OK, so here is my public admission: I went to see Hanson at Avalon in Boston Friday night. That’s right, I went to see Hanson of "Mmmmmbop" fame. Scary, eh?
Now, there is a good reason for doing this – my best friend John wanted to go see them and needed someone to go with him. He likes their music, and being a good gay man, really likes the boys in the band. I was a little concerned that I was going to be the only straight male in the whole place, or that it would be filled with teeny-boppers or something. Well, I was in for quite the surprise.
Turns out the main audience for a Hanson concert would be women between the ages of 18-30. There were probably 600 people at the show Friday night, and I swear that at least 550 of them – possibly as many as 575 – were all women in that age range. So oddly enough, while I went there expecting John to be the only one enjoying the "eye candy" and me being in a living hell, John really really only had the boys on stage, and was surrounded by a throng of screaming girls pressing up against each other – pretty much his hell/my heaven.
However, when you get that many women in one place, two things start to happen: first of all, as a guy, you actually start to feel uncomfortable. You’re way outnumbered, and any "sexual energy" that might normally be there is destroyed by the sheer amount of estrogen there. Secondly, you simply feel like you are someplace you’re not supposed to be – a bachelorette party, the girl’s locker room, or one of those all-women sex toy parties.
Something else that happens when you get that many women together at a concert is that they scream. A LOT. LOUDLY. Ear-piercingly, ear-bleeding loudly. And then you have the drunk girls, one of which was behind me…. yelling "I LOVE YOU" into my fucking ear all night, and spilling her drink on me. I thought that the first fight I would ever start at a concert was going to be at a goddamn Hanson concert.
So what about the music? I have to admit, they were good. They are a lot more raw, rocking, and funky in their live performances than they are on record. Even their first-album material gets a make-over with a heavy dose of gritty rock n’ roll. Their voices will always harmonize, so it takes the edge off of the songs making for the girl-friendly rock, but when they lose the harmonizing, their individual voices are a lot better and more interesting than I would have thought.
They did great cover versions of "Long Train Running" by the Doobie Brothers and "Feelin’ Alright" (the Dave Mason song best known by the Joe Cocker version) that really showed off their chops. The guitarist out of the three Hanson Brothers (sorry, still don’t know their names) really stepped up to the plate on the latter, belting out the song with a voice far more gravelly, grittier and more interesting than I would have ever thought. However, he still needs to lose the "white boy overbite and head-bob" that he does while playing his guitar. You know the one I’m talking about…