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Skeletor '96

Skeletor's Reviews: A look back at 2016.

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Unless everyone’s putting me on, my reviews seem to be popular, albeit controversial sometimes.  I would do the rest of 2019, but when you get to bottom six, there isn’t enough for me to get excited about.  As a 2010s DCI “newbie”, I thought I’d take a look at the top six of 2016, my favorite year of the last decade.

Sixth – The Cadets – “Awakening” - Just say NO to electric violas!  I have mixed feelings about the “street performer” human statue.  I know this was the point of the show – sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t.  I prefer the 2015 and 2016 monochrome uniforms to the “real” maroon and gold.  It’s great to see a true uniform instead of a bodysuit. The French horns were a fantastic tone color for Pines of Rome – a nice variation on Star of Indiana’s mellophones in 1991.   They added more to the show than the trombones earlier did.  The drill was a little sloppy, but more exciting than most corps these days.  They prove you can still really fly with the marching while playing difficult music.  Their “WGIDCI” scatter drill wasn’t overused, but wasn’t usually that effective either.  Great arrangements of great music that you can really “sing” along to, unlike most corps today.  The victory of life over stone at the end was not that exciting of a climax and resolution, unfortunately.  Overall: my 4th favorite of 2016.

Fifth – The Cavaliers – “Propaganda” -  Yikes!  Not the worst Cavies show of the last decade, but still not that great either.  Gimmicky props and uniforms that say “high school band” to me.  The prerecorded voice parts severely distracted from an already weak show.  Drill design and execution was better than Cadets’ though, to say something nice.  The bada** trombonist kicking down the 30 yard marker was great too, even if it was just a small thing.  All the large propaganda signs that prevailed through the end say “bad high school band” to me.  On second thought, I like the almost all-black uniforms, just not the sleeves.  I also like that a lot of the guys are bringing back the side-parted hair like most of us did in the 90s.  Overall: my 7th favorite show of 2016.  (Yes, I’m a Cavie FMM, but I’m not a cult member!  Sorry, hook’em.)

Fourth – Santa Clara Vanguard – “Force Of  Nature”  - Nice uniforms, bad props, decent music, lame choreography, very good drill.  Really can’t feel too inspired to say much more about this show.  Overall: my 6th favorite show of 2016.

Third – Carolina Crown – “Relentless” – now we’re getting down to business.  The storytelling of this show is so fantastic that the first time I watched it I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath to see how the tension was going to be resolved at the end.  This is the only time a drum corps show has done this to me.  Fantastic use of the Barber music - Star used it to great effect in a “show about nothing” and Crown used it to do the opposite and tell a really fun, exciting story.  Best ever uniforms for Crown, to top it off.  Crown proves that you can still play the hard parts while marching excellent drill.  This storytelling makes The Phantom Of The Opera look like abstract minimalism.  In any other year, this show woulda won.  Overall: my 2nd favorite of 2016.  (YES IT GETS EVEN BETTER!)  -- fun trivia: this is probably the only show that has a prostitute getting punched in the face.  (Yes, that is my sense of humor showing.)

Second – Blue Devils – “As Dreams Are Made On” – no, I am not a Blue Devils hater.  In most years, this would have been my favorite show.  The blue wave sheets at the beginning and the end were beautiful.  Their wacky uniforms were far better than any other recent year.  That giant trombone section was raging.  Best use of trombones ever.  Extremely exciting and thrilling music throughout.  Great use of backdrops and… mermaids!  So many cool details in this show it’s hard to know where to stop.  That hornline was amazing, as usual.  Biggest shortcoming: the use of electronics at 17:00 was disgusting. On a lesser note, the choreography could have used some improvement.  For once, I kinda liked the use of prerecorded spoken word at the end.  I wish Blue Devils would play shows like this every year.  Overall: my 3rd favorite show of 2016.

First – Bluecoats – “Downside Up” – The first few times I watched this show I thought “what the hell was that???”  Now I think it’s the best show of the last decade by any corps.  (Even better than their Beatles show!)  Starting the show with only one person on the visible field really sets you up for the build-up.  Who else has opened a show with clapping?  When the whole corps comes whooshing out from behind that slide, it’s breathtaking.  That classical Spanish piece used at the beginning is just relentless.  I have no idea how the brass staff got everyone to tongue so amazingly.  The choreography was amazing – the beginning of WGIDCI?  Who woulda guessed you could use giant slides in so many different amazing ways.  The design team who could come up with all these ideas is loaded with geniuses.  I love the simple, unchanging minimalism of the musicians' and guard’s uniform/costume.  How did they teach a bunch of horn players to move such difficult choreography in unison? A lot of later corps obviously used this show as a template, but no one has come close to the magic.  Overall: best show of the decade.

P.S. – the winking trumpet soloist was awesome!   Just so long as NO PATHETIC COPY CAT ever tries this stunt again!

For those who are actually keeping track - my 5th favorite show of the year?  Phantom Regiment.

Edited by Skeletor '96
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3 minutes ago, Skeletor '96 said:

I would do the rest of 2019, but when you get to bottom six, there isn’t enough for me to get excited about. 

I have to respectfully disagree there. Top to bottom I thought 2019 was one of the best years. Not to mention the corps just outside the top 12 like Pac Crest, Spirit, Colts, Academy etc all brought it big time. 

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Yeah, I marched division III for one of the greatest years of my life.  I know not to judge a corps just because it's not a top 6.  I dare say I had more fun, a more rewarding season and better friends at the Golden Lancers than I did with the Cavaliers.

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1 hour ago, Skeletor '96 said:

 First – Bluecoats – “Downside Up” –   The design team who could come up with all these ideas is loaded with geniuses.   

Possibly, but I believe they said they got the idea from a British stage production.

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30 minutes ago, Ghost said:

Possibly, but I believe they said they got the idea from a British stage production.

I can’t remember if it was British, but the inspiration did come from a dance-stage production. 

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Thanks for the insight.  I feel like someone just told me there's no Santa Claus.

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7 hours ago, Jurassic Lancer said:

I can’t remember if it was British, but the inspiration did come from a dance-stage production. 

Thanks for the insight.  I feel like someone just told me there's no Santa Claus.  😢

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7 hours ago, Jurassic Lancer said:

I can’t remember if it was British, but the inspiration did come from a dance-stage production. 

It's kind of interesting though. What's old is new again as they say. I mean stage shows such as Blast! were seen as new and innovative although WGI started in what 1976 or 1977-ish? Now we have Soundsport and I don't even know how long DCA has had mini-corps. So which is the chicken and which is the egg? I remember sitting in a music theory class at one point and the subject of "original composition" came up. We quickly all agreed that there is no said beastie that exists. We're pretty much copying what's been done before and reformatting it in some way even if unintentional.  

I've said it before and I will say it again: The youth of today's drum corps owe a debt of gratitude to the fans and members of the activity who came before them. The VFW cats laid the foundation for the first DCI folks in the 70's. We (the middle agers,) who marched in the 80's took what they built and made it more applicable to the fans at that time. The cats who marched in the 90's did the same and on and on. None of us were "better" just different. We all made it relevant. WE all built this together. I couldn't have marched the 2016 Bluecoats show in my teens. We didn't have cardio or any real strength training in 1987 - 1990 (at least where I marched.) I would have literally stroked out. 

For what it's worth, I love the 2016 Bluecoats show. It's my "this is what drum corps is go to" for the uninitiated for several reasons. It speaks to young people design wise, great hornline, easily accessible music which can be enjoyed even if you don't know who Aurel Hollo or Lyle Mays are (he## Britt immediately recognized Great Gig in The Sky when she heard the show,) and it's not 100% park and bark.  Are there technically better shows out there...yes, yes there are. In fact, I think 2019 was a better show from a few aspects. 

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1 hour ago, Weaklefthand4ever said:

We didn't have cardio or any real strength training in 1987 - 1990 (at least where I marched.) I would have literally stroked out.

Which corps did you march in?  Great era for so many of them.

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18 hours ago, Skeletor '96 said:

Unless everyone’s putting me on, my reviews seem to be popular, albeit controversial sometimes.  I would do the rest of 2019, but when you get to bottom six, there isn’t enough for me to get excited about.  As a 2010s DCI “newbie”, I thought I’d take a look at the top six of 2016, my favorite year of the last decade.

Sixth – The Cadets – “Awakening” - Just say NO to electric violas!  I have mixed feelings about the “street performer” human statue.  I know this was the point of the show – sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t.  I prefer the 2015 and 2016 monochrome uniforms to the “real” maroon and gold.  It’s great to see a true uniform instead of a bodysuit. The French horns were a fantastic tone color for Pines of Rome – a nice variation on Star of Indiana’s mellophones in 1991.   They added more to the show than the trombones earlier did.  The drill was a little sloppy, but more exciting than most corps these days.  They prove you can still really fly with the marching while playing difficult music.  Their “WGIDCI” scatter drill wasn’t overused, but wasn’t usually that effective either.  Great arrangements of great music that you can really “sing” along to, unlike most corps today.  The victory of life over stone at the end was not that exciting of a climax and resolution, unfortunately.  Overall: my 4th favorite of 2016.

Fifth – The Cavaliers – “Propaganda” -  Yikes!  Not the worst Cavies show of the last decade, but still not that great either.  Gimmicky props and uniforms that say “high school band” to me.  The prerecorded voice parts severely distracted from an already weak show.  Drill design and execution was better than Cadets’ though, to say something nice.  The bada** trombonist kicking down the 30 yard marker was great too, even if it was just a small thing.  All the large propaganda signs that prevailed through the end say “bad high school band” to me.  On second thought, I like the almost all-black uniforms, just not the sleeves.  I also like that a lot of the guys are bringing back the side-parted hair like most of us did in the 90s.  Overall: my 7th favorite show of 2016.  (Yes, I’m a Cavie FMM, but I’m not a cult member!  Sorry, hook’em.)

Fourth – Santa Clara Vanguard – “Force Of  Nature”  - Nice uniforms, bad props, decent music, lame choreography, very good drill.  Really can’t feel too inspired to say much more about this show.  Overall: my 6th favorite show of 2016.

Third – Carolina Crown – “Relentless” – now we’re getting down to business.  The storytelling of this show is so fantastic that the first time I watched it I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath to see how the tension was going to be resolved at the end.  This is the only time a drum corps show has done this to me.  Fantastic use of the Barber music - Star used it to great effect in a “show about nothing” and Crown used it to do the opposite and tell a really fun, exciting story.  Best ever uniforms for Crown, to top it off.  Crown proves that you can still play the hard parts while marching excellent drill.  This storytelling makes The Phantom Of The Opera look like abstract minimalism.  In any other year, this show woulda won.  Overall: my 2nd favorite of 2016.  (YES IT GETS EVEN BETTER!)  -- fun trivia: this is probably the only show that has a prostitute getting punched in the face.  (Yes, that is my sense of humor showing.)

Second – Blue Devils – “As Dreams Are Made On” – no, I am not a Blue Devils hater.  In most years, this would have been my favorite show.  The blue wave sheets at the beginning and the end were beautiful.  Their wacky uniforms were far better than any other recent year.  That giant trombone section was raging.  Best use of trombones ever.  Extremely exciting and thrilling music throughout.  Great use of backdrops and… mermaids!  So many cool details in this show it’s hard to know where to stop.  That hornline was amazing, as usual.  Biggest shortcoming: the use of electronics at 17:00 was disgusting. On a lesser note, the choreography could have used some improvement.  For once, I kinda liked the use of prerecorded spoken word at the end.  I wish Blue Devils would play shows like this every year.  Overall: my 3rd favorite show of 2016.

First – Bluecoats – “Downside Up” – The first few times I watched this show I thought “what the hell was that???”  Now I think it’s the best show of the last decade by any corps.  (Even better than their Beatles show!)  Starting the show with only one person on the visible field really sets you up for the build-up.  Who else has opened a show with clapping?  When the whole corps comes whooshing out from behind that slide, it’s breathtaking.  That classical Spanish piece used at the beginning is just relentless.  I have no idea how the brass staff got everyone to tongue so amazingly.  The choreography was amazing – the beginning of WGIDCI?  Who woulda guessed you could use giant slides in so many different amazing ways.  The design team who could come up with all these ideas is loaded with geniuses.  I love the simple, unchanging minimalism of the musicians' and guard’s uniform/costume.  How did they teach a bunch of horn players to move such difficult choreography in unison? A lot of later corps obviously used this show as a template, but no one has come close to the magic.  Overall: best show of the decade.

P.S. – the winking trumpet soloist was awesome!   Just so long as NO PATHETIC COPY CAT ever tries this stunt again!

For those who are actually keeping track - my 5th favorite show of the year?  Phantom Regiment.

Hahaha! No problem! For me, 2016 was just extremely special. The Cavaliers just hooked me right from the start. It was a fun show to sit back and watch, but I do agree that it was dirty. The horn line was energetic, but there was some balancing/tuning issues. For me, I can't say it was the worst show of the decade... my vote is still their 2012 show. Yikes. Just playing a bit of a devils advocate to your Cavies post lol!!

Edited by Hook'emCavies

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