Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hanson @ Mesa Center For The Arts

This is a true story, but probably not that funny of a story. Generally, every 2 weeks or a so, I make a list of concerts I'd like to photograph. Usually based mostly on the possible merits of the show itself... performer wise and production wise... and other shows get peppered in as the New Times see fit. I actually asked to photograph the Jonas Brothers this night, and the NT editor replied to me and said I was in for Hanson. Not trying to be rude, but I thought he was being sarcastic. Three of them, three of Hanson... but no. He meant actual Hanson. But in my defense, I have been pretty lazy about looking up shows lately, and I did not even see that Hanson were in town. Now that we got that out of the way, finally... on to the review. Err. On to the "I talk about stuff relating to the show and/or photography... and anything else that pops up." Don't you love grapes?

Honesty up front here... I was pretty indifferent about shooting Hanson. Initially at least, I'd rather have shot the Jonas Brothers, just because it was at a bigger venue, and will have had more stage production... meaning more interesting photos. But, I try not to complain too much. Always complain UP the chain... not... off the chain? OUT from the chain? Anyways... yeah... I can at least dig Hanson. I actually KNOW a song of theirs. Plus, Taylor Hanson plays with James Iha in the super group Tinted Windows... I think that adds a few cool notches.

As expected, the modest sized crowed went absolutely nuts when Hanson took the stage, and the boys gave them just want they wanted. A high energy, poppy rock show. Lots of jumping and singing along, and the odd harmonica why not? I got to the show a little early, just soon enough to see the opening band finish their set. The whole aesthetic of the room was a bit odd. It was filled with a fair share of youngish, elementary/middle school type girls. But also a moderate helping of high school girls... the crowd that 'grew up' listening to Hanson, and are still following the band. There were even some boy people in attendance... but if I'm honest, I felt more macho and mannish mixed in that crowd than any other concert setting. Wink wink, nudge nudge. It didn't help that security guards were all pensioners either. The band that played was like a Hanson-in-training sort of act. Every song had a clever lyric about a girl and a big smile at the end. "No, we love YOU guys!" I felt a bit like I was in an underground Disney bunker testing ground for young girls and new pop acts. I could imagine a room of sweaty, fat execs behind a panel of TV screens scribbling down notes as to what action on stage got an emotional response from the girlfolk in the crowd... and if that boy with the red highlights has a good time too, mark that down Phil.

So... Hanson. Yes. That's why we're all here. What can I say that I haven't already covered? You know what? I was surprised at all the gear Isaac Hanson, eldest, guitarist, had on stage. I mean, that was an impressive pedal board man! And if you know anything about me, that's saying something. Cause when I say something, generally I've said it, myself. Hanson. Pedal board... hmm... I think we're all lucky I don't get paid for this part. Here's a picture!

No, I had a good time. The venue was neat... I didn't really get to look around, but the architecture and the layout (same thing?) was pretty groovy. It's not the most impressive gig size-wise if you're a touring band... but I bet it was a neat visual to drive up to in the tour van. It's not an old shit hole off the side of the 202 freeway, that used to be a Country music hall, now with no A/C, awful lights, and terrible sound. That's for sure.

I think the Hanson boys are doing alright. I don't see a big resurgence in their future, but I think they've got a pretty steady following, and they seem to be able to branch out. Heads on their shoulders and what not. Speaking of heads on shoulders, while I was waiting for Hanson to go on (head firmly attached to my neck)... a peculiar head and shoulder combination parked near me at the back of the venue. It was only TV's Frankie Muniz! He's actually now the drummer in a cracking band here in Phoenix called You Hang Up. I found out later that the paper I freelance for has been slagging him off pretty regularly. I didn't know that at the time... and after the show I ran into him again, so I asked for a photo. Initially, his posse cleared out like I asked if I could perform his yearly rectal exam... and he traded a look of similar unease with his girlfriend. I offered to not take the photo to avoid ruining the evening, but eventually his band came around and they got together for a photo. Had I known the back story, I would have tried to explain that I'm not an egomaniac who publicly attacks people who are trying to further their creative career, just because it doesn't gel with me, man. I say good on ya Frankie. I don't know if were on a first name basis yet, but I did introduce myself with my first name. So... Mr Muniz it is. Anyways, thanks for the pic. If you're out there.

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