Hanson brings unique 2-day gig to House of Blues to showcase roots, present

By | October 5, 2015


Hanson — brothers, from left, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson — bring a unique two-day tour stop to the Cleveland House of Blues on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13 and 14. The band’s “Roots & Rock ‘n’ Roll” tour dedicates one night to the bands that influenced them and one night to their own music. (Jiro Schneider)


Hanson Roots & Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13 and 14.
Where: House of Blues, East Fourth and Euclid Avenue, Cleveland.
Tickets: $80 to $96 (includes admission to both shows), at the box office, Ticketmaster outlets, online atticketmaster.com andlivenation.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Openers: Paul McDonald on Tuesday, Carrick on Wednesday,
Note: Tickets for the post-show Tuesday after-party to help launch the band’s MMMHops beer are $15. Also, the band’s¬†“Take the Walk” charity trek is 2 p.m. Wednesday in front of the House of Blues.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Scary thought: Zac Hanson, the “cute one” in the teenybopper band of three brothers, Hanson, is 29 and has three kids.

And he’s the BABY. Isaac is a wizened 34. Taylor is a ripe-old 32.

So like we old people tend to do, the guys behind the megahit “MMMBop” are starting to look back at yesterday to get an understanding of their today and tomorrow.

Accordingly, the band is doing a two-night “Roots & Rock ‘n’ Roll” gig at the¬†Cleveland House of Blues on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13 and 14. The first night will be the covers that influenced the boys from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The second will feature the music of the band that’s sold more than 16 million albums worldwide since their first commercial gig in 1992 and their breakout “Middle of Nowhere” CD in 1997.

The stop here is part of a 10-city tour, unique in that single-night tickets are not available. Your ticket is access to both shows.

“We’ve been a band a long time,” Zac said in a call from a tour stop at a festival in Philadelphia, and the idea of paying homage to their influences just seemed a good one.

“The future is enlightened by the past, and if you think you’re doing something for the first time, you’re not in touch with the past,” Hanson said.

Every musician has musical heroes, and most broke into the business doing the music of their heroes. Not Hanson.

“We started as a band so young — and I don’t know how to say this without sounding a little cocky — we were immediately successful,” he said. “Even locally, we were successful enough that we weren’t a covers band. We always played original music, with a few little things sprinkled in.

“In a funny way, maybe this is us going back to the bar gigs that other bands played,” he said.

The “Roots” part of the “Roots & Rock ‘n’ Roll” tour proved to be a monster challenge when it came to choosing the songs.

“When you really open the floodgates to the songs we’ve never played but we love, that’s a really long list,” Hanson said.

It came down to picking songs and artists whose work the brothers felt most often surfaced in their own music, coupled with doing tunes they felt they could do while remaining respectful of the original artist.

“For instance, we talked about ‘Johnny B. Good and said we’re probably not going to play this because it feels a little like a caricature,” Hanson said. “We played it, enjoyed it, but we said, ‘We’re going to put this one away.’ ”

The cover tunes come from a variety of artists — Michael Jackson, the Jackson 5, Sam & Dave, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, Billy Joel, U2 and the Beach Boys, among others.

“We started off with some core songs that we feel really connect with where we come from,” he said. “Those bands I was saying are deeply a part of Hanson records.”

You know, from back when they were kids, before they had kids.

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