Friday, August 11, 2006

DCI Quarterfinals: A Recap... (Repost from MySapce)

For all of my drum corps friends out there who couldn't afford to go to Madison or get to the theater telecast, here's a taste of what you missed from what I saw of the telecast...

Everyone's a bit of a purist to their era - myself, doubly so. The opinions expressed herein are those of me as a fan - and a stubborn, closed-mined one at that. I'm also, obviously, a bit Brasso-centic. Take it for what it's worth and feel free to disagree. I recognize my shortcomings as a fan. :)

Southwind - Missed 'em (had to get the kids fed before leaving them with the sitter)

Capitol Regiment - Nice show! Understandable, fluid, and a decent sound to boot! They'll continue to climb slowly up the DCI ladder.

Blue Stars - Back in the top 12 within 3-5 years, easily. A great corps with a long, proud tradition - worth supporting! Simple Gifts is always a great theme and fun to play with.

Crossmen - I hate the new electronics in the activity. I hated them when they crept into marching band, and DESPISE it in drum corps. However, Crossmen used it in a fun, kitschy way. A fun show to watch. "My Hump"! ROTFLMFAO!!!! Had hints of VK, and those that know me KNOW how that affects me! Stomping my Red Chucks with laughter!

Colts - Sadly, creeping back to their "yardstick of mediocrity" role, but a solid, relatively "old school" flavor. I enjoyed it as a show. They step up their technique a bit, they could have gone father.

Spirit - Nice, bright sound! Fairly benign show, but again, fun to watch and easy to relate to. Clever arranging (old man river/old black magic), if a bit lacking in 'oomph'.

Glassmen - (sigh) Okay, my apologies to all the Glassmen alums here. Every year, I give them a chance. "Maybe this will be the year I like them," I say. Every year, I politely applaud for the kids working their butts off (as I do for every corps), but feel like I've been talked down to by an art critic. Moment of brilliance: the closer, as Beethoven went deaf. Heart wrenching, yes, but hardly makes up for butchering his work for the past 7 minutes. Only other time I liked them was when they did "Just A Gigolo" at retreats.

Madison Scouts - Again, my apologies to the Mad Alumns. I liked the new unis. Simple, with a touch of flash, and very Madison. I only wish the sound were the same. When did Madison become Cavis wannabes?! No in-your-face, "this is drum corps - deal with it!" sound. A few sparkles of the old, cooler Mad Scouts in the sop solos, but largely a Cavies wannabe show, but lacking the compelling visuals, flowing design concept, and impeccable technique. My suggestion - get back to your roots, boys.

Boston Cusaders - Good. Nice. Liked it. Not stellar, but nice. Though, that one out-of-place half-archway bugged me the entire closer.

Blue Knights - Skipped 'em for a smoke. I NEVER liked Blue Knights - not even when they did Star Trek music, and I'm a HUGE Trekkie! Inconsiderate? Perhaps. Sorry.

Carolina Crown - Alright Northern Aurora alumni, remember when we used to BEAT these Mo-fos (and Glassmen and Bluecoats, for that matter)?! Good show. Nothing remarkable I immediately recall.

Santa Clara - Interesting concept. Looks exhausting as hell to perform. I enjoyed it, but was a bit befuddled at times. I want Mr. Moto's gig, man!

Bluecoats -Ah, the Bluecoats. You can always trust them to be themselves and not be ashamed of it. My new favorite corps. Lush, full chords, groovin' rhythm, a toe-tappin' good time! Yea, dirty, I know, but it almost gave it an authenticity. 'Course, that could be a biased spin from someone who was looking forward to the show and has lots of Coats friends.

Cadets - Um.... Uh.... WTF!? Sorry, Hoppy. I'll NEVER be okay with DCI becoming what BOA has become - even if your daughter's cute. To many distractions and not enough opportunity to show off how talented the horn line is! Yea, they can do short punches cleanly, but what about full, rich chords? Can they play in tune? Relies too much on characters, electronics, and props. Reminds me of Plymouth's Kiss of the Spiderwoman show a few years back - in every bad way.

Phantom Regiment - CLASSY! Nice dark, 'Phantom' sound. Biebel 'Ave Maria' brought the first set of chills I had all night. $10 says they pull out the wedge on finals night just before the final chevron. Back to basics did them good - take a lesson, Scouts!

Blue Devils - a GREAT choice of theme! Godfather Love Theme lends VERY well to the medium! Clean, powerful, not quite as jazzy as I would have liked from Devs, but a fantastic show. Almost reminded me of SCV shows of the late 80's-early 90's era like Fiddler, Ms. Saigon, and Phantom.

Cavies - Nothing can stop these guys. Toned back the innovative drill a notch (what were they gonna do next, jet-paks for 3-d drill?), but kept it right up there. They always keep me riveted (riveted - machine - get it!?). Okay, sorry 'bout that... Clean, compelling, and right where you'd expect them. Oddly enough, the most successful innovator as far as the activity goes, and yet the oldest unis out there (Cadets don't count anymore - 2-sided...huh?!). The Borg-meets-Tron-like guard unis were surprisingly effective, if a bit over-designed.

Overall impression:

There seems to be a battle over whether the activity should move forward and cater to the artsy-fartsy crowd of pretentious designers, or pull back a bit and get back to their roots and their fan base. I am, obviously, a fan of the latter. It's good that there is an actual battle over this now, as opposed to the seemingly activity-wide movement to pretention there was a few years back. I appreciate the balance it creates, the discussion it provokes, and the way it draws ALL the butts back to the seats. I hope it stays this way.

It was my understanding that the move to Bb horns was to darken the sound and make it more concert-like, and make it less expensive for smaller corps to get horns (G's being custom-made for corps and a bit more expensive), yet the corps that seem to fight for Bb the most seem to be the ones using the horns the most percussively and had the money to buy entire new lines ever couple years! Sorry, deep-seeded and old pet peeve of mine.

Okay - retorts?

Paul Keiser
Northern Aurora Bari - 90-94

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