The sound that came out was not what one would expect at all; there was no sign of "Mmmbop" anywhere to be found.
The Pageant, St. Louis
Having seen first hand the hoorah of Hanson during the late 90s, I couldn't help but have a preconceived notion of what was to come walking into The Pageant last Tuesday night. With a mixed crowd of all ages turning out for the show, it was apparent their music was drawing in not only nostalgic fans, but new generations of listeners as well.
The Veronicas, a twin sisters act from Australia, opened the show with a loud and in-your-face set. The identical twins could most appropriately be compared to having two Ashlee Simpsons on stage. Both girls were small and dainty with very high, mouse-like voices. The music that ensued was pretty entertaining and had a good beat to it. All in all, it came across as a mix of punk and pop with a heavier lean towards pop. Having heard their CD prior to their performance, I undoubtedly preferred the former to the latter .Since the show was open to all ages, I had the feeling their act was geared towards the much younger crowd in the audience as opposed to those in their 20s.
Opening the night with "Great Divide," Hanson came out of the gate pumped and ready to go. The sound that came out was not what one would expect at all; there was no sign of "Mmmbop" anywhere to be found. Even if their voices would have allowed it, it wouldn't have fit in the set. In its place was a back-to-back set of highly charged, blues inspired tunes. Some ran rock, some indie, and surprisingly enough a lot of blues; perfect for the University City setting with the notorious Blueberry Hill just a walk away. Far from their beginnings, Hanson is a victim of their own success, but definitely kicking ass and not even worrying about names. The group, who has since split from their earlier record label, is still at it and doing it with their own flair. These guys are definitely in it for the craft. Anyone who could keep it rocking for this long with this kind of proceeding force must be. Even though the band consists of three evenly rated members, Tyler Hanson, the middle brother, has obviously taken the lead with his dominant lead vocals and nonstop array of dance moves.
Halfway through the set, after a short intermission, the band returned to entertain the crowd with an acoustic set starting with "Strong Enough to Bend" and continuing with a unbelievably beautiful song sung by Zac Hanson entitled "Go." After giving the audience a taste of an acoustic "Georgia," the band gathered around the mic for an a cappella version of "ChangeIn My Life." Lighters in the air and lights dimmed, the setting was very intimate and serene; a big difference from just a decade earlier.
Without a doubt, the guys are definitely singing a new tune, this time from their heart. Having broken all ties from any previous image they may have had, they are independent in every since of the word and making no excuses. If you're a fan of bands like Lifehouse or Evan and Jaron you might be surprised what Hanson has to offer up these days. | Jennifer Manjarez