I'm pretty sure no one was waiting with bated breath for my FirstBEAT review, but nonetheless here it comes, 5 days later.
So for the first time, I saw the electronics about which I've been bitching live. In this one show, I saw a pretty good range of its use, from the subtle to the egregious. While I didn't (always) hate it, my general sentiment was this: the use of electronics was either subtle enough that I would not have missed it if it weren't there, or gregarious enough that I wished it weren't there.
After missing all-age corps Alliance, Teal Sound started the night out with the latter sort of show. Their show, the Velvet Rope, featured music from Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, though I was hard pressed to identify many songs. Their pit featured a full rhythm section with bass, guitar, keys, and a drum set; my "this isn't drum corps!" post a few posts back was indeed them. What's more: Ever since I first laid eyes on Teal Sound, I thought their uniforms outfits were stunning. The way their teal popped off of their black uniforms was truly appealing. Their new uniforms are cream, which doesn't have nearly the same effect on their signature teal.
The Crossmen are back in full-length capes for the 2009 season. Their show was a bit lackluster, and this was one of the few notable things. I'm still not in love with their white uniform accents as opposed to the red ones.
If Teal Sound's uniforms were the night's downgrade, Boston Crusaders' are a definite upgrade. The new look with the white accents brightens up the whole uniform. While I had seen their show, The Core of Temptation, via Fan Network, it was good to see it live. I felt like I had a better understanding of it after the piece on the DCI Field Pass podcast. And I loved their use of Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah.
Blue Stars have been a pleasure to watch the past few years, and they continued that this year with The Factory. Sewing machines were a feature of the show, and it was particularly cool when their guard came up with "unfinished" flags.
You heard it here first: I genuinely enjoyed the Holy Name Cadets' show. Conflict and Resolution (West Side Story '09). It was back to no nonsense, excellence in marching, excellence in playing, and a show befitting of an anniversary year. I wish them the best, though not at the expense of...
Carolina Crown, the home corps for this show. I continue to enjoy them, and while I don't think it's the instant classic that the past two years have been, The Grass is Always Greener is a solid show that's extremely well done and deserve the first place it received in this and many other competitions. I will admit I'm not in love with the green uniform accoutrements and the green guard uniforms, which I think wash out on a green grass field, but that's my only very small complaint.
I've got another week and a half until my next shows--Charlotte for NightBEAT and then Salem, VA for the Summer Music Games of Southwest Virginia. And of course, I've still got Fan Network (and you should too!) and may be headed to theaters for quarterfinals this year. Ahh, summer.