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Southeast "regional" 2017

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Brief impressions of the show.

Most everyone seems to have thrown it into a higher gear. Shows that, several weeks ago, either left me baffled (Cavies) or underwhelmed (Cadets), had sharper focus and power tonight. The final two weeks have been teed up nicely.

Really wish Troopers would have been there. Sad face.

Didn't catch every corps in the first block.

Really liked their energy and musicality. Their dark, polished look is a bit sedate, and must have been miserable to wear on that sun field in Atlanta. But the kids shone through. More Snarky Puppy, please.

Unexpected power, snappy writing. I get the sense we'll be hearing from this corps in the future.

The name says it all. SOA's pride and determination is evident. Good size and sound, and several really good high points. The overall effect to me was a series of nice impacts and moments interspersed among intermediate buzz. This is true of a lot of corps in the 14-20 range, it seems to me. The next level up is to create energy, interest and effect between the impact points. But SOA is getting there.

I put my thoughts here.

Blue Stars
Again with the furniture! After a few years of oversized lamps, jugglers and moving vans, this show has a march-and-play throwback feel to it. Brass is extremely well balanced, tough the writing seems to emphasize the top end, as far as my ears can tell. Others are in agita about transitions; I'm too clueless to notice what's causing all the heartburn. I liked the show fine.

Blue Knights
They've been busy during Swamp Tour. Not certain, but it appears they've added drill to the concerto. Or I've just been oblivious. The guard book seems almost completely made over, and the overall look to the corps proper is cleaner. The extended ending adds octane, though it looked last night like the members were still getting it under their feet. A few days of reps should give them the confidence to stop thinking about it and start performing it. As it was, BK outscored Phantom in GE and Music on Saturday. Give them a few days to nail down the ending, and they could squeeze some air out of that 0.6 gap in visual.

I was rolling my eyes earlier in the season. On Saturday, I sat up and took notice. CADETS PLAY LARGE NOTES. And there is more clarity and communication where before it all felt muddy and overwrought. That new ending is destined to be one of the high points across all of DCI this year, wow.

There's no denying the guard, which is the star of this show. Theme? Message? Phantasm? I have no idea. It's all gloss for some beautiful music and some of the most straight-up M&M on the field this year. Their visual content scores are legit, I think, and if their execution can match it, they'll deserve the reward. But I get the feeling Phantom is hiding behind their horns; it all feels somewhat . . . thin. I'm not hearing, nor buying, their win in brass over BK last night.

Muy macho. Humor is a hard thing to pull off, and Cavies do it better than anyone this side of Academy. I was mesmerized by the guard. The mashup of "My Way" and "Mars" is about the most mind-bending thing I've ever heard on the field. The final 30 seconds feels a whole lot like the final 30 seconds of "Propaganda."

Just a ton of fun, beginning to end. They are actually running. And playing. At the same time. Their tenors are stretched 30 yards across for a solo! People don't usually gush about flag work, but I found their silks and the work they did with them wildly effective. Is it a 4th-place show? Is it a first-place show? I don't know. Don't really care. I do think the great fat middle of the bell curve of band kids thinking about drum corps absolutely swoon for Bloo's style of programming. Whether they win or not, they will continue to be buried in audition applications. Any performer would want a piece of the lovefest the Bluecoats have with the audience.

Where last year was lyrical and gorgeous and immaculate, Ouroboros is relentless and fierce (and also immaculate). There is such a high level of wattage continually pouring out of the corps that you're immobilized, as if your finger is stuck in an electrical socket. When the corps finally shuts off the current after 11 minutes, your eyebrows are singed, your face is smudged with black and your hair is standing, curls of smoke rising from your scalp. I don't even really remember the music so much as I recall the wide-eyed experience. I can still hear the mellophones. The tenor features melted me. The visual acuity is profound -- the backfield fountain dissolving into randomness and resolving into a sharp grid being just one example. And SCV gets more effect out of their simple props than a whole truckload of staircases. One question: to cap off their 50th year in two weeks, anyone think we'll see the bottle dance?

Blue Devils
My HS band director, who introduced me to drum corps, was a huge BD fan, and I have to think he's smiling at this show. I know I am. I really appreciate the programming of the past couple of years. There are parts of this show where you can bob your head and tap your feet with the music. There has been a return of a groove to BD's sound, and it feels good.

Visually, they are the answer to 2016 SCV. I love the open, clean lines of their visual program. I like a nice mob scene (Cavies) every now and then, but Crown is lines and curves and intervals and shapes, and it's beautiful. Their battery feature 2/3 of the way through the show -- snares and tenors intermixed -- is red meat for drummers. The singing is well done, even if it's not my fave thing in the world in the middle of a drum-corps show. For all the singing, I didn't feel deprived of the brass or any other element. My guess is we'll see some new boffo visual thing by Allentown.


Edited by 2muchcoffeeman
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Excellent review! Thanks for sharing. I agree with so much of this. Thought overall the Bluecoats won the show. Not numerically, but entertainment wise. They just crushed it from my perspective and you know kids will want to audition. Bluecoats just need to clean, but in many ways they are marching some of the hardest drill to go along with some very demanding use of their stage. The music is masterful. 

Agree about Blue Devils. From a music perspective, this is the BD we always want to see. That music book is AWESOME! They sound fantastic. I love the show, even if I wish they would march a little more traditional drill. 

The Cadets were an eye opener and seem to finally have a full show with a great ending. Good for them. That had to be payoff for those kids, who will now work their tail ends off to max it out by Finals. 

I agree about the mind-bending nature of the Cavaliers closer. I'm not totally buying it, but it's so unique. To me, the Cavaliers were perhaps the best or second best corps on the field visually. They absolutely mastered that visual program. Guard was amazing. The drill is right there with Bluecoats, Crown, and SCV in terms of demand and effectiveness, but Cavaliers are IMHO executing better than Bloo and Crown and perhaps close to SCV. I don't feel they are getting credit. 

Edited by jwillis35
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Good job, 2muchcoffeeman!

As so many have already stated, there truly was something magic in the air at this event. It was a joy to watch unfold. Seems every corps was on an adrenaline rush. Weeks ago, I decided my preference for 2017 DCI Champion will be Santa Clara Vanguard. I'll stick with that.

What's also amazing these days is the quality of talent and programming throughout the "Second" Top 12. Reminds me of sitting all day, out in the blazing sun for Prelims, in places like Boulder, Birmingham, and McGill. No matter where, or when, one just had to be there.


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19 hours ago, Fred Windish said:

What's also amazing these days is the quality of talent and programming throughout the "Second" Top 12. Reminds me of sitting all day, out in the blazing sun for Prelims, in places like Boulder, Birmingham, and McGill. No matter where, or when, one just had to be there.


Abso-freaking-lutely!  Marched prelims in all of those and watched in a couple.  Will never forget '81 prelims at McGill with my dad and it was so hot we had to put ice in our Labatt 50s.  Beer at a drum corps show - gotta love Canada :)

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On 7/30/2017 at 0:25 PM, 2muchcoffeeman said:


One question: to cap off their 50th year in two weeks, anyone think we'll see the bottle dance?

They'll add it for the victory run on Saturday in Indy.

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