Sixteen years ago I was seriously into a three piece boy band called Hanson. Their debut album was (and I still agree) a perfect pop record. I loved them, probably too much and when I decided to put a car sticker on the rear windscreen of my blue, beat up metro, I was the butt of many jokes and got some real stick for it. And then we come to tonight. Here I am, at the Institute in Birmingham, getting ready (and very excited) to see one of my favourite bands; a band I thought I’d never get to see live.
Supporting Hanson tonight is Cardiff based singer/songwriter, Sion Russell Jones (pictured above). In front of a packed out crowd, Sion handles his solo performance perfectly; just him and his acoustic guitar. His style is a mix of skiffle and folk. He has an excellent vocal range; at times sounding like Jake Bugg and at times, James Blunt. There’s also a hint of the Silversun Pickups in there too. He’s a total hit with the crowd and is incredibly easy to listen to. He certainly warms up this cold, winter’s night. Highlight of his set was So Long which is a track from his forthcoming album, due out in March 2014.
The excitement and anticipation in the crowd builds rapidly; this is what the crowd, including myself, have really come for. For the first time in quite a while, I don’t feel like the oldest swinger in town. There are no “youngsters” (at least not that I can see) in the audience; here we have a totally packed out room full of diehard fans. As the band hits the stage, I am immediately blown away. “Wow, wow, wow!” I say to my gig buddy, Holly and ten minutes on, that’s still all I can say. However, that really isn’t a review so I pull my iPhone out my back pocket and proceed to take notes.
(Pictured above: Taylor Hanson)
Hanson are a very close second to the throne when it comes to perfect three part harmony (the King’s being the Bee Gees) and for only three members, they have a HUGE sound! I knew they would be good but Jeez Louise, Hanson are awesome.
(Pictured above: Isaac Hanson)
Stand out tracks include the rocking Fired Up, the fantastic I’ve Got Soul, Get The Girl Back and Juliet, all from the bands most recent album, Anthem. The band also showcase some crackers from their 2011 album, Shout It Out, including the incredible, Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’, Kiss Me When You Come Home, Give A Little and Carry You There. Just when we thought the band were about to shut up shop for the night, they blasted out the song that everyone was itching to hear, MMMBop. Zac, Isaac and Taylor Hanson’s voices may have dropped a little since 1997 but the song sounds even better than it did all those years ago and, quite frankly, it sends the crowd crazy! In my opinion, the highlight of the set was an absolutely amazing, a cappella cover of the Bee Gee’s hit classic, Too Much Heaven. I never thought anyone could ever cover this well, but seriously, I think Hanson nail it tonight and I actually prefer this version to the original.
(Pictured above: Zac Hanson)
So, what a gig eh? Who would have thought I’d be MMMBop-ing away, with one of my best mates ever, to a band I’ve loved for half of my life? Certainly not me. But I did and it was bloody brilliant!
To find out more about Hanson: https://www.hanson.net/site/sections/1
To find out more about Sion Russell Jones: http://sionrusselljones.com/
All photos © 2013 Lucy Onions Photography http://www.lucyonionsphotography.com