Thursday, November 17, 2005
isn't it weird?*
i am not going to explain myself, or apologize, for liking the band hanson. you know that, somewhere, deep down, buried in the cockles of your tar-black heart, you like shitty music sometimes, too. is hanson a shitty band? yes, but it is sublimely good shitty music.
tc is a good friend. she gets it. she's funny as shit and she likes lame things, too, and isn't ashamed to admit it. i don't know anyone - really, no one - that would agree to go see hanson with me but her. granted, we laughed at the idea, and our tongues were so far in our cheeks that we poked holes, but we bought tickets. we even had a game plan - go eat hot dogs at portillo's after work, go to the house of blues, sit on stools at the ledge on the periphery of the club, get drunk, laugh and enjoy the awesomely bad music. we saw institute together not too long ago at the house of blues and expected the same number of people in attendance, if not fewer. hanson is not what i think to be a popular band. no one my age likes them, or ever has (i have been mocked for years for my hanson album collection). they released their second album in 1999 and i read that it sold 300,000 copies, which is a total and utter failure. i could sell 300,000 copies of a record, and i'm not signed to island/def jam. i was one of those people and i listened to it a lot as i drove through backwoods new hampshire the year i lived there. they were dropped by their label and self-released their new album (which i bought on amazon). they even released a documentary, Strong Enough to Break, about the pain of being dropped and doing it on their own terms and all that - I Am Trying To Break Your Heart it is not. i know someone that works for the chicago film fest and he told me that it had been submitted this summer for possible inclusion. he promptly threw it away. i was under the impression that the kidz don't like hanson; they all want to listen to fall out boy or whatever. i thought that no one liked them but me and tc. we imagined that we would show up to the venue, loll about, go claim some stools, have a sedate and drunken time watching the band chug through their old hits (written when they were like 11), call it a night. i wanted to take special care to observe who was in the audience with us, assuming it would be all girls perhaps our age, and wonder WHY they were there.
not so much. as we approached the house of blues, we saw the line. the innapropriately long, excited line, complete with scalpers and security trying to direct the swarm. it snaked around the corner and was full of high school-aged kids, boys and girls, and some adults (which seemed even weirder to me). there was an ambulance near the door, the way there is when you go see a big-name band. tc noted that it was in case a girl got her period for the first time that night. the club itself was packed. we were SO confused. this was not what we had imagined at all. we found ourselves in the mommy section (aka the bar in the back of the room) and watched as hordes as 14-to-17-year-olds freaked out, texted one another, ran around all giddy, put their new hanson hoodies on over their clothes. i thought i would feel super lame for going, but in a way that was like, "yeah, this IS sad, and i couldn't help but show up for it," not like, "i could be your mother. or your step-mom, at least."
the two opening bands sucked - what four (TERRIBLE NAME) and the pat mcgee band (the poor man's goo goo dolls - and i mean "iris"-era goo goo dolls). pat mcgee told a very telling story, about how last night he arrived to midway super late, as in when he needed to be getting ready to go on stage, and had to run through the airport, but complimented us on our el system and how fast it is - DUDE, you had to take the el to your own show? no one was there to pick you up? you can't afford a cab? tragic. so tc and i slammed some vodka cranberries and watched in horror as an obviously drunk (for the first time) girl in a camisole and heels fell over and rolled around laughing. if you ever think about having children, go spend an evening in the company of 2,000 high schoolers, and then go get your tubes tied.
so the curtain separated . . . and, umm . . . hanson . . . was playing . . . "optimistic" . . . by radiohead . . . from Kid A . . . holy christ, the crowd confused me enough, and now this? what the FUCK? it was so goddamned surreal. it was a more, err, harmonized and upbeat version of "optimistic," but . . . errrrr . . .
so i wont bother posting a set list, because you wont care anyway. they did do covers of bill wither's "ain't no sunshine," one of the best songs of all time, and they did an okay blue-eyed soul version, as well as a doobie brother's song (which i had heard before but i don't know what it's called, since i don't like shitty music - wink), and closed (with the pat mcgee band - ick) with "sweet home chicago." they did an acoustic "mmmbop" and sang a lot of songs off of all three of their albums. it was a good show. i was annoyed by the hunchbacked 25-year-old who looked 40 and went alone but came to make friends in the mommy section, as she kept yelling shit about how hot hanson is and how she wants to fuck them and how great their asses are and all sorts of other creepy seemingly-pedophiliac things. but i'm glad i went. i have liked them since they first came out, a sweet little christian family band of three pre-pubescent girl-lookin kids, and i keep telling people that SOMEDAY they will surprise everyone with how good they actually are. at this point i am surprised - not that they are any good, but that other people know this, too. and they're all 10 years younger than me.
* title would be taken from a song on their first album. featuring the most introspective lyrics ever penned by an 11-year-old: "Isn't it strange how we all feel a little bit weird sometimes?"
if you don't want to be my friend anymore, i understand.