Girls bounced in place as if possessed by Our Lady of Perpetual Motion — and the Gramercy Theater was charged with the kind of electricity reserved for the mega-stars.
But it wasn’t Gaga or Justin Beiber about to push the decibels; the girl-quake was for Hanson. Yes, Hanson, the Tulsa teen stars who “MMMBop”-ed their way to the top 13 years ago. At the first show of a five-night sold-out stand, the brothers — Isaac, Zac and Taylor — neatly demonstrated how they had survived their youth to become one of rock’s best-kept secrets.
A fan since ’97, 25-year-old Ashley Watson, from Seattle, said, “My friends still give me grief. Sometimes I think, ‘Oh, my God, what’s wrong with me?’ [But] then I listen to how good the music is, and I feel justified.” Many of the women in the audience agreed that they could still hear the boy in these men (Isaac is now 29, Zac, 24 and Taylor, 27), even though the music has veered from teen pop to rugged rock.
Opening night illustrated that transformation, with Hanson playing their multiplatinum debut record “Middle of Nowhere,” front-to-back. “MMMbop,” the second song on the album and in concert — earned the band huge cheers. Yet it was during “Speechless” and “Look at You,” both hard-rock pieces edged in funk, that the guys demonstrated why they’re still relevant.
The band, playing one of its albums in full per night, saves its latest CD, “Shout It Out,” for tomorrow. It’s due June 8 — but it’s already creating big buzz on the power of the first single, “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’,” a horn-powered pop-soul tune. The MySpace music video for the song has been viewed more than 1 million times since its release last week.
Hanson was excellent — but not everyone was loving the performance. Brad O’Toole looked bored. “I’m more of a Linkin Park fan,” said the 25-year-old Australian. Turning toward his girlfriend he added, “This music is OK, but I’m here because of her.”
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