These crowd-pleasing Mmmboppers prove to be one of pop’s most underappreciated acts
Question: How do you know you’re at a Hanson concert? Answer: when the band starts a cover of the Beatles’ ‘Oh! Darling’ and the young thing next to you pulls out Shazaam.
Actually, folks, we’re just being cynical. Truth be told, Time Out was actually a bit surprised at the age of the crowd that had spilled into the Enmore on Sunday night to empty their lungs and shake their arms around. These girls – and they were girls, at least 90 per cent of them – were young. Shazaaming-the-Beatles young. Inappropriately-short-skirts-on-a-Sunday-night young. Take-a-photo-of-me-with-this-can-of-beer young. How did they even know who Hanson were? These guys hadn’t had a hit since Hypercolour tees started showing up on Vinnies racks. We were all here for a nostalgic throwback to primary school, right?
Well, that might have been the idea, but over a nearly two-hour set, the three brothers from Tulsa whom most of the world remembers for earworm-of-the-’90s ‘Mmmbop’ proved they are hugely deserving of a significant following, old, young and in between. Still deserving.
Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson might just be one of the most underappreciated pop-rock bands going. Emerging to great shrieks and looking like taller, more styled versions of their teenage selves, the guys demonstrated great musicality as they ploughed through a set list that only the hardcorest of fans would know well – but whose hooks clawed in brilliantly by the second choruses (these guys can write a pop song they can).
Youngest brother Zac is a bit of a demon on the drums, kicking heavy bass through the universally sunny, upbeat tracks, and thrashing his (still gorgeously long and lustrous) head of hair around as he goes. Isaac – he who chose to lose the locks – has an almost Cash-esque air about him, all dapper in a black suit, funking forward occasionally for fleeting guitar solos. And Taylor, now 29 and expecting his fifth child, is a brilliant frontman – charming, rousing, all that good stuff. He might have been losing his voice, but it slowed him down none.
The highlights of the evening were, of course, the songs you know from way back when (but probably don’t remember you know until about midway through the first chorus) – doozies like ‘Where’s the Love?’ and ‘This Time Around’. And ‘Mmmbop’ went down a treat (the Enmore bartender was certainly loving that one). There were some surprises, too, like the tender solo number Zac performed on guitar about halfway through. “I love you Zac!” came the inevitable catcalls…
Time Out gets along to a lot of interesting gigs in this town, and a lot of them feature serious, experimental, challenging (and often rather dour) tunes from bands who don’t offer much in the way of good times. It was refreshing to catch this unashamedly, unembarrassed and really excellent pop gig with a group of people who wanted to have a damn good time and a band who delivered them just that.
And for those who came along purely for the nostalgia, there were highlights. One of Time Out‘s buddies at the gig – a lady old enough to know the Beatles tracks more than the Hanson hits – told us excitedly after the show: “Did you see their jeans? Either they’re sporting socks down there, or those Hanson boys are really all grown up.”
Hanson played the Enmore Theatre Sun Sep 16.