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 Post subject: Hillsboro OR review (8-2-07)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:08 pm 
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It's been a while since I wrote one of these, but here goes...
8 of us in a group (my parents, aunt, another Cav alum 85' and his wife, two newbies from my work and myself)

Perfect night for a show, low humidity, clear skies, 70's-60's. PACKED stadium, maybe 5,000 people? Glad we got there early enough to get nice Gen Admin. seats on the high left side 40.

In order of performance:
Mandarins - solid, always entertaining and connects with all fans. They've come a long way from '1993 rinky dink burn the grass turf with the black tarps while wearing hot pink' corps.

Glassmen - should make finals, dug the gypsy thing. I think they should add a Borat character to the show. heh

Blue Knights - killer hornline! Maybe the best quality of sound I've ever heard from them. You could feel the rush of energy in their closer, which enspired the audience to give the first REAL standing O.

Crossmen - nice effect with the Bones uni in the intro, like the look of the corps, but the bits n' pieces of past hits (birdland, full circle, etc) just don't do it for me. Give me the real deal please. Dirty enough not to make finals as of today but they could push close to 12th if they wanted it.

"5 minute intermission" says the announcer. Turns into 30+... someone fire this guy already (more on him later...)

Cascades - solid, I think they have some of the best unis, good marching but horns just aren't up to part with the groups ahead of them. Drums and guard were their weak points when they broke into finals in 2002, and both have improved.

SCV - my favorite of the night. They may be dirty still but they always bring it. Badass mofos, especially the 4 man cymbal line. Damn.

Cadets - clearly the hardest and cleanest show out there last night, but I just can't bring myself to applaud a show that has the talking volume set to 11 and covering 50% of the music. I'm tired of Hopkins and staff insisting on beating us over the head with non-brass and perc ideas. I get the concept, really I do, but again, find another way to get your message across - or at least let the audience interpret it as they see fit - without vocals being drilled into your ears instead of music. The same show minus the vocals would have me jumping out of my seat at times, it's that good.

Drum major retreat with Cascades/Crossmen mixed arc for yet version 13.0 of America the Beautiful. I wish DCI would stick with one version already, or bring back the old school retreat where everyone plays their corps song. That was one of the best reasons to stay for scores before, now half the stadium scrambles to beat the traffic before it's over.

Side notes:
Re: the announcer - this guy has been doing the Portland/Vancouver/Kelso/Woodburn/Salem area shows since before I started marching in 1990, and he screws up somehow every year. Before the show he announced that the Crossmen were from Colorado. Then during the scores he said that the Mandarins were the Marauders (who folded in 1994). Can someone please get this guy a script already?

Cascades played their show again in concert arc fashion which was nice, then their corps song. If you ever get to listen to them play it, it's pretty cool - it's a version of John Lennon's "Imagine".

With finals being in Indy the next XX years, I don't see how there can ever be a show like this in the PacNW again. Quality, large groups, in August? I hope we don't have to wait another 20+ years for that. Overall, I had a great time and it was worth every $.

I thought I would let one of my friends chime in with her first-timer thoughts (below)

-------------------------------------

My first impression of my first drum corps show was an amazing flow of movement and color.

My favorite part of the performance was when the color guard and the horn and drum line interacted for part of the visual effect. I not sure what corp it was but the members of the color guard had 2 members of the horn line hold their flags, which I thought was interesting.

Another one of my favorite parts was when Crossmen had capes on and used them for what I thought was a great visual effect.

Also watching the judges narrowly escape getting hit by the drum or horn line, and sometimes getting trapped was fun.

The part I really didn’t like was how the Cadets had talking throughout most of their performance, even thou the flow and movement was one of the cleanest of the night, I was distracted thru most of it.

------------------------------------

And there you have it. Hope everyone has been able to see at least one show this year. If not, try to make it to the Regal Cinemas broadcast Thursday!

E
FMM
Marauders 90-93
Cavaliers 94-95


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:29 am 
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You may not like the narration, I am not crazy about it either, but it hardly covers 50% of the show/music. Nice exaggeration though to make your point.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:38 am 
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TXMystreaux wrote:
Nice exaggeration though to make your point.

Yeah, no one on this board ever does that. Anyone on this board that DOESN'T do this, please raise your hand.

Not so fast, whoever raised their hand. :cool:

Face it, Mike, you're like one of ten people in this country who isn't extremely bothered by the narration. I'll hear it next week and pass judgment then.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 9:45 am 
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Cadets Narration- Too much in the beginning and could be lessened. Its OK in the middle of the show and integrated and doesnt cover up too much the rest-- during the ballad its a huge problem and should be removed entirely.

Listening to speech and music involve different parts of the brain and two different levels of concentration and focus for us; one usually relaxes ( music) and the other consumes energy ( like work). Not a good mix in general.

It also chops up the show too much instead of an entertaining show that should be enjoyed....like the Bluecoats Criminal deal...which is quite a cohesive accessible and well performed show as well.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Hostrauser wrote:
TXMystreaux wrote:
Nice exaggeration though to make your point.

Yeah, no one on this board ever does that. Anyone on this board that DOESN'T do this, please raise your hand.

Not so fast, whoever raised their hand. :cool:

Face it, Mike, you're like one of ten people in this country who isn't extremely bothered by the narration. I'll hear it next week and pass judgment then.



I've stated several times that I am not a fan of it. How have you missed that? :shock: I even stated in my SA review that I don't think Cadets should win (althought out of the current top 3 I think they should).

Even though I don't like the narration, I can see that it is written into the show and does not cover 50% of the musical show.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:13 am 
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TXMystreaux wrote:
Hostrauser wrote:
TXMystreaux wrote:
Nice exaggeration though to make your point.

Yeah, no one on this board ever does that. Anyone on this board that DOESN'T do this, please raise your hand.

Not so fast, whoever raised their hand. :cool:

Face it, Mike, you're like one of ten people in this country who isn't extremely bothered by the narration. I'll hear it next week and pass judgment then.



I've stated several times that I am not a fan of it. How have you missed that? :shock: I even stated in my SA review that I don't think Cadets should win (althought out of the current top 3 I think they should).

Even though I don't like the narration, I can see that it is written into the show and does not cover 50% of the musical show.


I saw them last night at Stanford, but since we're already talking about them on this thread, I'll comment here.

Let me say first that I thought that the Cadets were the best corps. If you made them trade shows with the Blue Devils, I think the Cadets would still be winning shows while the Blue Devils might have another Dance Derby debacle on their hands.

That said, shouldn't their inane script cost them dearly in GE? It sounds like it was written as a motivational speech for 14 year old kids, and they keep repeating the same themes over and over, like a bad catch phrase that stopped being funny about 30 times ago. Even the 12 year old girl sitting behind me thought it was silly. You couldn't take the narration out of the show, since the music grinds to a halt 15 seconds at a time for them to say something like, "I believe in choices, so I am a real person with choices to make. I will make those choices and thus prove that because I believe in choices I can choose freely. I believe in choices." Was anyone else intellectually insulted by this drivel? I especially cringed when they talked about the kid who didn't fit in and found expression through his trumpet. Isn't the "band dork, band nerd, band geek" stereotype already offensive enough? Did The Cadets really have to suggest that people involved in music are socially inept? Imagine the reaction from the jock types when they show this (probable) championship show on ESPN: "See, even they think they're nerds!"

Did I mention that the kids performed the hell out this @#$%& show? Can you tell that I am really pissed off that I have to be torn between hating the show and loving the performance? Why did The Cadets design team do this to us?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:14 pm 
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abalone wrote:
You couldn't take the narration out of the show, since the music grinds to a halt 15 seconds at a time for them to say something like, "I believe in choices, so I am a real person with choices to make.



Again, quite an embellishment of what is really going on in the show.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:34 pm 
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Quote:
You may not like the narration, I am not crazy about it either, but it hardly covers 50% of the show/music. Nice exaggeration though to make your point.


You know what, I didn't write up my review to have my opinions dismantled, and I didn't sit in the stands with a stop watch timing everything. But to me, as I saw the show for the first time, it FELT like it was FIFTY PERCENT VOCAL. So what if I'm high or low on the exact number of minutes and seconds. The point is, it's alot, too much, and it sucks.

Seriously. I want to hear the music that is being performed wonderfully and watch the drill that is clean, but every time the louder than thunder voice comes on I was distracted and spent time trying to figure out who was talking. Regardless of their placement at finals, this will be the WORST show to hear on cd in all of DCI history. I'd rather listen to my 1990 Marauders recording, and we were awful that year.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:41 pm 
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Did I mention that the kids performed the hell out this @#$%& show? Can you tell that I am really pissed off that I have to be torn between hating the show and loving the performance? Why did The Cadets design team do this to us?


Why? Simple answer. Hopkins larger than life ego and the Cadets Borg staff. They think they can do no wrong and don't listen to public opinion.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:42 am 
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cavie95 wrote:
Quote:
You may not like the narration, I am not crazy about it either, but it hardly covers 50% of the show/music. Nice exaggeration though to make your point.


You know what, I didn't write up my review to have my opinions dismantled, and I didn't sit in the stands with a stop watch timing everything. But to me, as I saw the show for the first time, it FELT like it was FIFTY PERCENT VOCAL. So what if I'm high or low on the exact number of minutes and seconds. The point is, it's alot, too much, and it sucks.

Seriously. I want to hear the music that is being performed wonderfully and watch the drill that is clean, but every time the louder than thunder voice comes on I was distracted and spent time trying to figure out who was talking. Regardless of their placement at finals, this will be the WORST show to hear on cd in all of DCI history. I'd rather listen to my 1990 Marauders recording, and we were awful that year.



. . .and I agree with you that most of it does not need to be there. Beyond that you lost me. Thanks for the review though.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:41 am 
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cavie95 wrote:
Quote:
Did I mention that the kids performed the hell out this @#$%& show? Can you tell that I am really pissed off that I have to be torn between hating the show and loving the performance? Why did The Cadets design team do this to us?


Why? Simple answer. Hopkins larger than life ego and the Cadets Borg staff. They think they can do no wrong and don't listen to public opinion.


Nooooo.....the corps creative team designs a show they think will be good for the members and audience. This show fits the bill very well. Even in early July the narration was pretty well integrated into the show. From reading here and DCP it's been tightened up and is even better now.

You may not care for it, but from reading reviews and seeing them early season it appears that lots of folks do like them, narration and all.

Mike


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:01 am 
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Mike wrote:
...You may not care for it, but from reading reviews and seeing them early season it appears that lots of folks do like them, narration and all.

Just what flavor IS that Hopkins Kool-Aid anyway? j/k :wink:

Seriously though, you and I must be reading different reviews. Even talking to the people at the souvie stands for various corps, they are in shock about this show. I have read some opinions (many from FMM's) that that the narration "isn't all that bad". Wha??? What if we were talking about their brass describing it as "not all that bad"? Not exactly a ringing endorsement or what one should expect from a championship caliber show.

Most people (including reviews) that I have been exposed to believe The Cadets can win in spite of the narration.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:30 pm 
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TXMystreaux wrote:
abalone wrote:
You couldn't take the narration out of the show, since the music grinds to a halt 15 seconds at a time for them to say something like, "I believe in choices, so I am a real person with choices to make.



Again, quite an embellishment of what is really going on in the show.


Actually TX, I think this is not much of an exaggeration at all. There are two points in that statement. One is that the music has to be taken off of center stage every time there is narration. They have to bring the volume down, and they don't play anything very difficult or musical. It's effectively background music while the talking takes center stage. To me, the phrase "grinding to a halt" is entirely warranted. The other point is that the script is ridiculously overbearing and not always relevant to what is going on on the field. After seeing the show again last night in Clovis, I'm not about to back off of either of these opinions.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:38 pm 
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abalone wrote:
TXMystreaux wrote:
abalone wrote:
You couldn't take the narration out of the show, since the music grinds to a halt 15 seconds at a time for them to say something like, "I believe in choices, so I am a real person with choices to make.



Again, quite an embellishment of what is really going on in the show.


Actually TX, I think this is not much of an exaggeration at all. There are two points in that statement. One is that the music has to be taken off of center stage every time there is narration. They have to bring the volume down, and they don't play anything very difficult or musical. It's effectively background music while the talking takes center stage. To me, the phrase "grinding to a halt" is entirely warranted. The other point is that the script is ridiculously overbearing and not always relevant to what is going on on the field. After seeing the show again last night in Clovis, I'm not about to back off of either of these opinions.



If I remember correctly, other than the kid talking during the ballad-ish portion of the show, there are pauses in the music for most of the narration.

Noone is asking you to back off of anything. That is the great part of discussion in that we don't have to agree. This coming from someone not in favor of their use of narration, I still find the music and visual portions of this show to be amazing. I have had no trouble enjoying their music or their movement. I know the talking is there; I just pay little attention to it. It's pretty simple, really. . .unless the talking is what someone wants to focus on.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:43 pm 
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Mike wrote:
cavie95 wrote:
Quote:
Did I mention that the kids performed the hell out this @#$%& show? Can you tell that I am really pissed off that I have to be torn between hating the show and loving the performance? Why did The Cadets design team do this to us?


Why? Simple answer. Hopkins larger than life ego and the Cadets Borg staff. They think they can do no wrong and don't listen to public opinion.


Nooooo.....the corps creative team designs a show they think will be good for the members and audience. This show fits the bill very well. Even in early July the narration was pretty well integrated into the show. From reading here and DCP it's been tightened up and is even better now.

You may not care for it, but from reading reviews and seeing them early season it appears that lots of folks do like them, narration and all.

Mike


As a former Cadet, I can say with certainty that the narration was a mistake, and can also tell I think the staff knows it but there isnt anything to do at this point. technically and musically they have the best corps and pretty darn good color guard to boot. Second place isnt close but because of the narration no one really wants to give the win to the Cadets as this type of thing really shouldnt be rewarded, as it isn't drum corps, appropriate, desirable, interesting, innovative, or good.

The fact that the Blue Devils, with ( apparently) clear weaknesses by consistent report, discussion, and caption result, are basically tied with a technically superior and higher executing corps speaks volumes on what both people in the stands and the judges really think.

The moments are great in the Cadets show; the overall theme is not overall at all; its simply non-cohesive excellence that can't be focused on or appreciated or enjoyed for any significant length of time because of " I was a geek-dork until I picked up my trumpet." UGH!!!

Next year I think will be a different story- I just don't know if anyone will return as far as members...anyone thought of that? How enjoyable do you think this is for the members? Not as enjoyable as it is for the Bluecoats I can assure you....


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