Oh, Bucks, Bucks, Bucks. You're doing the reverse of what you did earlier this season. Instead of coming out like gangbusters and then petering out, now you're starting out slow, you're staging a comeback, but it’s too little too late. I'm not even going to mention any of your names. I'm pissed at all of you. Get it together. The worst team in the league beat you Saturday night. On the road. I'm even slipping. Into Sentence Fragments. I can't even write complete sentences about you. So I'm not writing about you today. I will write about everything else that was going on at the Bradley Center Saturday night.
At least, we had some decent culture to show to the New Yorkers. First, as we arrived, some high school band I did not catch the name of was warming up the crowd, with a typical marching band -- very Ohio State -- arrangement of Born to Be Wild. . They followed this up with a weak rendition of Vehicle. In fact, I didn't even realize it was Vehicle until Brian says "Oh! This is Vehicle." I had to listen to get all the way to the chorus. At first, I was about to write this band off, but I decided to lighten up on them when they went back to basics with Louie, Louie, done in a “Hal Leonard Marching Band Series" arrangement. They stayed tight on it, even during the part that's normally sung "yeah yeah yeah ya-ya-ya." I think this band's horn section has more behind them then they think, and that was evidenced on their rendition of "We Will Rock You." The first time through Freddie Mercury's rap, they weren't so tight, and I'm going to chalk that up to timidity, but after a chorus they came back for the second verse and put their lungs into it. Cool arrangement too. It was good for a high school band that wants to try a bit of syncopation, but is not ready for a whole song of it. So you get the boom-boom BOOM done very subtly, like something Lalo Schifrin would have put together for a "Son of Dirty Harry" soundtrack. These guys have the talent, they're tight, they just need to believe in themselves and play it like they really do believe it. That's why I'm lightening up on their weak Vehicle. They're aiming high: but Vehicle requires the only thing they're missing: moxie. Think of the lyrical chorus: "I'm your vehicle, baby, I'll take you anywhere you wanna go!" Believe it yourself, and then make me believe you can take me anywhere I wanna go, kids. I thought they were going to come back for the anthem, which I was looking forward to hearing by them but they just vacated the seats they had, never to be seen again. Maybe they were some rogue band that finally got caught by the ushers: "OK, let's go! Out! Out!" "Clarice, your case file…"
Then there was the Small Fries game. They were older than last time's bunch, so they weren't all over the place with the traveling and the double dribble. But still, the refs weren't calling ANYTHING. They seemed to be there for window dressing, which would have been OK, but there was this one kid who kept getting hacked by defensive fouls and the refs are just standing there. Good thing I wasn't that kid's parent, I'd have been ejected from the stadium or at least cost my kid's team a technical. Did the kid have to be knocked unconscious before they were going to blow the whistle? Wait a second, I actually don't remember these refs HAVING whistles. They WERE just window dressing.
Ah, the anthem, given to us by the Midwest Vocal Express a barbershop chorus. Except this is a massive barbershop -- there must've been a hundred guys out there. You'll have to wait in long line for a shave and a haircut. Needless to say, if they were miked, they didn't need to be. These guys put the anthem in the National Anthem. Full, rich voices, singing the anthem straight and proud, and not doing "La-aa--nd of the Freeeeee" stretching it out like a cliche. No, these guys stretched it out by giving us a coda-ed ending on "Home of the Brave -- the brave -- the BRAVE" (which we didn't get to hear so well because by this time the crowd was on their feet cheering)! Wow. I almost got tears in my eyes they were so good. I'm going to have to check them out in other venues. Full disclosure: I work with a guy who's part of this group, but its not like he's in a position to offer me any kind of promotion or reward for gushing over his group's performance, and further I had no clue this was the same group he was a part of until I asked around. So I was impressed well before I realized I knew somebody who was involved with this. Honest. If there's any criticism to be had, they might need to recruit a few more baritones. They're pretty well stocked with a pristine but rich high end of Frankie Valli wannabes, but much of the joy of a barbershop singing is those lovely deep bass voices that come through. Nevertheless, the performance was flawless, in both delivery and arrangement. Bravo!
Black socks report: New York's pulling the same thing Philly is, by renouncing their original colors to get more black in them. And what's up with the one sock up and one sock down look sported by #23, Quentin Richardson? Dorky, that's what's up with it. Can you not afford a pair of socks that one of them isn't all stretched out that it keeps falling down? Brian suggested that maybe Richardson had some kind of wrap or brace on the one leg, making it LOOK like one knee sock was up, and the other was just ankle length. Well, if that's the case, wear a knee sock on the other leg, for Pete's sake. The asymmetrical look only works in Japanese takonomos.
Energee girls had a new routine tonight and it was really good for them. The choreography highlighted their strengths: the Energee girls are good at synching up with herky-jerky moves, and the arrangement really highlighted the sync part. Lots of times they’re just all over the place and its not a good look for them, because they're not a finely tuned Radio City Rockettes-style Drill team, so they end up looking disorganized instead of the desperately random effect they're attempting. They're this hybrid of part-cheerleader, part dance squad. Music was a really old school funky kind of rap thing. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm woefully ignorant of an entire genre of music: contemporary rap. I know my old school funk, and early rap, and early hip hop and house, but I couldn't tell you the difference between Kanye West and the Black Eyes Peas. (And I'm amazed that I could name two current artists in the genre). I couldn’t even name you one song either of them does. I so have to get into the 21st century when it comes to Urban music. Nevertheless, whatever it was, it was good for the Energee girls.
And then at halftime, the Junior Energee girls come out and show us what they've been learning all semester, and they're good. They do two, count 'em TWO numbers, impressive for young girls doing this as an extracurricular activity. One of them could very well have been "Whoop, There It Is" but it was tonight I realized that I've never heard the entire song of "Whoop, There It Is", so I'm not sure if it was the original or some updated thing that samples the chorus. I haven't decided if I'm embarrassed about this yet. Anyway, the young girls were a joy to watch, because like the even younger girls they had about three months ago, they're still at the stage where they're not self-conscious and they're just having a good time jumping around and waving their arms and yelling for the pure joy of it. (This, of course, was more pronounced on the little girls). On the other hand, they're older, so they know to be a little nervous, and they're concentrating on getting it right, but they're not so old that they're at all trying to be sexual about it (like the regular Energee girls, who know how and what to shake and still keep it PG). I think I've always liked cheerleaders anyway and always secretly wanted to be one. Not to be the most popular girl in the school, or to reap all those other "benefits" or anything. I just want the excuse to put on a sparkly dress with shorts, jump up and down and yell my head off over a game, and not only be allowed to, but be expected to.