Minneapolis quartet The Blenders deliver sweet sounds

By Tom Poulos

I was lucky enough to be taken to a show of “The Blenders” at the Pantages Theater last Sunday. The show was a mixture of hilarious cheesiness and enjoyable, quality singing. Sure, I was deathly hungover from Winter Ball the night before, but I was still able to enjoy the interactions between the four men in this twenty year-old a cappella group. Allan Rust stood out to me the most. He was the best singer, frequently taking the lead in vocals. He also had the best stage presence and displayed a measurable degree of sass in the conversation the guys had in between songs.

Darren Rust, Allan’s brother, was a cheery and calming presence in the group that put a smile on my face and reminded me of Santa. He injected a sometimes much-needed dose of laid-back energy into the group during performances.

Ryan Lance, the most hilarious of the performers, was also the most dramatic. While he drew quite a bit of laughs when he danced around in a red sequin blazer and curly wig, his insincere attempts to draw attention to himself gave him too much of a diva energy for my liking.

I’m not sure what was up with Tim Kasper, the fourth member of the group, but Mr. Grumpy here had terrible stage presence and seemed irrelevant throughout most of the performances. I don’t know if he drank too much the night before or something, but this guy did not look happy. Even his fellow performers didn’t seem that into him during the conversations between songs. Tim was just awkward and unimpressive.

With that said, seeing The Blenders’ show was a high quality version of the cheesy feel-good activities that the holiday season requires of us. It was almost impossible to hold back my laughter when the elderly couple in front of me clasped hands when “America, the Beautiful” came on accompanied by a dramatic video montage. Same thing goes when the group performed some religious song I can’t remember and a white middle-aged couple not too far from my seat began emphatically holding up their hands and nodding their heads like they were in a sermon.

All this was hilarious, but also touching in a way. The heart-felt Christmas songs that the group performed while sitting down were enjoyable, while the dancing sets were on the lighter side. Overall, I’m glad I got to see this Upper Mid-West a cappella group that has brought joy to the Twin Cities community for twenty years.