Hanson at the Supper Club
W/ special guests Pedro Yanowitz and Andrew WK
Date: Tuesday, March 6
Better than: Nelson
Rating: 5.0? I don’t know. This is like rating Disneyland.
If you’d asked me where Hanson was Tuesday morning, I would’ve guessed they were either in rehab or shopping around their gaymoirs with Lance Bass. Two e-mails and one Google abuse later, I find out that those three little
Utahan Oklahoman longhairs have done something even less expected: grown up and gotten married. The middle one, 23-year-old Taylor, even has kids. Three of them. Who knew he’d be that virile? Shit, who knew he’d ever hit puberty?
Even more bizarre than the fact they all reportedly met their wives at Hanson concerts? In the ten years since “MMMBop,” the three sibs have become pals with the likes of Morningwood bassist Pedro Yanowitz and party-til-you-pukehead Andrew WK. But canoodling with rawk misfit-boys hasn’t changed their songwriting. After parting ways with their major label (Def Jam/Island) and starting their own label 3CG Records, Hanson have a new self-released album called The Walk slated for a May release. If Tuesday’s concert (and this was a “concert”) was any indication, they’ve continued writing Scrubbing-Bubble-clean pop songs full of nah-nah nah-nahs, heart-and-soul platitudes, and cheese-grated guitar jams. Same as it ever was.
Hanson’s fans are still essentially the same as they were ten years ago and so the Supper Club’s sold-out floor looked like a reunion for TigerBeat subscribers circa 1997. Now they’re just old enough to know better, which didn’t stop them from rollercoaster-shrieking, which they did every time Taylor opened his mouth. Like this.
Taylor: “Damn, it’s cold outside!”
Trust me, I was there.
For the first two songs, Hanson was joined by the Young Love Choir, an “organic” chorus of kids whose vocal accompaniment was well-intentioned, but made me long for Rent’s “Seasons of Love,” which is perhaps the second-worst song to whatever heart-and-soul thing was being sung onstage. Taylor politely shooed them off.
As it happens, Hanson looks completely the same as you remember and totally different. Zac, the 21-year-old, is wrapped in a thin layer of baby-fat and looks like the sort of person who’d tip a cow. Taylor now rocks a Johnny Reznik ‘do, yet manages to be one of the most fluidly moving white boys this side of JT. And apparently Isaac, the oldest one at 26, has spent the last decade growing a funny ass and honing the worst guitar face ever known to man. It’s really that bad.
And so Hanson played. They sang a cappella about having “been lonely”—as if. They pulled out stools for “Strong Enough to Break,” which is also not-so-coincidentally the documentary title of Hanson’s version of I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. They kept making vague threats about “Rocking” the place, but never actually made it past the R. Case in point: Ike’s six-string “solos” were more painful to watch than dancing grandmothers. If they’d just quit trying to be a rock band and be comfortable with their cavity-inducing sweetness, they’d be much better off, because we could all love them that way. Hanson was never meant to rock, they were just meant to bop.
Yes, “MMMBop.” Playful shit-talking aside, that’s still a fantastically good pop song, the epitome of all trad-pop songs, and it still managed to spark a frisson of ooh-la-la excitement when I heard the opening “Pocketful-of-Kryptonite”-ish riff, which at that point was something of a savior’s arrival. The other real rescuer was Andrew WK, who came out to accompany Hanson on piano for a song. He didn’t actually do anything special, but the dude always seems so psyched on life that just looking at him makes you psyched. Hanson fans didn’t know who the hirsute hesher was—Taylor actually had to goad the audience into screaming for him.
Thankfully, Andrew returned for the encore, along with everyone else who’d been hanging out backstage—the Young Love Choir, Yanowitz, Adam Green, Jonny Dubowsky from Jonny Lives—for a ridiculously goofy choral version of “Peace Train.” Taylor sang from a lyric sheet. Andrew WK did piano tinkles. Some guy who looked like Julian Casablancas slapped a tambourine. All that’s left to say: it was most certainly a ride.
Previous experience: “MMMBop.”
Personal bias: “MMMBop.”
Random detail: At one point, there was this long ear-splitting feedback screech and Taylor got pissed off and kicked over a speaker. It was kind of awesome.
By the way?: They are from Oklahoma, not Utah. Hanson fans everywhere: thank you for setting me straight!
See? I told you.