Concert review: Forget what you know about Hanson

By | August 9, 2010

Remember the long-haired kids from 1997? The ones you may have mistaken for attractive girls? The ones who released unfortunately catchy hits like “MMMBop,” “Penny and Me” and “This Time Around”?

Forget what you know about those guys. Thirteen years later, Hanson, the pop boy band turned soulful rock stars from Tulsa, Okla., are a force to be reckoned with. The fact that their music wasn’t the loudest message Sunday night at the Slowdown in Omaha also speaks volumes.

Since 2007, the trio has been taking barefoot mile-long walks on sweltering hot sidewalks before each show to raise awareness and funds for poverty and AIDS in Africa. More than 100 fans, who showed up early (there were even some sleeping bags in front of the venue) took the barefoot walk with the band. Each walker equaled a dollar to the cause.

They also have been giving back to the communities they play in by letting local bands open for their “Shout it Out” tour. Adelaide, from Omaha, won an online voting contest for the opportunity. The four-piece alt-rock band opened the sold out show with a seamless five-song set.

Their four original songs had catchy hooks, dynamic guitar riffs and soaring choruses. They also threw in a rocked-out cover of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” which whipped the crowd, mainly consisting of women, into a frenzied singalong.

I’d keep an eye on this up and coming local band – singer Adam Trabold has the pipes to make it big in the region. Meanwhile the rest of the band kept it energetic while still playing their instruments to near-perfection. They announced they’re releasing their five-song EP, “Find me Love” in October.

After a nearly 45-minute wait, Zac, Taylor and Isaac Hanson and two more that rounded out the band took the stage. In front of a garish backdrop, the band broke into “Waiting for This” the last song on their latest album “Shout it Out.” The crowd got involved with the call and response “Shout it Out” lyric and stayed enthusiastic throughout the long night.

For those not keeping track, you might be surprised at not only each musicians vocal and instrumental chops, but also at the sheer size of their catalog. Their 23 song set lasted nearly two hours.

And of course they peppered in hits from a decade ago into the mix. “MMMBop” was what the crowd was waiting for – and it came near the end of the set – but you have to wonder, are these guys regretting that song?

From the looks on their faces during the song, it seems like they want to break away from what they were known for and be recognized for what they’ve done recently — which is grow into a more mature rock and roll group over the last 13 years.

It’s almost not fair how well their voices mesh — only brothers could make three-part harmonies sound so good. They proved it over and over throughout the night during songs like “The Great Divide,” “Make it Out” Alive” and a cover of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”

The band left the stage at least three times during the set saying they’d be right back. They’d return a few minutes later to play more, but God knows what they were doing. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

Once they returned for a stripped down acoustic set which was the most intimate — and memorable — moments of the night.

You may not have heard from Hanson since “MMMBop” if you haven’t been paying attention, but now is the time to catch up with these guys.

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