Hanson? Yes, I did happen to go to a Hanson conert……and oh boy was it an interesting crowd to say the least. Oh yeah, Hellogoodbye played as well, although some might not have known who was a HGb fan in the crowd swimming in a sea of giddy Hanson fans.
The show started off very peppy with a fast beat and generic sound. Nothing against Sherwood, it just isn’t my bag. They have a very high energy band, but with the cramped space on stage with all four bands equipment on stage, they didn’t have much space to roam.
When Steel Train hit the stage the crowd was sort of loosening up, but their lack of interest in the openers could be disheartening to some. Steel Train has come a long way since the mid naughts when they debuted with Drive-Thru Records. Their sound has developed quite a bit into their own, but somewhere in between gets lost in the wave of post-modern pop rock that is spewing out of every corner these days. Good sound with an enthusiastic band, but again, the crowd was just not taking the bait.
When it came time for Hellogoodbye, I tried my best to get towards the middle and in front as possible, as I have not seen them perform since Warped Tour ’06 I believe. I was pretty pumped, unlike others in the audience who mostly had no idea who they were. Hellogoodbye puts on a great show, it’s the reason why I fell for them in the first place, but being in the middle of all those people who hardly knew who they were was saddening and partly made the show less fun.
But I kept my optimism and enjoyed what is Hellogoodbye. There has been some line-up changes since I last saw them; six members instead of four. Basically everyone I saw in Warped ’06 is different except for Forrest. New to the group was Joe Marro (former member of late great The Early November) on keys/guitar/tamborine, Travis Head on bass, returning drummer Aaron Flora, Andy Richards on mandelin/guitar/and ukulele and Danny Ruskin their tour manager on the trombone/percussion; quite a line-up change if you ask me, but not in a bad way.
From their performance, Hellogoodbye, was in tip-top shape and sounded just as good as I expected. They played songs from every spectrum of their musical history from their first EP, Zombies!Aliens!Vampires!Dinosaurs!, and their Ukulele EP. It was a good range of musical talent and never a dull beat. Although they do seem to chat and interact with the crowd as much as possible, I found it amusing and they tried to get the crowd excited as much as possible with the few HGB fans that were out there. They played a couple new songs that have not been released yet along with their new single(?) “When We First Met” that you can get online for free right now! The new sound was fresh and more mature than what they currently have out. It seemed a little less electronic, a little more rock, but still with a HGB tone.
Hellogoodbye’s set was decently long for not being a true co-headliner where they switch off who finishes the show at the end, but the length was great, which was about an hour length. Forrest had a mishap of hitting his lip on something, which in turn led to an ongoing joke of STD’s. For not being so known in the crowd for their music, the masses highly enjoyed the show that HGB put on and loved Andy with his talks of bodily fluids……must have been the British accent. What saddens me is I felt like I was the only one singing along until “Here In Your Arms” was played at the end, which got everyone singing along. It is their platinum selling single, but come on people, you just know one of their songs? Sheesh. But I digress…from DX suck its, STD’s, not having a CD out since 2006, an energetic stage presence and some fast paced electronic pop/rock, Hellogoodbye put on a great performance and hopefully gained a few more fans in a sea of Hanson fans.
To the main event: Hanson, the show stoppers, the crowd stealers.
I’ll start off by saying, I had no idea what kind of shenanigans Hanson has been up to since “MMM Bop,” but I did a little digging and they seemed to have kept themselves busy. They have released albums in This Time Around ’00, Underneath ’04, and The Walk ’07. Isaac (Oldest) on guitar, Taylor (Middle) on the piano and Zach (Youngest) on drums have all grown up and with a definite mature sound along with two new friends on bass and backup guitar. They have more of an alternative poppy sound with a dash of indie rock that gets the girls shaking in their knees.
The crowd was almost louder than the music as girls were jumping up and down getting groovey with the Hanson brothers. They put on a good show and their music wasn’t half bad. I can respect them for their performance and sound, but that kind of music just isn’t for me. Their sound wasn’t particularly cookie-cutter radio sound, but it was close. Ever since they started their own independent label, 3CG, they have been able to be as free as they want with their music which I can respect as well.
In the middle of their set, which turned out to be almost two hours, they got a little more personal with the crowd as they got closer, dimmed the lights, and started a little acoustic session. Being their second night in Chicago, Hanson took requests for songs that the fans wanted to hear on this second night and the fans seemed to appreciate it a lot.
Towards the end of the show I was just waiting for it and you know what I am talking about. As the show ended and the crowd became more restless as they chanted for more. Of course, what is a show without an encore. It had come, the moment I had been waiting for, “MMM Bop,” and oh boy was it just ridiculous. I was near the merch booth as the classic blared through the music hall, but the best was yet to come. Some might not know this, myself included, Hanson does not swear in their music, but all the sudden a familiar sound arose. The sound of “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey rang through the speakers and the members of Hellogoodbye became estatic as they shouted “DIRTY COVER, DIRTY COVER!” They darted to the front of the crowd as fast as they could pushing through the screaming girls. By the end of the song Andy and Forrest were crowd surfing over everyone.
Overall the concert was a pretty good success and a crowd pleaser to say the least. The Use Your Sole Tour was a lot better than anticipated as I had no interest to see Hanson, but in turn found it surprisingly entertaining towards the end. I want to thank Danny Rukasin for all his help getting me into the show, along with Andrew the HGB merch guy who invited my friend Colleen and myself to hang out and go bowling after the show, and of course the members of Hellogoodbye and their friends for being nice and letting us hang out after the show.
On a side note. Although I technically didn’t get an interview……I got a chance to ask Joe Marro a few questions in terms of future work. The Early November has no plans of reuniting anytime soon. Some may know lead singer Ace Enders just had a baby with his wife. Ace’s new CD should be out soon as he has finished in the studio and just currently working on producing other bands in his own studio. Also, don’t expect the new Hellogoodbye album anytime this year as Marro stated that himself and Forrest will be back in the studio refurbishing the album and changing some things. Expect the new CD out in 2010, sorry.