In front of bleachers full of UTD students on an unseasonably cool July evening, Blackstone Rangers put on by far the best performance I’ve seen them produce, after a handful of encounters. Mostly gone were the big dumb guitars of their past, replaced with a nuanced and far more electronic take on pop that sounded as indebted to eighties Canadian synth pop as it did to David Lynch’s former muse, Julee Cruise. Whether or not these are actual influences is beside the point. I was glad to be reminded.
When the acoustic drum kit would kick in over the electronic beat, they had much more impact than they did just thundering away in the past. This is a group that has learned much about dynamics in a short period, which could be attributed to the experience of touring.
When the students left the bleachers to dance, the group unfortunately switched to a slower number, but it still worked. I’m no longer under the spell of summer, or college, or youth, but I’ll be the first to admit when they synchronize beautifully. The University of Texas at Dallas has long been a place that bubbles with a barely-hidden desire to have as much fun as its less business- and finance-associated peers, especially in regard to its Radio UTD program. When this campus gets a little loose, there are few places in North Texas quite like it.
— Christopher Mosley
All photos by Andi Harman