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Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:32 am
by LAMystreaux
The weather was not too bad. . .slight breeze. Really good drum corps stadium. . .nice and close to the field no matter the seats it seemed. Crowd was not as big as I expected.

I'll keep it pretty brief. . .

I am usually not a huge Mandarins fan, but I really dug their music book, especially the first two thirds of the show. They are about as strong (or weak) as usual, but the design is a bit more enjoyable than in year's past for me.

Pacific Crest is recovered a bit from last year's velveeta fest with their Latin show. The guard is still a bit cheesy/hokey with the design, but the music is much more enjoyable.

Spirit is really good this year, and it they made some very clever use of their electronics. I think the decision to stage the show as a rock concert with sound checks, soloists, features, etc was a good idea. Also, the hornline has really improved. Last year it was evident the kids did not enjoy performing the show, and this year they seem to be loving it.

I hate to say it, but the Crossmen have taken a step or two backwards this year from their oh-so-close to Finals show last year. The music is nice, although not as memorable as I wanted (probably due to performance) but the visual program is where it is really a step back. The capes really muddy everything up, and the progression of the drill is just not well planned imo. Almost every single move had multiple corps members running to spots. I didn't even know until the very end of the show it was about vampires. They will probably knock on the door of finals again as they clean, but could also end up in 15th.

I am rarely a huge fan of what Boston puts on the field, but FINALLY they have done it. . .a really well designed show that does not rely on cheap GE or props, etc. The design is really cohesive and well thought out. The hornline and drum line delivers! They were the first corps to really project well while being balanced. This is one of the most enjoyable shows from them in a while. I would have had them right up there with Blue Stars and Phantom.

While the Blue Stars show is prop heavy, it all works. The show is inspiring with beautiful music and visuals. The only real drawback right now is that the closer has a ton of dirt in it. Beyond that, this is again a corps that will challenge for the upper tier.

The Glassmen promised a lot, and just did not deliver. After last year's fun show and then upon watching some preseason fan vids, I expected much more. The first half of the show does not have one memorable note in it. From the ballad on it gets better, but still a very forgetful show. It will probably be Finals worthy based on execution, but very boring imo.

Crown was everything advertized. . .strong across the board, fun, and what a hornline! There was a big brass frack in the opening statement (I think tpt player in one of the small ensembles). It was loud and everyone reacted to it. The show is definitely written to feature their strengths. It is not an easy show but also does not push the envelope of risk too much. I do think (and hope) they will medal.

Cadets really brought it tonight. It was not a perfect run, but much much better than what I had seen in some recent fan vids. The visual aspect is tightening up, the hornline is handling the toughest book of the summer, and the drumline is handling some big timing issues well. It is also refreshing to see the old Cadets back. . .a show that relies on the wow factor or great music and movement and not much else (they have 3 or 4 very small voiceovers. . .movie quotes). What is amazing to me is how they handle probably about half of the show with ginormous timing/phasing risks where the corps is spread, the meter is all over the place, the melody is being passed around, the movement never stops. I think this has been the issue thus far, but it is starting to gel. This show presents the highest risk a corps has taken in a long time (in terms of difficulty). If it is clean, it is hard for me to see the judges not rewarding it.

As advertized, Phantom is struggling. Obviously, the corps is still talented, but as seems to be the cycle with them, they struggle after success sustaining good design. The show has a few nice moments, but in general lacks cohesion. I have read they are doing some major rewrites to the visual, which at this stage of the game seems scary to me. With up and comers like clue stars, bac doing so well, scv, etc. . .phantom could easily find themselves in 8th or worse.

Re: Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:41 am
by chadwick
Thanks for the review! Going to tonights show also?

Re: Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:23 pm
by cwbjr67
Velveeta fest?! hahha I love it! Yeah, Cadets' percussion got Cap'n Kirked last night. That's a strange placement considering the quality of their pit. Crown can play those big chords, can't they? They need more drill at the Promise of Living reprise...too much park and blow. It is a beautiful show, though.

Re: Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:19 pm
by LAMystreaux
No, Chadwick. . .with the home situation I was really only able to get away for one day/night.

Carl. . .yeah. Marc (rysa) and I were talking about the lack of a real feature in The Cadets show. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. Either way, they still have a fair amount of cleaning to do, so to be with Crown (who is already very clean) now rather than playing catch up has to feel nice.

Re: Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:12 pm
by rysa4

Nice review and good meeting you.

Re: Houston Review (night 1)

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:21 am
by LAMystreaux
Same here :) even if you are a drummer 8-) :lol: .