Show Review: Hanson @ HOB

People have a misunderstanding of Hanson.  Sure, the three brothers best known for their pop super-smash “Mmm Bop” are prettier than ever, and a result the overwhelming majority of their fans are female, but their music is surprisingly gender-universal.  At the heart of what on the outside appears to just be a handful of handsome siblings lies real talent—seamless harmonies, real chemistry on stage, and actual songwriting talent.

That said, when I took my wife to one of the back-to-back Hanson shows at Chicago’s House of Blues last weekend, the patrons were overwhelmingly female.  I can’t remember the last concert I attended where I could be five or six rows back and have an absolutely clear eye-line to the performers.  At just under six-feet tall, I had to have been one of the three or four tallest people in the room—an advantage I wouldn’t mind having at future concerts, too.

The H.O.B. had lines down the street long before the scheduled 6:00 opening of the doors, but we found out later that The Brothers had led a charge of 500 fans all over the city of Chicago earlier that afternoon, conveniently ending up at the front doors of the venue.  Also, that explained why the band’s rep told us their schedule was too full for an interview.  But that didn’t stop myself and my wife—a long, looooong-time fan of Hanson—from hitting up the show, anyway.  From the moment we stepped out of the car, we were having a wonderful time.

Well, my wife was having a wonderful time.  We caught Taylor and Isaac Hanson in the lobby as they ended their tour through the city and bolted through to the dressing rooms.  I was able to stop both of them and introduce my wife, which obviously made her ecstatic and maybe even a little drooly.  For the majority of her adolescence, she legitimately thought that she’d be marrying Taylor.  To shake his hand was a pubescent dream come true—one that left her almost speechless.

From there, the building opens up straight ahead into a pretty solid little restaurant (the red beans and rice were delicious, by the way), flanked on either side by staircases leading up to the concert floor.  The place looks like a dark combination of blues Americana and demented circus, which in my experience has proven to be a rock-solid vibe for all sorts of genres of music.  I’ve seen concerts there ranging from Talib Kweli to Marc Broussard to… well, Hanson, and every single time the hall seems to mold into what that particular fan base needs.

In this case what it needed was room for a whole lot of female hormone, which actually proved more annoying than gigantic tattooed frat animals moshing through a rock concert.  To my left was a high-school-age girl in an orange dress dancing as though possessed by a demon, and her first pumps to the beat of the song hit me (and a couple of her other neighbors) in the face on more than one occasion.  Behind me was a larger woman closer to my own age thundering her bountiful bosom against my shoulder blades.  It wasn’t pleasant.

But once Wifey and I found a spot in a throng of reasonably fanatic Hanson fans, the show proved the be extremely enjoyable.  The House of Blues rarely fails to deliver, and the Hanson brothers actually put on a really solid show.  I say that as a man.  “Shout It Out,” the group’s newest record has more than a couple memorable tracks, and having seen several of them live I’m sure they’ll now be even more memorable.

The only question now is whether or not they’ll forgo their soiree with 500 lady friends the next time they’re in Chi City and sit down for a chat.  We obviously love the guys to brave all that estrogen.  I think we deserve it, don’t you, Hanson?

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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