Australia – July 16th 2011 – Howard and Sons

Superb summer weather greeted the third participation of Howard and Sons and provided for perfect conditions for their live musicians, eMDee, who were floating on the Lac des Dauphins on a platform. For only the second time in the competition’s history, a daring move by the Australian team, using the percussion and didgeridoo duo from Northern Australia to illustrate the theme of their display – a homage to the World Heritage site of Kakadu, covering some 20,000 square kilometers.

The display began with a performance by eMDee to the accompaniment of very large flame effects, the largest I recall seeing at La Ronde produced purely by pyrotechnics. The synchronization between the music and the fireworks became quickly apparent and the audience soon became mesmerized by the pulsing rhythm of the drums and didgeridoo, the range of sounds produced by the latter being quite exceptional.

Complex sequences of brilliant one shots, augmented by large calibre fireworks above soon distinguished the display as both complex and very well staged. Every imaginable angle was used. Particularly engaging were the sequences of comets which built shapes across ramp three and the dramatic low-angled shots from ramp four, first at low angle to the left and then to the right giving a feeling of movement and augmenting the rhythm of the live music.

The non-live segments were equally captivating but it was definitely the live performances that stood out. Fast sequence of short-duration gerbs shot across ramp three in perfect time to the percussion. Even some nautical effects were fired, despite the performers location on the lake though, of course, the calibre of these was not as large as those used in the preceding Italian display.

The quality of the fireworks used was very high, though there were three low or muzzle breaks of large shells – fortunately not causing any damage. There were a couple of dark spots where nothing was firing on ramp 3, leading me to wonder if there were technical problems but I was assured this was intentional so as to highlight the live music at those points.

The finale was particularly well choreographed, leading to thunderous volleys of shells and salutes with rapid sequences of low-level one-shots across ramp 3 all building to a deafening conclusion. Slightly marred by some crossette cakes firing after the Big Wheel had been re-illuminated, the audience didn’t care as they rose to their feet and cheered the Howard and Sons team, giving them a well deserved standing ovation.

This was a very creative and audacious display. With a flawless execution (save a couple of tiny points) of a very complex choreography, the display showed a great usage of the display space and some very creative angles and effects. The synchronization was particularly good – the UltraFire system really showing its value in this display. The live performance was stunning and, despite the somewhat similar nature of the rhythms used in the different segments, was very effective with a range of sounds that was very unexpected. Such flawless execution and audacity must certainly merit a Jupiter award. At this point in the competition, it’s very hard to see whether this will be a Gold Jupiter, but it is certainly a worthy contender at this point.

Add your comments here

Comments are closed.