The Bluecoats’ 2014 production, Tilt, shifts the field and puts a whole new spin on what it means to perform a drum corps show on a football field.
There is a video on YouTube of their Finals performance, but due to possible licensing complications, I will not post the link here. I encourage you to watch this video, “Bluecoats – “Tilt” [Finals]”.
Overall Score: 97.95
General Effect: 40.00
The purpose of this show is to take the typical idea of what a drum corps production is, and “tilt” it. The Bluecoats achieve this in so many ways. The most prevalent way is through the orange border they use to create new boundaries on the field. From above, this new border makes the field appear as though it is tilting down and to the left. The triangle props on the field allow the players to stand on an angle, and at several points in the show, the performers lunge to the side, and “tilt” themselves. The visual forms are created with reference to the orange boundary, and are thus “tilted” with regards to the normal lines of a football field.
The modulation of the introduction, along with the constant modulations in chords played by the corps create an aural “tilt.” There is never really one standard sound, and the corps constantly “tilts” and slides to the next theme. Also, the constant change in tempo, through accelerandos (gradually increases in musical speed) creates this same “tilting” effect.
Visual: 18.70, 19.00, 19.00 – 28.35
Color Guard: The flags, rifles, and costumes of the color guard add necessary bright colors to this show. The corps’ dark blue uniform is contrasted nicely by the orange of the color guard’s costumes and the bright blues and reds of the flags. The guard’s choreography helps add to the “tilt” motif of the show. For example, they begin the show in side planks, and thus are at a “tilt.” Also, their interaction with the hornline and drumline adds to the general effect of the show. For example, during the drum feature, the color guard grabs on the snare drummers, allowing them to “tilt” forward and backward while playing. Despite all of these details, the color guard does not add much emotion to the show. They add a bouncy energy that compliments the music, but do not evoke emotion out of the audience very effectively.
Visual: As mentioned before, the “tilted” forms add a lot to the general effect of the show. Almost all of the forms created use diagonals, which are very difficult to make look good. However, some of the lines that are supposed to be straight in this show are a little curvy, taking away from the visual effect. Along with the forms created, the use of the triangle props adds a lot to this show visually. The “tilting” of these props while performers stand on them helps convey the overall message of the show.
Music: 20.00, 19.50, 19.70 – 29.60
General Music: Overall, all of the parts fit together beautifully. The chords played by the hornline are beautiful and incredibly powerful. The battery and front ensemble parts compliment the hornline’s music amazingly, creating a very unified ensemble sound. The best example of this ensemble togetherness occurs at the very end of the show, where the hornline plays, and then the pitch is picked up, and bent by a synthesizer to the next chord.
Hornline: The hornline does an amazing job throughout this show. The bends in pitch that they play add to the aural “tilt” of the show. The most effective aspect of the hornline’s performance was their dynamic contrast. They played very loudly at times, but played very quietly as well, and varied volumes throughout the entire show. For example, the ballad began with them playing very quietly, peaked at a very loud volume, and then ended in an echo-like phrase. There were some parts, however, that some sections played louder than others, and threw off the balance of the hornline.
Percussion: The music the percussion plays, along with being difficult, adds a lot to the ensemble overall. The accents line up with accents in the hornline, and the parts weave in very well with the music being played by the corps. The parts also add necessary aspects to the music. For instance, in the beginning of the third section of the show, the hornline plays slow, drawn-out phrases. During this time, the front ensemble plays very fast rhythms, filling in the spaces created by the hornline. However, there were some times that I could hear more than one person per instrument.