No, I did not lose a bet.
No, I was not dared, threatened or held against my will.
I went to Hanson's show at Higher Ground at the insistence of a friend, Lindsay. Upon finding out she was a "die-hard" fan - yes those truly do exist - I gave her a few jibes and ultimately came across as "hipper-than-thou". She countered my hipness with an offer. She said that she would purchase my ticket if I agreed to go and write an honest show review blog about it. I pondered her offer and made sure she upped the ante by adding a few beers to sweeten the deal. We agreed and then the day finally came; the day whence I would shed all of my street-cred and walk into Higher Ground with my head held high and get my ticket ripped for a once wildly popular teeny bop trio of brothers.
After getting razzed by the entire staff of HG, both on duty and off duty, and an owner I felt like I wanted to die. Alas, I just loosened up with a couple of my beers from the package deal. I looked at the bright side, this could be considered my first paid gig writing show reviews - who cares if it is freakin' Hanson - just need make your financier happy and let the adjectives fly freely.
The opener was Jarrod Gorbel, the former lead singer of a now defunct emo band The Honorary Title. They were around for a hot minute in the early to mid 00's. Believe it or not I actually remembered his band's name but none of the music. I went into the venue with an open mind (obviously) but I gotta say he was nothing short of awful. His voice was so grating and whiney it sounded like his balls were in a vice. Perhaps his voice was just a latent defect of having worn skinny girl jeans for all those emo years. He looked like and sounded like a third rate Bright Eyes. He managed to salvage his set with an Alicia Keys cover of "No One". Albeit pitchy and completely from left field it was a welcomed change from shouted lyrics about trust and abandonment issues.
During the break I made a point to speak with some Hanson-heads. One particularly excited young lady named Stephanie had entered and won a contest on Hanson's website. The prize was a meet and greet prior to the show and an exclusive opportunity to act as the band photographer for the first three songs of the night. She was enamored with the opportunity as her best photos would be featured on their website. Come to think of it - more bands need to do that!
Seeing how this was Hanson's "Shout It Out" tour, they opened with a song I can only assume was called "Shout It Out" as that is what they insisted that the crowd did so over and over. It was enjoyable and truly impossible to hate. Never heard the song before but was singing along by the end. "Shout It Out" is from their newest material (as per Hanson heads) but feels like a classic. Right away you can tell that these dudes - Zac, Isaac, and Taylor (the latter is not a girl by the way - contrary to what you may have thought in the 90s after having seen the "MmBop" video *clears throat*) never really stopped giving a shit just because they had a hit early in their careers. Their band was filled out by a bass player and a keyboard/rhythm guitar player. In the grand scheme of things they have been playing together for almost two decades therefore they are bound to have some chops. It is clear that making music is their lives and they are playing out of love. They all wear their musical talent on their sleeves - rocking out at will and showing off their three part harmonies. I swear these harmonies are impossible to attain unless you are brothers, they hit you like a hair dryer.
They hit on a bunch of other honey drenched pop tunes before playing one of the few I knew prior. Oddly enough I didn't even know one was their song. "Where's The Love?" is a Hanson song? Somehow over the years this song has impeded my brain, wrestled it into submission and hid out in my pop song subconcious until this concert. Amazingly enough I was not only familiar with the song but found I knew actual lyrics! GASP! I immediately thought to myself, am I having fun? Shit, I was. I was having fun at a Hanson concert. After leaving the stage for a few minutes, they returned as a trio to do stripped down versions of their songs. One included the inevitable "MmBop" which they delivered with unabashed enthusiasm. I am impressed that they still embrace the song rather than abandon it due to burning out on it. But much like any band with a huge hit, it is best to play it as the song belongs to the hearts of the people who paid money to get in. After the short acoustic set the full band returned and to my surprise completely tore it up on a fantastic cover of "Oh Darlin'" by The Beatles.
I must say that by no means am I a Hanson-head now, nor do I share the unbridled enthusiasm of their predominately female crowd (save for a few dudes, and that really creepy guy at the soundboard railing). But as a pseudo-critic I can say that they put on a great show and cram as much into it as they can and I respect the hell out of them for it. They are hopelessly devoted to their fan base offering meet and greets and the One Mile Walk with band members. It is entirely refreshing to experience somthing like this to get a full perspective on the world of live music, there is more out there.