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 Post subject: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:16 am 
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Not normally a reviewer...but I felt moved to tell what I saw. ( I apologize ahead of time for any typos or spelling errors)

First, thanks to Pacific Crest for yet another well Run Drum Corps Show...but BOY are the tickets getting expensive!!! Where is the Obama relief plan for ticket prices??? (JUST KIDDING)

I honestly was not expecting to enjoy the evening, it could be the voice overs or way too much original incidental music without melodies over the last two years have burned me out......but not this year.

Unfortunately I only arrived after Incognito left the field. So my first corps to view was Impulse....

Impulse

Had a rough start....But there was enough there for the Audience to reward them with applause. It looks to be the smallest and youngest hornline to date. Show is not finished, the music choices are all classics - public domain pieces which was nice because I recognized all the "melodies" wow...melodies! Where have they been the last few years! "A New American Classic" as it is titled.
It is a great little show. I feel once the phasing issues are fixed, all the 14-15 horns are all blowing and the show is done, this will be a cool little package that will serve them well. Big Drum line (only 5 snares that I could see which is small for Impulse) and played very well, the guard is larger than it has been in the last 3-4 years and looks like they will be really good too.
The corps is 10 years old this summer and I hope they can find ways to increase brass line membership. They are back on the road to producing entertaining shows with recognizable music.

Hawthorn Gold

I like the new uniforms that have similar design themes to Carolina Crowns. Bigger hornline than last year, about 40. The show was pleasant to watch and listen to. The corps performed well. The show didn't appear completely finished, there were performance issues, but this group appears to be growing each summer and they did a great job.
There was this one spot in the show where they pulled out this circular spider web thing for a Color guard feature int he back field.
A great device to create visual focus, butr getting it off the field was a train wreck. They need to do something with it to transition it off the field, not bunch it up clump around it and drag it off.
My guess is, their design staff probably heard something about it and is working on a design solution.
With that being said, they deserved their first place tonight. I apologize, I don't recall any of the music and being memorable, but I do recall they were the best in the division. Hats off to them.

On to World Class
===============================
Mandarins

I'm always impressed with the amount of sound this corps produces for the number of horns they have. I counted about 50. Their opener is Festive Overture and their rendition of it was actually cool. I can still hear to the two versions of it that SCV played back in 85-86 (yes I'm old)...And this one doesn't pale in comparison...the rest of the show which I recall being Beethoven (and something else I forgot) I felt was refreshing to hear!....Beethoven, more recognizable music with completely intact melodies programmed in a pleasing manner that kept me engaged...Wow what a concept.
I've cheered for the Mandarins over the last few years to go for the top 12. It's a rough market out there. I think this show could be a contender for the top 15 once it is clean. Percussion and Guard are great as well.

Academy

OMG, their Brass Sound is unbelievable!!! Being a brass player, I appreciate hearing a hornline where you can hear chords, all the parts being played with Balance and sonority AND in tune!!
Where Did this brassline come from?...JUPITER (joke) When Academy came out with their Kanstul Brass Line, I felt they had one of the best horns sounds in the region. From What I understand they are playing the new redesign Jupiter Brass Instrument Line.
They truly sound great. Again I don't remember any of the music, but I do remember the horn line can Blow! and as well as play controlled and soft. The marching needs work, the Percussion program is great. The snare sound is "wetter" than I'm used to hearing from corps today, but they sounded like snares. (go figure) The guard program seemed to hold it's own but nothing really stood out in my memory.
Without seeing the rest of the corps in the country, I'll go on to say, that this is one of those shows that could either just pop into the top 12 or just be out on the edge. Nothing revolutionary about the overall show or visual package, but a very solid foundation for a 14-10 place corps.
I almost forgot...I think it was Academy that had the Loudest Cowbell I've ever heard in my life...amplified....they must need to cure a fever...or something.

Pacific Crest

It is nice to see something other than all Black with a splash of sparkly teal on the uniform. I actually would have liked to see the white part of the jacket be Teal and the Teal part be White....but that's not as important as the show and performance.
I thought the design of the show was the best and most ambitious I've seen from PC. Problem is...it needs a bunch of cleaning to have an impact. What is out there...like 70 horns!?? Geez.. that's huge!
Definitely more feet to clean.
I liked what they have to work with regarding design, the hornline sounded really nice in the arc performance at the end of the night. If they could sound like that while moving they may have out scored Academy. Percussion and Guard all seemed to be designed into the show with balance. I need to see this in a couple weeks. It was a rough start for PC, plenty of room to grow.
Spanish themed music, not as Dark as choices of early 2000's PC, but very pleasant to listen to.

Santa Clara Vanguard

"A ballet for Martha (graham)" Appalachian Spring.
The 99 SCV Uniforms (after just buying new ones last year)

I loved this show....very nostalgic for me. I remember when Vanguard last played this Copland Ballet in 83-84 with the down soft ending.
I don't know if it is Mike McCool's programming touch or Jeff Fiedler's direction and influence....but I felt Vanguard has just rebooted it's brand in a big way. They show is dirty (by Top 3 Standards) and has a lot of potential.
Nothing completely innovative regarding dazzling drill design, but I did catch a couple visual homages that were reminiscent of the 82-83 drill designs, which I thought was cool (I suppose I would being a drill designer and fanboy of drill design) it is really a beautiful show to watch if you are a Vanguard fan, and just a fan too, as well.
All components are great. I wish the hornline blew my face off earlier in the show, but was happy they did when they did. No opportunity to yell VANGUARD in the show that I could tell. But that's ok...the show itself screams Vanguard to me.

Blue Devils

One word..."Fun".....what's up with that?? Blue Devils usually corner dark, cool, slick, aggressive or (in the 80's) laid back ....but Fun??

The chairs are certainly novel and are used effectively during the percussion features and Happy Days.
Sometimes they are visual clutter and visually noisy as they are moved around the field, but hey....Once they work the bugs out....I can see this show winning (without seeing Cavie's, Holy Name or the Regiment) I can't say much about the rest. The music from all angles is strong, visually complex ( a lot going on out there)
Ending is a great Park and Blow! similar to Cadets swing swing swing back in the 90's or some great Bridgemen endings.
Loud, and Swings! Good entertaining stuff!!!

I didn't bother to comment earlier, but this was the first of the Synthesizer addition to the music Ensemble sound.
Lots of misses....BD utilized the Synths the best and most effectively IMHO. I hope the rest of the groups using them can make them an effective part of their music ensembles....I'll take a synth over a voice over narration any day....if I had to choose between the two.

I'm not going to see Riverside...so I hope someone out there can review on tonight's performances.


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:35 am 
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bigocz wrote:
Not normally a reviewer...but I felt moved to tell what I saw. ( I apologize ahead of time for any typos or spelling errors)


Thanks for the review. I also went yesterday to the event and it was really fun! I managed to watch all the corps (from the really small to the big.) and that was quite an experience.

I personally thought SCV was the best IMO. I don't know if it was my small expectation for SCV to perform at a high caliber, but their show just appealed to me the most.

Blue Devils had a great show! I like the use of the chairs, but at some points, it seemed a little redundant to me. The drumline was pretty sick..... the tenors do not seem as strong as previous years, but it's still really clean overall. As a whole, Blue Devils were very clean, the show was put together well, but I wish there was more jazz. You can feel the jazz moments in their program, but I just want more :D (I'm picky).

For some reason, I always put The Academy, Mandarins, and Pacific Crest in a group of their own because they are better than all the corps before them, but are not on the same caliber as SCV and BD.

Overall, The Academy did the best xP Crazy hornline... kinda reminds me of Carolina Crown in the lower tier. Mandarins did 2nd best and Pacific Crest did 3rd best.

I wish I could go to other DCI Events... but this is event is going to be my first AND my last event of the year x\ Hopefully people can review to keep me updated on what's going on


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:29 pm 
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In case anyone is wondering...the Blue Devils will win this year. With that said, I got to hear the BlueCoats standtill on youtube, and I hope they paid Blue Devils commission for it's music. Fans of DCI for more than 12 years will know what I mean. It's usually customary to at least change the music a little...Unless you're the Cadets and you just keep doing your same old tired West Side show time after time. But at least it's their own.

Don't get me wrong, the coats sound really dang good, especially the percussion. Interesting. How about an all BLUE top 2!


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:16 am 
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BD94Euph wrote:
In case anyone is wondering...the Blue Devils will win this year. With that said, I got to hear the BlueCoats standtill on youtube, and I hope they paid Blue Devils commission for it's music. Fans of DCI for more than 12 years will know what I mean. It's usually customary to at least change the music a little...Unless you're the Cadets and you just keep doing your same old tired West Side show time after time. But at least it's their own.

Don't get me wrong, the coats sound really dang good, especially the percussion. Interesting. How about an all BLUE top 2!


I got four words for you: point zero two five. 'nuff said.

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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:22 pm 
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That was last year. Got three words for you: one point eight. As in, BD's margin of victory at Atlanta on Saturday (where every World Class corps was in attendance).


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Hey "marching artist"...this WILL sound like sour grapes from an old BD alum, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

Take a look at the judging panel for finals night last year. Look at the recaps from all three days fo finals. Why in God's name did the Blue Devils win visual performance by so little finals night? Why did it shrink? Answer (from an EXCELLENT inside source): Some WEAK judges, judging outside his comfort zone, and for the first time on the field all year decided just to split everyone by a tenth. Safe, easy, weak. The Blue Devils were a better corps last year, AND Phantom had all the emotion with them finals night. I live in a world where I can say both things, and be right. Devils were so good in so many ways. But past is past. I'm so glad some corps can win a title and go RIGHT BACK to comepting for it the next year. Some can't hang. Oh well...

Case in point? OK. '94 Devils win, '95 Devils go undefeated until finals (the Disney curse) but come right back and win '96 and '97 and '99. (4-peat woulda been nice) '07 Devils win, '08 Devils shoulda won, '09 Devils will win. Of course CAVIES had a great run in the early part of this decade!

Other side? '08 Phantom (great show) wins, '09 Phantom (still like their show) 8th place. '89 SCV wins, '90 SCV 6th. '99 SCV ties BD, '00 SCV 4th.

One word for you...

Consistency!


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:35 am 
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Without seeing the three C's (Cavies, Cadets and Crown) I do think BD will win this year. The show is technically amazing, and their guard is by far, the best out there. With that said, as much as I am in awe of the crazy difficult-ness of their show, I was missing the emotional impact. The show did not, for me, break that fourth wall, and pull the audience into it.

Now. SCV on the other hand. They will be the corps that I will remember for years to come when I think about this season. Poetry In Motion, that. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:15 pm 
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I do agree with JenKozy on this one, not about SCV...but about the lack of real emotional attachment with BD show. Oh well, still fun as heck!


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:08 pm 
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JenKozy wrote:
Without seeing the three C's (Cavies, Cadets and Crown) I do think BD will win this year. The show is technically amazing, and their guard is by far, the best out there.


...and just think, the organization is in a position to win 2 world championships in one day.

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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:40 pm 
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Wildabeast wrote:

...and just think, the organization is in a position to win 2 world championships in one day.


just like last year.... :duck:


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:18 pm 
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:rotf:

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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:21 pm 
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Yes, just like last year, pretty dang consistent. Oh wait, was that meant to be a sarcastic comment? It's funny, but I don't think that an organization in a position to win a world championship in two divisions, in two consecutive years is, or should be considered, a punchline. Moreover...Damn, they must be doing something right in good ol' Concord! Do it up DEVILS!


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:21 am 
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Easy there my friend, nobody is trying to bash your corps. My point was simply to point out that anything can happen. With that said, I do think it's highly unlikely anyone is going to take 13 away from them this year. Though the show lacks emotional impact as pointed out earlier, they are just performing at a level far and beyond the other groups at this time. Will that be the same come finals? Unless someone is able to predict the future, nobody can be certain. However, as I said earlier, this is very likely 1+9+3+0 for the team from Concord.

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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:41 am 
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How cool is the whole 1+9+3+0 thing huh? I love it! Very interesting indeed. SPeaking of anything can happen, did you see Crown jumped back ahead of Cavies and Cadets? Crown 94.10, Cavies 94.05, Cadets 94.0

WOW


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 Post subject: Re: Walnut CA - review
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:24 am 
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This was a really great year for Drum Corps. After watching the Big Loud Live thing at Quarterfinals, two things became clear. One: There were some amazing shows this year. WHat kids are being aske to do while playing their instrument is simply staggering. And Two: Domes + Synthesizers balances the playing field WAY too much for my taste. It used to be only Phantom Regiment (and sometimes SCV) could blow you away with their Tuba/Euph/Baritone sound. Now we have push-button bass and synth patch wamth. Everyone sounds better in a dome and synthesizers (which I originally supported) make even the weakest hornline sound big full and rich.

Great shows, bad direction n soundscape. They need to scale back the use to "other" sounds and not allow them in the breadth of a chord. Effects and qualities, not reinforcement!!! my opinion!!

PS- Called it! Way to go BD


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