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I went to the cinecast at Tinseltown in North Canton. Really good stadium theater setup with excellent video and audio quality. No glitches in sound or audio. Whoever does the sound in the theater for this show knew what they were doing. It was jacked up and very LOUD, but with a good quality of sound.



Overview


I liked all the shows to some extent. I think everyone has something to offer, and all of the shows we viewed tonight have potential. As always, it comes down to the marching members and the staff as to what changes and how well it cleans and sells. Looked like a nice big crowd at the Indy show. Too bad the roof couldn't be open, but the show would have been a rain-out otherwise.



Entertainment


I'd say Bluecoats and Cadets grabbed me the most. Probably not surprising since I've been a fan for sometime of both corps. There are aspects of Crown's show that I love. With some clarity in the coming weeks I can see this show being right up there with Cadets and BLOOO in terms of entertainment for me. I happen to really like the Cavaliers show. Their best brass in a while, and they are trying some very challenging music. It will take time, and they will have to experiment with the guard and their integration, but I have a feeling Cavies will make this a real treat come season's end. Madison has a better second half and a somewhat disjointed first half. I love the ideas in this show but they are not quite fleshed out melodically. The visual book is WAY better than last year, and of course you do get that BIG Madison sound. Closer could be special in time. I very much enjoyed Blue Stars. They seemed to be the dirtiest of the corps tonight, but I see more potential from an entertainment perspective in this show than with Madison or Cavies. BS has a wonderful mix of visual and musical hits in their show. Some cleaning will help those things pop.



Performance


Carolina Crown was the cleanest corps from our vantage in the theater. Bluecoats were the next cleanest, then Cadets. The spread between the top 3 and Cavaliers, Madison, and Blue Stars was deserved simply due to execution. I try not to read too much into GE scores at this point. Early in the season execution will gain you more points. You have to execute what you are trying to sell. Judges can then get a better read on where things are going from an overall GE perspective.



Scoring


I wasn't surprised by the scoring of the top 3. That can shakeup any number of ways as the season progresses. None of the other corps present at this show will catch Cadets, Coats, or Crown. I do believe Cavaliers will be better than a lot of people are thinking. I really liked them tonight. I would have had Blue Stars over Madison, but BS was dirty. I like both shows, and again it's unfair to make over-arching blanket statements about entertainment at this point because so much will change. In terms of score, I clearly see the 3 Cs from this show (Crown, Cadets, Coats) all knocking on the top 3 Medalist door. No doubt. BD will also knock on the medalist door (we would assume), and we'll have to see how SCV & Phantom do from a scoring perspective. Having heard Phantom's brass and percussion, I'd be surprised if they didn't have the edge on the Cavaliers for a top 6 spot. Same with SCV. So I am dying to see both of those shows.



The Top 3 From This Show


The Cadets have some MAJOR demand, wonderful music, and incredible drill (which was expected for any of us who heard their off-season offerings). It's a monster show that should both entertain and show off the corps' amazing ability to perform at a high level. When they finished the opener I sat their thinking that most corps don't play that many notes in their entire show. But it wasn't just demand for the sake of demand. It's logical arranging and the musical phrasing is wonderful. Some big wow moments in this show, something the Cadets are good at. Love their ballad. This will be one of the better ballads of the year with Bluecoats (slight edge to BLOOO). The waltz is clever and features multiple tempos, some extremely fast drill once the style changes, and a great French Horn feature. The music to the closer is awesome. I have heard the real ending and cannot wait to see that charted for field. It should be a spectacular closer. This is a fantastic show from top to bottom. They will be a force. Definitely top 3, and likely a contender.



The Bluecoats have perhaps taken it up another notch (if that was possible) from last year's amazing production. No doubt the talk about them will begin with their unique approach to electronics and music construction. I have been waiting for a show like this for around a decade. Many drum corps out there have tried various types of electronics, amplification, synths, singing, narration, etc. Usually it just comes across cheap, not effective, or as some side effect that's not necessarily needed in the show. The brilliance with BLOOO is that they construct their shows in such a way that the electronics are woven into the fabric in perfect sync (IMO). What the Bluecoats are giving us is THE MOST adventurous show from a standpoint of using the electronic palette, and they are doing so without taking away from an outstanding brass and percussion book. They are giving us 3D dimensions of sound effects, rhythms, and dissonant clusters; and they are masterfully integrating it with minimalist patterns used to build the phrases (their music is highly minimalist in composition). They open with Shaker Loops and I love the combined effect of the layered music and the visual. Shaker Loops has some wonderful effects created from atmospheric mic and mixing techniques, and from the minimalist nature of its' construction. All of the effects in this show are performed in real-time. They are not pre-recorded or sequenced as some have suggested in another thread. The Bon Iver chart might be the best ballad this year by far. The tuba section is wonderful throughout the show with many features. I love the use of the rolling spheres. It's very effective. They will remind you a little of the Cavaliers 1995 Planets show. BLOOO uses them to great effect, even having solos played inside of them. The corps also uses a 3D sound setup in which speakers are also placed backfield (center, left, right I think). The total effect of acoustic and electronic with the construction of this music is magnificent. In particular I love the trumpet solos from backfield with Harmon mutes and the modified tonal resonances they achieve through effects. If you're a traditionalist, this might not be your cup of tea, but I think this may well be the one show that even "old timers" turn to and say "I dig it." The Bluecoats have definitely invested time and major dollars in doing this type of production the right way. They get it. They didn't just throw a synth out there and say "go." Definitely a contender!



Carolina Crown is doing a very dark show based on Inferno from the Divine Comedy. I love the use of Beethoven's Ninth. I love the Verdi as well. Brass is wonderful and powerful. Percussion I do think is better, and I would not read too much into scores from tonight. This show was a little more polarizing for me. Some of the effects are blah (for me), and others are bold and reel me in. The build up to Ode to Joy is awesome, but from Ode to Joy to the end is a let down. That will change I am sure. I am not sure they have the visual vehicle. They are cleaner than Coats and Cadets for a reason. They are moving much less and their visual is very compact. Now, more will be added, so it's early and I'm only reacting off of one read. I would have had Crown under Coats by over a point. I do love their guard. WOW! Wonderful. I however do NOT like the uniforms for brass and percussion. Yuck. I understand the color combination of black and red, but that candy cane like squiggle up the left leg is ugly for my taste. Still, there is plenty to enjoy about this show.

Edited by jwillis35
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