It’s a ‘Blast’ 


Robinson Center Music Hall

April 17

There is definitely a Broadway sheen on “Blast,” a fun musical and visual adventure based around the traditional outdoor marching band. For example, the leaping fellows in tights, doing ballet moves, that frankly tended to get a bit old as the show went on.

That’s not the say that the moving ballet-meets-a-cappella-meets-trumpets of “Appalachian Spring/Simple Gifts” wasn’t perhaps the best number of the night. Or maybe second best, next to the closing “Malaguena,” which sounded like the Texas Tech University band had taken the stage, blasting out this South of the Border-style favorite of football halftimes in Texas.

“Blast” brings together some versatile young people, some who can both blow a French horn and leap through the air, whatever the moment calls for. The group also covers the spectrum of brassy music, from classical Copland to Chuck Mangione (“Land of Make Believe”) jazz fusion. There are times set aside for fun drum battles that the crowd loves, and there are times for the troupe to playfully mix with the audience while blowing home-made horns/tubes. The drummers even entertained in the lobby at intermission, finding anything handy to put their sticks to. Marimba, xylophone, shakers, timbales and much more (61 brass instruments, 234 percussion pieces) were put to use during the two-hour show as each performance seemed designed to upstage the previous one.

What we loved most were the moments when the 25 or so musicians actually moved in marching-band style across the stage, while three flag-bearing pretties slithered their way through the horn players with their double-swing flags. The rifle-twirling corps was five or so guys. The costumes changed rapidly throughout, and the smiles never left the players’ faces. Red and black dominated the “Carmen”-like stage movements as the horns blared “Malaguena.”

Still, we couldn’t help remembering how moving the whole “Appalachian Spring” music number seemed during the first set. Green was the predominant color, and the group turned to their easiest instrument –- their voices in harmony – for a stirring rendition. Copland would have been proud, if not Sousa.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

  • Riverfest turns 40

    Party with Wiz Khalifa, Morris Day and The Time, Cold War Kids and more.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Review: Postmodern Jukebox at Clear Channel Metroplex

    The band’s shows cover most of the songs that have either been Youtube viewing sensations or are already album classics with that PMJ touch, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake, Shake, Shake” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Consider us blown away though by the show’s main set concluding number of The Postal Service/Ben Gibbard-penned “Such Great Heights” done as if by the Jackson 5 in an “I Want You Back” styling.
    • May 6, 2017
  • Review: Boston at Verizon Arena

    As it was, nobody left the arena and into a suddenly chilly April night saying, “I wished they’d played [song name].” Boston played it all, whether you wanted it or not.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments


© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation