It’s hard to say what’s the most surprising: that Hanson is still making music, that Hellogoodbye is still making music or that both Hanson and Hellogoodbye are still making music and are now going on tour together. Both bands came at just the right time for college students. Hanson were perfect candidates for an 8-year-old’s first concert, and Hellogoodbye tore up the power-pop scene right as we entered our early teens. So even though our tastes may have changed, the bill might be worth checking out just for the sake of musical nostalgia.
It’s been a long time since “MMMBop” — 12 years to be precise — but you have to admit that for those 12 years, you never really stopped wondering what exactly those long-haired boys were saying in the chorus. Since resurfacing in 2000, Hanson have released three studio albums and have actually managed to find success beyond the tween pop-rock demographic. With singles like 2000’s “This Time Around” and 2004’s “Penny and Me,” Hanson have managed to keep a hold of their fame — short hair, marriages, babies and all.
The staying power of the Tulsa, Okla., trio lies in their ability to produce straight pop-rock hits. Simple melodies, innocent lyrics and catchy hooks have characterized their music since way back in 1997. More than just a fossilized relic from the ‘90s, Hanson have found a way to stay relevant through constant touring and consistent releases, holding onto their older fans and picking up new ones along the way.
Their latest release, 2007’s “The Walk,” reached number four on U.S. indie charts and 56 on general music charts, giving Hanson a little more street cred. Right now, the boys are touring the U.S. in anticipation of their yet-to-be-named eighth studio album.
Hailing from Huntington Beach, Calif., are Hellogoodbye, the power-pop all-stars of Drive-Thru Records. Despite having only one full-length release, 2006’s “Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!,” Hellogoodbye have maintained their audience by releasing EP after EP, including last year’s “Ukelele recordings,” a three-song sampler that features indie’s most recent trend instrument.
The five-piece Cali group, consisting of Forrest Kline, Joseph Marro, Travis Head, Aaron Flora and Ryan Daly, have been together since 2001 and gaining buzz since their first self-titled EP in 2004. Originally a ska band, Hellogoodbye began a move toward pop music, starting like all good electropop bands: surrounding a computer in Kline’s bedroom. With songs like the synthed-out, cowbell-heavy “Call n’ Return” and the sexy lifeguard parody video for single “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn,” it was impossible for the indie world to deny the fun-loving boys of Hellogoodbye.
“Zombies!” featured the hit “Here in Your Arms,” an earnest, slow-building track that, while retaining the band’s saccharine touch, added a bit more of a serious element to their repertoire — at least as serious as you can get with an album whose title features that many exclamation points. When asked how the band so successfully managed to mix business with pleasure, Kline eagerly told Skratch Magazine that the group is always up for just about anything.
“Everything about being in a band is fun,” he told Skratch. “We’re all really excited to tour and see the country. I love making music and recording and everything else that comes along with it. It’s a good time.”
The bandmates are currently waiting to release their newest single “When We First Met,” a name that indicates that Hellogoodbye’s never-too-serious sincerity probably hasn’t waned.
So what do aged child-rockers from the ‘90s and fun-loving beach boys from the West Coast have in common to keep them on tour together? No idea. But sometimes that’s the fun of it. Going to see a band that you like being opened for by a watered-down version of that same band is no fun. The best tour bills are the ones that keep you on your toes and introduce audiences to something new and exciting, even if that new and exciting thing is already 12 years old.
Catch Hanson and Hellogoodbye at the 9:30 club on Oct. 20.