Hanson was the epitome of my childhood next to N*Sync and the Spice Girls, and MMMBop was a song that embraced what it meant to be a pop star in 1997. Howeve,r Hanson is one of those rare bands that has transcended the boy-band label and has continued to produce music. In fact they are one of the few bands that I can think of that went from being a world pop sensation to an independent band under their own label. They are currently on their “Shout it Out” World Tour in support of their 2010 release Shout It Out along with Carly Rae Jepsen who is tagging along for the Canadian leg of the tour.
Local star Carly Rae Jepsen opened up the show for the Hanson brothers, although she herself has made quite a splash on the Canadian music charts, being the first Canadian artist to reach number one in two years with her hit “Call Me Maybe.” Although I missed the beginning of her set, I did make it in time to hear some bubblegum pop that deserves to rival The Biebs on the iTunes charts. Her sound was very top 40 (and not my cup of tea) but there was definitely a huge following in the crowd including a group of really intense guys who seemed to be more into her than her music. At one point Jepsen covered Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” It sounded fine, but a part of me cringed at the sugary pop version of a Canadian classic. Overall she was cute and bubbly. She will go far on Virgin Radio, but I am not sure if I would be jumping at the chance to see her again.
Hanson hit the stage after Jepsen to a very loud and rowdy crowd of twenty somethings reliving their childhoods. I have to say the night was full of surprises. Surprise #1 was definitely that Issac had become the hot brother! He was always the odd-looking one when they were kids. All three brothers had definitely grown up, and not just in their looks. In all honesty I have not kept track of what Hanson has been doing much past their last major label record in the early 00′s, but since then they have developed a pretty stable independent career. Although their music still resembles much of the pop sound they started out with they have incorporated a bunch of other influences into their music that you cannot help but dance to.
Surprise #2 was that these guys have become musicians rather than superstars. Their energy and talent radiated off the stage with a hint of southern charm as they dazzled us with a good array of old and new songs. Although most of the crowd was there to here the 90′s classics like “MMMBop” and “A Minute Without You” (which came out 15 years ago if you can believe that!) they also played some great songs off their more recent albums as well.
The final surprise of the evening was how well these guys could work up the crowd (and just as easily quiet them down for some acoustic solos by Zac and Issac) but also at the joy that they seemed to have being on stage. They closed out the night with “In The City” as an encore which was 0ne of their strongest songs of the evening. I would without a doubt check out Hanson again. Leaving the show with aching muscles from both smiling and dancing, I had satisfied the both the nostalgic tween and the music critic within.