Monday, June 15, 2015

The 5 Most Significant Songs To Come From A Member Kit CD

There's a difference between terming something a "favorite" and/or "best" and terming it significant. There are certainly a few songs not listed here from member kit albums that rank as high or even higher that the tracks here. A pair of the songs listed below I'm not even a big fan of.

But these are the ones that shift expectations, stand out the most as unique, or just flat out represent the band at its best.

5 - Dance Like You Don't Care
Bizarre and out of place...and there's your appeal. Probably the epitome of the band realizing the disc is only going to be heard by the most dedicated fans, so they can do whatever they want. No idea if it's leading to anything or if it's just a random one-off, but it shows that we can still be surprised in 2015. This is the most off the path song we've had on a member kit so far.

4 - Panic In The Streets
Another track that would never show up on a standard album but seems to have become a fan favorite. Subject matter of a seemingly violent revolution isn't usually what you'd expect from this band. Very unique mood projected, there isn't really anything else like it in the Hanson arsenal.

3 - Down
The opening track on the very first fan club disc (we don't talk about the MOE Enhanced CD around these parts unless you want to discuss that first person shooter game that didn't have any actual guns that was on the disc) highlights everything the band does right when they are in slow-down mode. Some of the best lyrics the band has ever turned out don't hurt, either. This really felt like the track that bridged the very long gap between TTA and Underneath.

2 - Sonny Get Your Gun
2011's disc starts with a hell of a departure from what people were probably expecting. This was the first real evidence that convinced me that the band could probably go off and do some kind of concept album under a different name and manage to make it work. It feels like it could go to more places than it does, but a major part of the appeal is you're left wanting more.

1 - Rock N Roll Razorblade
Shortly after it was released on the original fan club disc it became a staple of the Acoustic 2003 tour. The first time I heard them play it in that format it wound up being the best song of the show. It was a high-tier Hanson song to begin with, but the fact that it has grown beyond the original studio version over the years (the version from the L&E album is an impressive evolution of the track) was what really impressed. There is a "focused frenzy" to the modern incarnation of this song that is not present in any other that they offer. It has gone from being track 2 on album that only the fan club members had to a pretty iconic live song for the band. Probably the best song to ever come off a fan club disc, and one of the best they have in their entire catalog.


No news at the moment, but thinking about some plans for this site (now that I've got that rad domain) but it's gonna take some time, so it'll be a while. Hopefully later this year things will get rolling.

Probably going to post something for the next entry that'll anger a few people (although guessing I'll get some agreement as well). May try to update on the 1st and 15th of the month from now on. promises on that.

The King Has Risen.


Monday, June 1, 2015

"Where We Belong" - Moments From H-Day 2015

On paper, this year's Hanson Day stuff looked to be a near carbon copy of last year's. I wasn't planning on attending. Last year was fun, but unlike last year which had some built-in hype based around the 10 year anniversary for Underneath and the curiosity around what the beer festival would turn out to be, this year seemed pretty by the numbers. I had a lot of things pop up in 2014 that seemed to assure there was no way I'd be making it this year - getting there last year was very difficult as well but now it was at another level.

I don't know how it happened, but by March it was suddenly not only possible but very simple to make it happen, so I did it. It turned out to be a good decision; I think overall it wound up being a better weekend than 2014's incarnation.

I'll do my best to describe why these events stood out for me. Heads up: not all of these are directly related to the music. This includes the great, the bad, the ugly. Why six? I dunno, because it's more than five.

Six things I'll take from 2015's Hanson Day events:

1) Bridges of Stone during the Isaac presentation. Like the Underneath presentation last year, Isaac brought out some TTA stuff so we could hear variations of it - different mixes, stuff that may have been changed or eliminated on the final album versions. At the conclusion, he played a final studio version of Bridges of Stone.

There are no illusions here - the vast majority of us have had the studio version of that song for around 10 years now. But for some reason, actually hearing someone in the band presenting that version of it inside a concert venue made it resonate. It resurrected memories of what was probably my "favorite time" being in and around this fanbase. The excitement over when a new TTA or Underneath demo or song would leak prior to official release and making sure all your friends had it. It's almost too easy now - just put something on Mediafire and throw a link on Facebook or whatever. Back then you kind of had to reach out to your friends one by one to make sure they got it, then transfer it to them over AIM or email it or whatever. Seeing friends I've had for well over a decade now - some of which are those same people I used to exchange tracks with - sitting a couple rows in front of me swaying back and forth during the "you can only wait..." part near the end ALMOST GOT ME ALL EMOTIONAL AND WHATNOT.

2) "Roller Coaster Love." This song works damn well in a live environment and felt like it should be part of the regular set rotation immediately. During the member's concert there appeared to be some issues with lyrics memorization, but when they played it again at the Hop Jam it came off much better, even in front of a large crowd that didn't know the song. Not bad for a track that was barely a blip on the radar for me previously.

3) Unexpected return of an old friend. Like I said, this wasn't all going to be directly Hanson related. I was a bit down that some of my friends I see (almost) every year didn't make the trip this year. As bad as that was, it was overshadowed by the coolest thing that's happened to me at a Hanson event since the TBG thing took off. The first "long distance" fan-friend I ever made ~13 years ago is someone I haven't seen in about 4 years, and I sure as heck didn't think I'd be seeing her anytime soon. Got an excited message on Facebook after I checked into a place in Tulsa on Thursday - "I had no idea you were going! I'll be there tomorrow!" Actually seeing her on Friday at Cain's before the presentations started was something I won't forget. ALMOST GOT ME ALL EMOTIONAL AND WHATNOT.

4) The next generation is in good hands.  For a lot of us this Hanson stuff has been going on for a long time. The group of people that made travelling from show to show and camping out in line overnight in the 2003 acoustic tour era a "thing" are now all around 30 years old (and I'm several years past THAT). This event was the first time I've been firmly entrenched in a group for a Hanson event since 2007.  I've gone to shows solo with very few exceptions. This year I was not only in a group, but a group where I'm older than everyone else by 12-15 years. I did my best to avoid coming off as the weird old guy and think for the most part did a decent job. I was asked a couple times by various people for advice on certain things (not important life stuff, but HANSON stuff, which I'm probably better at advice on anyway), and that made me feel useful. For a tired old grouch like me, it's really energizing to see people in their early 20's that are experienced enough at this stuff to not overreact to everything that happens, yet are not the least bit jaded and still genuinely excited for it.

I've gained a lot through them. "Kids" to watch over if things ever get out of hand, More importantly, valued friends. I've even had a long-standing hope finally become realized over the last year by getting to be friends with another GUY I can now hang out with at this stuff who *isn't* some weird/creepy dude. It's awesome. For any times I pick up the check at dinner or do some random nice thing for any of them, it's nothing compared to what this "Generation 2" has done for my attitude about these events. Whenever all my old friends and I finally disappear from this stuff, these people will keep it going. They're the best.

5) Hours and hours in line. Was hoping this would have been improved from last year. I was in line with two friends to go into the store - we weren't even that far back, maybe a few dozen people - and it took like 90 minutes to even get in the door. This is something fans definitely have to assist with as well, since some of them get in there and putz around indecisively for like 15 minutes, but there HAS to be a better way, even if it's moving the store to a slightly larger location with a couple more people on staff. Heck, open the attached garage area up and put the store in there. Not as glamorous but probably more efficient.

Registration wasn't exactly lightning fast either, although a little better than last year. Even one more person working registration would make a significant difference. Standing in the sun for that long ALMOST GOT ME ALL EMOTIONAL AND WHATNOT.

6) Another One Bites The Dust. Last year Hanson Prom (officially the "afterparty," but come on...HANSON PROM) was an incredibly fun event, with all three guys participating in blasting some tunes for the fan club members at Cain's shortly after the member's concert had concluded. Regardless of why you attended - you actually wanted to dance around, or you wanted to watch people, or you wanted to get fallin' down drunk (or all three) it was like 2 and a half hours of good times. This year's sequel was a total mess - and I probably loved it even more than last year's. Right out of the gate, during the member's concert the weather had taken a very violent turn, and within minutes of people exiting the concert, a tornado warning was issued. Sitting in a car with my friends, staring at people standing in line to get back in to Cain's during a torrential downpour was baffling. Eventually the doors opened and people started streaming in. As Taylor started off the music with "The Sign" by Ace of Base (ha!) and everyone was wringing the water out their hair and shirts, people began to bring him drinks. To his credit, from what I was told he didn't appear to refuse anything. On the other hand, this seemed to lead to the greatest trainwreck I've ever seen at any Hanson event. Describing it with words doesn't do it justice, so I'll just quickly summarize by saying by the last 30 minutes or so, we were getting "Another One Bites The Dust" played at an alarming rate. It would play, something else would play, then it would start up again, but joined already in progress. A couple other songs would play, then the John Deacon bassline would come up again...already in progress, and this time at the wrong tempo. I went outside with a friend for a couple minutes (the rain had finally stopped by then), only to hear Taylor say over the mic he'd see us all tomorrow...then said a few other things...then again that he'd see us all tomorrow. Then a few other things. Then that he'd see us all tomorrow. Here's a video of the evening's end. DJ Taylor Says Goodnight

Again - that was mighty nice of him to not refuse any of those drinks.

Yes, it stunk that it ended a lot earlier than the prior year's (probably only about 90 minutes total), but I wouldn't trade it. No one who was there will ever forget it. Can't wait to see what we get for Hanson Prom 2016.


That's it for entry one. Already have a couple of ideas for the next few, there is going to be a strong effort to make these shorter from here on out. Not sure of how frequently I'll post, but I'll do it when I can.

Each entry that's incident/life based rather than discussion/criticism-based is going have a non-Hanson song title in it which I'll link at the end of the post (using Hanson songs would be too easy). Each song will have some tie-in to the topic at hand, but don't feel obligated to dig that deeply into it or even listen to it - you have my personal guarantee these songs are all awesome.

The King Has Risen.


Blog title taken from Devin Townsend Project - Where We Belong
Soon we will belong
Summer's coming, now we're coming

Back where we belong