crown was absolutely on fire (pun intended).

"Inferno" is definitely a departure from what Carolina Crown typically does. Crown's shows typically have a brighter, happier vibe to them, and this one most certainly does not, at least not until the very end.

Of course, that Carolina Crown hornline didn't disappoint. I think they've easily got a shot at the Top 3 this year.


The Cavaliers

"Game On" - 4th Place (63.100)

The Cavaliers, I'm sorry to say, kind of disappointed me tonight. "Game On" definitely has its moments, but there doesn't seem to be one cohesive show here. They're going to need to do a lot of fine-tuning.

The trombone quartet seems VERY out of place. I don't care for the new brass instruments, especially when they just don't seem like they belong. I really don't see how the trombones really add anything of consequence here.

On a positive note, their brass sounded fantastic. Overall, I think The Cavaliers ended up right where they should have. I'll be interested to see what they do with this show.


The Cadets

"The Power of 10" - 1st Place (69.850)

It didn't surprise me that The Cadets won tonight. They're typically pretty strong early in the season, and they were remarkably clean for their first show. I'm a man who loves his Shostakovich, so I enjoyed a good chunk of this show.

One of the more intriguing parts of this show was during the ballad, where the corps was confined to just a 10 yard segment of the field. They used this limited space very ingeniously, and there was never a dull moment, visually.

As someone who despises the "All Standard Brass" rule that went into effect last year, I have to say The Cadets' French Horn feature was rather incredible. I'm still not totally sold on it, but I've finally seen it used to create an interesting, new effect.

Overall, a pretty solid Cadets show. I wouldn't say it'll be a winner by championships, but it'll certainly be a contender for a medal.


Bluecoats

"Kinetic Noise" - 2nd Place (68.250)

This show was INCREDIBLE. I was worried they wouldn't be able to follow "Tilt," but they did. Folks, if you thought "Tilt" was cool, you MUST see this show. I don't think we've ever seen anything remotely close to this in the history of the activity.

The way the corps manipulates sound in this production is staggering. I don't know how the designers had the vision to do what they did with it all. And I can't begin to fathom how they flowed it together with the music so organically. It was the most unbelievable thing I've ever heard in drum corps.

Visually, the Bluecoats make use of some bizarre props. They're essentially big chrome balls that kind of resemble atoms. When I saw them rolling onto the field, I was skeptical. But they use them brilliantly.

The music was a wild ride, and the ballad was gorgeous. And at the end, after melting our faces with a big, massive brass hit, the entire sound dissipates into white noise, leaving me in complete awe, and then stricken with depression that the show was over.

If there's any justice, the Bluecoats will win this year.


And, just for kicks, here's how I would have placed everybody:

1. Bluecoats

2. Carolina Crown

3. The Cadets

4. The Cavaliers

5. Madison Scouts

6. Blue Stars

Edited by losnickes
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Great and thorough review thanks much! To your question about Madison's show title, yeah, 77 years in terms

of straight math....but 78 seasons performing. :)

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The Cavaliers

"Game On" - 4th Place (63.100)

The Cavaliers, I'm sorry to say, kind of disappointed me tonight. "Game On" definitely has its moments, but there doesn't seem to be one cohesive show here. They're going to need to do a lot of fine-tuning.

The trombone quartet seems VERY out of place. I don't care for the new brass instruments, especially when they just don't seem like they belong. I really don't see how the trombones really add anything of consequence here.

On a positive note, their brass sounded fantastic. Overall, I think The Cavaliers ended up right where they should have. I'll be interested to see what they do with this show.

Great assessment and I agree on all accounts. As for the Cavaliers, go listen to the source music for Run Boy Run and you will see where the T-Bones fit.

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I had a very good seat for this show. Funny you had Cadets finishing 3rd let alone having Crown beating them too. Thank you for your review. In my opinion out of the three corps Crown has the most work to do. Bluecoats have a tough act to follow with Tilt and dangerously close to over kill with the electronics. Cadets have a great product on the field with tons of potential. I would have had a bigger point spread between Cadets and Bluecoats but I did have the placements correct. Should be a good year for all.

Irving

Fan of the Arts

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I need to see Bluecoats online I guess cause in the stands, the consensus of the people immediately around me and myself included just weren't huge fans of this show. I'm not usually one that says no to electronics but in the 200 level on the 50, we were just overpowered by them and couldn't make out the brass except during impact moments. The performance level of the group is awesome though, no denying that. Maybe it was just a volume issue or something I'm hoping cause there were some really cool moments in this show but I'm just not a fan of the show as a whole like most on here seem to be.

Cadets were easily the winners of this one in my opinion but I did have Crown in second just ahead of the Bluecoats.

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Thought Cadets were the most balanced. The show is a visual and music delight. It has conplexity, subtlies and balance. The sheer power of the front and back of the show is balanced with a beautiful ballad that is presented in a visually interesting way within the 10 yard lines.

Bluecoats were cool but that's a very loud 11 minutes and not sure how they layer something that is nonstop "Kenetic noise" already. Visually, I felt to electronic set ups were clunky and the I just felt the show would be more effective with less electronics so that you can actually hear the brass alone not in partnership with noise. Obviously a second look is required but I was not as enamored as some. It will be a polarizing show for sure.

Crown was the cleanest I thought, just performing at such a wonderful level but I think that show needs the most tweaking.

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Thanks for the review. I disagree completely that the Cadets were "the cleanest" - but hey, it's all our opinion. Great observations!

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