Since my last round in the PAPER blogosphere, I have moved a bit closer to the main attractions in our world, ping-ponging all the way from Billings, Montana, to London, England, and back stateside. Much of the activity in this blog follows our latest UK Festival appearance, the 2011 V festival, and since the next couple months will be almost solely devoted to US action, I thought it fair to give a bit more love to our time on British soil before moving the limelight (at least till November when more international dates kick off).
Something that I want to mention, which I was excited to blog about, was the Sunset Junction Festival in L.A. (featuring us and friends like Butch Walker, Ozomatli and Rooney plusButthole Surfers and more). Unfortunately, the fest was called off for a variety of reasons involving an debacle between city and the festival. In its absence, I would challenge you to imagine a sonic mash-up of artists from the un-realized L.A. fest, and the artists mentioned below at V, in your own fantasy band collaboration to play in the background of your subconscious while you take in these snaps. OK, too much caffeine this morning.
Day one of V was a great kick-off. We had an amazing turnout of fans with thousands packed in to see our debut set. The show was a mix of new and old songs and we were blown away by how many festival-goers showed up to check it out.
We were not only at the festival to perform but also excited to catch some of the many artists who were on location, like Miss Ellie Goulding (who also penned a tour diary for PAPERMAG), who we met just a few months back during our last visit to London. It was great to re-connect with Ellie and many others during the weekend of music.
One band which set the bar high were our buds Joel and Benji Madden in Good Charlotte, who we hadn’t seen since the Bamboozle road show in the US. The guys were just wrapping up a summer of touring throughout Europe and the UK, so they were pumped to be almost headed home. We had a great time re-connecting with both bros, plus Billy and Dean, and got a welcome dose of Benji’s signature mixed drink (Diet Coke, Jack and Redbull — forgive me if I’m missing an element). Also with Joel being a newly dubbed fellow PAPERMAG blogger, he and I traded cameras for a few minutes capturing shots for each other’s respective blogs. Check out Joel’s self portrait between buses, and a shot of GC’s alcohol collection. I also caught a few random pics of the motley crew of fans in the crowd, from couples on shoulders to headdress-wearing festival-goers, all were rocking out to GC’s commanding set.
Our good friends The Pierces put on an inspired show as well and we got to catch up backstage on their last six months based out of the UK supporting their latest release, You and I.
During the blitz of activity we shared the stage with Charlie Simpson and caught a quick snap together following our set, still covered in sweat from the stage. We also had a bit of a pre-show chat with Stacey Solomon, who at her own peril got the inside look at our pre-show rituals getting ready for the set, warming up our voices and doing a little scalp massage.
The one and only Mark Ronson and his band, Business International (who we know best through their multi-talented band member Alex Greenwald), laid down a great set on both nights featuring tracks from their latest — and also making sure to pay homage to the late Amy Winehouse as they wrapped up.
While at the festival we got to take in a bit of everything — from a jaunt out to the crowd to snag a monstrous foot-long hot dog, and also a bit of adventuring to catch the many characters at the festival (note bloodhound gang look-alikes, and bearded Victorian wig wearer). Backstage V took good care of their artists by setting up a makeshift salon for the last minute trim, and having just arrived in London in much need of a cut I had to take advantage of the opportunity to get cleaned up.
V was fantastic, and a great send off before our return to the UK in November…Coming up next, is a slew of rock ‘n’ roll in North America starting this coming weekend with our first show in Regina, Canada, and then rolling right into our Musical Ride Tour. There will most definitely be tons of inspiration to keep the snapshots coming.
P.S. In my last blog I forgot to include the snap of us and music icon Rick Nielsen,
who we are friends with, through my other band Tinted Windows. Also a pic with our new friend Sara Bareilles from her stop into Tulsa before our departure. Hope this collection of photos makes your day a little bit better!
Hanson is the future. I know. You don’t believe it. You remember their 1997 hit — yeah, the one that just got stuck in your head — and you think they’re the past, the long-gone past.
That’s OK. You don’t know. You don’t know that after the group’s first album thrust them onto the international stage, Hanson hit a wall. Caught up in a record company dispute, the band wrote more than 80 songs that their label rejected. They went on tour on their own money. They were adrift.
So they innovated, launching an independent label in 2003. Then they innovated again, releasing iTunes-only podcasts documenting the making of their music. Then they did it again, and again, and again.
The band you thought was history is still making history — and making albums, including the soulful and super-catchy Shout It Out in 2010. On its current tour, which swings through the Fox Theater Sept. 17, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson are letting fans vote online for the set list they want to hear — the band will play an album of fans’ choice front-to-back live.
“We’ve had, in some cases, 30,000 votes on a single show,” says Isaac, the oldest brother. “A lot of people have been very excited about this concept.
We’ve allowed people to vote on encores, Twitter requests. We’ll continue to do that because we think it’s about engaging the fan base no matter what.”
That’s just scratching the surface of how Hanson’s trying to listen to its audience. Since they hit the global stage, the group’s made it a priority to communicate with fans. Hanson.net was like a band’s Facebook or Twitter page years before those networking sites existed. And Isaac says the band’s biggest ideas are still in the works.
“We’ve alluded to the possibility that this may be our last full-length record,” he says. “We’ve been feeling for a very long time that the medium of a full-length album released every two or three years is not the way the public consumes music.”
If fans can buy songs separate from albums online, Isaac says, there’s no point to releasing a full-length disc.
“The audience just wants the three good ones,” he says. “They’re not gonna pay for the other nine.”
And they’re not gonna wait around, either.
“It’s a very quick-response type of world out there. You have to constantly create interest,” Isaac says. “Every three to six months, you have to be doing something that is interesting.”
Other artists would be wise to listen — Hanson’s been ahead of the curve on social networking, live streams of concerts and many other promotional strategies.
“I think bands coming up need to stop releasing records. And they’re starting to do this,” Isaac says. “Look, put out three to five songs every six months. It’s four, five, six times harder to get 12 songs right than it is to get five, four or three right.”
Getting it right doesn’t always come easy for Hanson, as brotherly love has sometimes given way to brotherly frustration. Isaac says it’s a struggle that Hanson continually tries to resolve.
“There is a long history both of less-than-productive relationships and very productive relationships of brothers in bands,” he says. “It’s personal time, but also job time. It can get messy.
“Anybody that knows us knows there’s plenty of tension between the three of us. But for the most part we leave it on the sidelines,” he says. “Playing a show, you might have been pissed off, but by the end of the show you’re playing the songs going, ‘This is the dream. Every band wishes they had this, and we have it. So this doesn’t suck.’” What sucks is when your brothers team up on you — usually. But Isaac says it can resolve conflicts in the band.
“The fact that there are three of us actually helps. One way or another somebody’s getting teamed up on,” he says. “Majority rules. Two of the guys are telling another guy, ‘Dude, get over yourself.’” For a band that had tons of success early, Hanson has gotten over itself. It has done so by maintaining a laser-like focus on the driving element of its success: its fan base.
“The key is listening to your audience,” he says. “That is one of the most basic, straightforward things you can do. If you do it, the audience will respond.”
Fans can pick from three of Hanson’s five albums to hear at the Fox Sept. 17. Vote for Shout It Out, Middle of Nowhere or This Time Around on Hanson.net.
Fans select the set list when Hanson brings its Musical Ride Tour with special guest Meiko to The Depot. And can you believe it? I didn’t mention “MMMBop” in this entire calendar listing!
When • Thursday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m.
Where • The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25 in advance, $30 day of, at SmithsTix
It is Hanson’s first time playing in Albuquerque! Find out more about their visit in Donna’s preview article at examiner.com
If you can read the song title “MMMBop” without getting that catchy, mid-’90s pop song stuck in your head for hours, then you are strong willed. That guilty-pleasure song filled the airwaves and made critics wonder if the three brothers from Tulsa, Okla. would be the next Jackson 5. They weren’t. Even with a 15-year career, five studio albums and six Top 40 hits, it’s hard not to think of them as one-hit wonders. Die-hard Hanson fans will attest they aren’t and will prove it by voting online at Hanson.net to craft the band’s set list each night of The Musical Ride Tour. Meiko opens the show. The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $25 in advance, $30 day of show
Time: 8 pm
Address: 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: The Depot
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