Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HopJam 2016 - Hanson's Beer Festival- Year 3


          This year marked the third year of Hanson's international Beer festival. This year it was bigger and better than ever, except for what I would consider a major flaw, it was  the first year that Hanson did not play at the festival and though fans had been told previous years that they would not always play, Hanson kept it hush-hush until the last possible second. I know some fans were annoyed especially those who spent more money to stay Sunday just to see Hanson. I get that they probably didn't want to tell us for fear that attendance would go down but silly Hanson don't you know that Hanson fans will almost support you in anything. At this point I should just admit that my soul belongs to Hanson.
          Since Hanson wasn't playing I wasn't in a mad rush to head out straight to the festival, I ended up visiting some local places that I either usually have to rush through or always ended up missing. I visited my favorite store (IDA REDS), restaurant(COMOS), the chocolate store(Glacier's), Mayfest and the Philbrook downtown.  
     After my exploring I decided to take a break at Guntrie Green where I was not only surprised to hear Hanson over the loud speakers but I almost collided with a news crew who happened to be there interviewing Taylor about the festival. I retreated to  a table where I thought I could watch the interview unnoticed but sadly I am not a coordinated person and when I went rest against the table I missed and ended up bumping into the table instead, which made quite loud noise and alerted Taylor Hanson to my presence. He smiled and waved and continued the interview. Let me repeat that TAYLOR HANSON SMILED AND WAVED AT ME BECAUSE HE RECOGNIZED ME!!!!
          After the interview I had no intention of bothering him but then I remember I actually had something to tell him, a true rarity. I told him that Hanson should make a wine. (I will never be much of a beer drinker, except of course when Hanson is on the label, believe me, I know how sad that sounds.) I told him that they should call the wine "The Grape Divide", he laughed and said that it was good idea and he would keep it in mind, and then a girl came up asked for picture, so I volunteered to take the picture and then thought heck I want a picture too! He agreed, so I turned around to ask someone to take the picture and THERE WAS NO ONE THERE. For possibly the first time and only time it was just me and Taylor Hanson. I ended up asking Taylor to take a selfie, and thankfully it came it out. I thanked him and was about to leave when the cutest thing happened: two little kids (practically toddlers) ambled up to him with their father. The dad explained that the kids had been waiting all day to give the Hanson brothers gumballs. Before my eyes Taylor went into dad-mode, as he got down on one knee and happily accepted 3 gumballs from their tiny hands and exclaimed that this was the most awesomest that had happened all day. My heart melted, literally melted and I knew in that moment something I think I already knew deep down, Taylor Hanson is not only a great and lovely human being but an amazing father. To know a person like Taylor Hanson in any capacity is an honor.   


Highlights
  • Everyone seemed to have ordered a HopJam Beer Package, and nobody seemed to know where to buy individual tasting tickets. I spent an hour looking for the table.
  • Hanson had five beers to taste, Mmmhops and the Festive Ale are still my favorite, and the new flavor "Tulsa Tea" which one would think would be kind of sweet, was absolutely vile in my opinion.
    Hanson's Beer Flavors
  • 3CG  was turned into the lost and found and I kept joking that I would get lost on purpose.
  • The bakery next to 3CG had MMMHops infused foods: the MMMHops chocolate pie, was quite good.
  • Hanson favorited two of my tweets about the festival. 
  • Cute early Hanson photos were posted in window of the brewery next to 3CG
  • A mural was painted by local artists behind 3CG: 
    Zac Hanson getting interviewed about donating the wall and the mural 
  • I caught the Xambassadors and Hanson as they joined the all the bands on stage for the Encore of John Lennon's Instant Karma  
  • This year the HopJam was  a lot more organized with a bunch of activities: beers, food trucks, live music on both the main stage and the park stage. It was a lot more family oriented this year and I unfortunately didn't  explore enough and completely missed the life sized games they had behind Cain's Ballroom.
  • At the end of the festival, I ran into Zac and was able to get a quick picture. Sadly, I didn't hardly see Ike all festival, rumor was he had to go home to pack for the Show "Greatest Hits" which I ended up attending the day after I got back from Tulsa.  
Til next year!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

MOE/Hanson Day 2016: My Perspective and my Review


          This year marked my 6th year making the trek to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Six years!  I would have never thought I would visit Tulsa for Hanson Day once, let alone six times and probably a 7th, come next year, since Taylor Hanson is forcing us all to come back for their 25th year!  Through the years I have learned that MOEs (Member Only Events) are like potato chips, you can't just have one.

Monday, July 25, 2016

We Both Know we Could Never Choose


      Okay since I have been lazy with getting my Hanson Day Recap blog done ( I swear it’s coming), and Hanson just posted this poll (H.net under“Hanson Ask”), asking the Hanson.net community to choose their top 25 Hanson Songs.  I thought I would share my choices.
My list (In no particular order)
  1. A Song to Sing
  2. Been There Before 
  3. Cry/Cried
  4. Dancin' in the Wind
  5. Every Word I Say
  6. Got a Hold On Me
  7. IF ONLY
  8. Tragic Symphony 
  9. Weird
  10. These Walls (I prefer Acoustic version)
  11. Lost Without Each Other 
  12. Lost Without You
  13. Crazy Beautiful
  14. I've Been Down
  15. Strong Enough to Break
  16. Save Me
  17. Use Me Up
  18. Thinking 'Bout Somethin' 
  19. Penny and Me
  20. A Minute Without You
  21. Already Home
  22. Watch Over Me (If "Grace Unknown had been option, it would have replaced this. Hands down my favorite Ike song.) 
  23. Believe
  24. Cut Right Through Me
  25. MMMBop



The Process

When I first went through the list my immediate thought was: “WHO picked this list?!”, because really It felt like Hanson just threw darts at song titles listed on pieces of paper but then I realized it was the alphabetical order that was confusing me. 
I wish they had listed the songs by albums instead, because even though I am Hanson fan, half the time I can’t remember the names. “Take our Chances” ( I had to Google to get the title) and “Waiting For This”(Always want to call it Shout it Out), are especially hard for me.
Once I got past the confusion I quickly went through and checked all my favorites. It wasn’t until I got to number 14, that I started to struggle. So I went back up to the top and actually read the directions.
  
“Pick the songs you think both represent our greatest, but also the way you would share our music with the world. “   

Basically this told me to include MMMBop on my list, where I would have normally left it off, I don’t know if it’s because people normally associate Hanson with MMMBop or that Hanson almost feels obligated to play it  at every show but MMMBop usually makes the short list for me. I then proceeded to check the songs that hardly ever get skipped on my iPod. Watch Over Me made the list because I felt I needed an Ike song even though I am tired of hearing this song live.
The last five songs were the hardest for me to pick and the debate I had between “Cut right Through Me” and “Fired up” about gave me an aneurysm. I end up launching the pop-out media player on Hanson.net and listening to the tracks that I was having the most trouble with. “Cut Right Through Me” ended up making the list for being a far more solid song (lyrically) than “Fired up, in my opinion.

Honorable Mentions:
1)    Fired Up:  I love this song and it’s great live but the hokey lyrics is why it got cut. “Come with us, if you want to live…” Would I share this song with non-Hanson fans, probably not? Sorry, Hanson.  
2)    In the City:  This list feels wrong not to have this song on it and I had contemplated switching “Ive Been Down” with this  but I love the latter more. If I could have cut MMMBOP, In the City would be on the list.
3)    Georgia:  This is one of my favorites on The Walk album but it was this or “Been There Before” and Been There Before will always win. ALWAYS! But I am thinking I should have taken off “Save me” and  put this!
4)    Carry You There:  Solid song. I like it and it grows on me every day.


What my List Says About Me

1)    I’m a Taylor Girl:  No Surprise There. I think Isaac and Zac got one song each, sorry guys.
2)    I am not much of a ballad person:  This I knew. I rely on Hanson to pull me out of my funk or whatever and sad songs just make me sadder.
3)    If I had to pick just one song: IF ONLY. This was the song that not only introduced me to the band but made me love them. I will never get tired of hearing this song!
4)    My favorite ALBUM is according to numbers:
 MON: 4
TTA: 3
Underneath: 7 (With Every Word I say)
The Walk: 4 (With I’ve Been Down)
SIO:3  
Anthem: 4

This is surprising since Underneath is not my favorite album, Anthem is but I guess there are more songs on Underneath that I feel define Hanson.

So what are your top 25 Hanson songs?!
Also check out Tall Bald Fan's podcast the "H-Bomb Show"  as he debates the best Hanson Songs from each album in the weeks to come! 



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hanson's Loud EP: You're the One that Brings me Back

Zac Hanson's painting of "Loud", the cover of the new EP @HDay Gallery 2016

     Hi all! I  returned from the Middle of Nowhere ( Tulsa, Ok) about a week ago and I finally stopped dancing to Hanson's new EP: Loud, long enough to sit down and write a review. 
            Hanson's new EP Loud was given to all fan club members who attended Hanson Day/ MOE 2016. If you are a fan club member who didn't get a chance to attend your EP should arrive in mail sometime next week. Hanson's EP Loud features 5 mostly up beat tracks and is actually part one of a two EP set. Hanson's second EP: Play, releases October 10th of this year and will have five more (live) tracks. The 10 tracks are supposed to make up for Hanson not releasing a new album this year.
            If the first 5 tracks of Loud are any indication of what Play will sound like, then I will not be disappointed.
The Tracks

1)    Ooh La La La: Fun. This track is just pure simple fun. No deep meaning here, just the simple elation one gets when an attractive person passes them on the street and your immediate thought is: DAMN, or in this case Ooh La, La, La. This song is catchy, I dare you  not to get the "Damn good lookings and the Oh La,La,La stuck in your head.  This song also says everything I've thought about Taylor Hanson, just in case you wanted to know.
Favorite lyrics: "I know every thread you wear is woven to entice. How you use it ain't fair."
2)    Stop me in Tracks: My favorite track on this EP. If this whole EP isn't a love letter to fans, this song certainly is. I know it's ridiculous to think this one track could pertain to us, this song could easily be about any person, place, or thing but when I first heard it live at the Hanson Day concert, in its completed form, it just screamed: HANSON.
            I thought yes, Hanson you finally understand what most the fan base has been trying to tell for 19 years! That at the end of the day when I am worn down, beaten, and at end of my rope, Hanson it's you andyour music that brings me back! This song is awesome live, and it was amazing to see hundreds of fellow fans during the concert with their arms raised screaming "I don't wake up DEAD INSIDE!" I felt in that moment, that we were all connected, that we had somehow reached a greater understanding our love for this band.  Someone please comment below, and let me know if you felt it too, or at least know what I'm talking about so I don't feel like a crazy person.
 Favorite lyrics: "When I get home, Monday morning I have the scars to prove it."
3)    No Rest for the Weary: I am lyrics person and boy does this song have them. The type of lyrics that just flow and when you hear them you go, "Oh, damn that was good line!" I had a friend state that this song was the best Hanson song in years, and I am inclined to agree. It's definitely could of been new album worthy. With every new EP there is usually one song that stands out above the rest, this is that song.
 Favorite Lyrics: Basically, the whole 2nd verse but, "Cause my feet can't move to where my heart just aint."
4)    Something Loud: This is the best Isaac song! I know, I know I said that about " For your Love" and "Grace Unknown" is probably my favorite Isaac lead but with every new Hanson chapter, Isaac songs continue to impress me. And this song is just fun, with great lyrics! 
Favorite Lyrics:  "Every pint is a picture of home."
5)    Siren Call: This is my least favorite track on the album. Loud is so upbeat, catchy, and dare I say loud, that this balled just seems to bring everything down, but maybe it's strategically placed. A calm to a high, a means to an end, the rest after climax, the last resounding note in a beautiful masterpiece? Maybe I'm just selfish and like the songs states I want to enjoy every second "before the music stops", thank god for repeat!
Favorite Lyrics: "But when we stop, it starts to beat of your aching heart."

As a whole, the Loud EP is solid. The best Hanson EP in years, every track can be played straight through and sound is 100% Hanson. Now if only Hanson would release Play in a CD format so Loud and Play could be a MATCHING set! Come on guys!
My other favorite Hanson EPS: Facing the Blank Page and Sound of Light.
Next blog: Hanson Day 2016 Recap.  



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Something Goin Around: The Hanson Fan Complex.


           I have been a Hanson Fan for almost 13 years and most of the fandom for even longer. In my almost 13 years I have observed and learned a lot of things. The first thing you need to know is that the Hanson fandom are  very dedicated and  passionate when it's comes this band. Every fan I've ever met has said that Hanson's music changed their life in some way. 
          The second thing you need to know, is with this passion and dedication transpires a complex and for lack of a  better name something I have named: THE HANSON COMPLEX.  No matter how big or small of a  Hanson Fan one is, we all have this complex. If you're Hanson fan you have it, I'm sorry. *  However, the complex is not whatever compels  fans to go through Hanson's trash. That's just good old fashion, crazy.
The Hanson Fan Complex
            In my mind the Hanson Fan Complex is made of up of 3 parts. I might be missing one or two, please comment below if you think of anymore.  I have personally experienced all three parts but if you have done one or two it still counts.  I have titled each part for easier explanation.
  •   The  Hurry up and Wait: Hanson Fans are the only fan base I know that rushes to do a Hanson -related activity just to end up having  to wait, and I'm not talking about standing in line for a concert, hours before doors, even though we do that too. I am talking about rushing to the computer to buy presale concert tickets, only to have to wait for the time that they go on sale and then waiting months for the concert. Rushing to buy plane tickets for Hanson events, right after the dates have been announced, not to mention booking hotels. I was nervous waiting until February to book my flight to Hanson Day this year which takes place in May!

            Now  Hanson Time might be to blame for some of  the waiting, but not all.  Last year hundreds of fans and I waited for over 2 hours in line just to give the band money for merchandise! WE WAITED IN LINE TO PAY THEM!!


  • The "I Don't need this, but I Need This : Now this one is more merch related. Hanson releases new merchandise on like a monthly basis.  Do you need that new shirt? No.  You already have at least one Hanson shirt but are you going to buy the new shirt? Probably. I mean, I own 2 pairs of Hanson sunglasses and  I am  not real sure why, except last year's pair came in my favorite color.

              When it comes to Hanson I have learned that I always end up spending more than I originally planned because something I just suddenly need comes along. I hope this Hanson day I  can do better, but I'm not going to bet on it.
  •  The "Maybe I Could": Also known as wishful thinking. This involves looking at flights, because maybe, just maybe, you could  fit that extra tour date into your schedule or that BTTI vacation! Never mind you haven't found a way to pay for it. If only, you could get time off . You'll figure it out, you're a Hanson Fan! Sometimes it doesn't work out but if there is a glimmer of hope it might, you'll try every angle to make it so!

          I've taken finals early, road tripped for hours, skipped school, gotten shifts covered, carpooled, slept on the sidewalk, stayed up way past my bedtime, and sometimes just straight up lied just so I could attend a Hanson-related event.
            That in a nut-shell is the Hanson complex, I know how crazy and absurd it sounds to any non-fan. It is, but it also very real and sometimes stressful. It might be an addiction but Hanson is also my passion and I would not trade the moments/ memories that this Hanson Complex has given me.
Not for anything.
Michelle
*The complex does not apply to those who just like Hanson's music.
PS.  Heading to Tulsa this month for Hanson Day 2016! I can't wait! I expect my next blog to be about that!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Struggle is the price an Artist Pays: In This Record Label Charade

   I've been wanting to write a blog  giving an in depth look into Hanson's struggle with their old label, while also reflecting on record labels in general. It seemed  most appropriate now, especially with  Kesha's recent courtroom drama.  The idea for this blog came about when was  I looking through my CD collection, for CDs to sell and on the top of the pile was"Greetings From the Imrie House" by The Click 5.  Five pretty-boy college  guys in matching suits  who played their own instruments, and whose catchy single "Just  the Girl" dominated MTV and the music charts in 2004/2005. What happened to the Click 5, whose perfect hair captured my 16 year old heart , more than their music ever did?
            After a quick Google search, I  found a  sad story of a band who rose too fast and fell  even faster and their label who I'm sure at one point claimed they were a great talent, asset, and whatever else they say to musicians to get them to sign a contract, did nothing to help matters.  In 2007, their lead-singer and founder of the band quit, obviously unsatisfied with the label but instead of trying to appease him, they replaced him, which is just a slap in the face to the fandom, who were not impressed with the "makeover" and therefore the  2nd album bombed. Their Wikipedia page was highlighted with trigger quotes: A producer declaring "He was not a Dictator." and" The band felt that label would not let them make REAL music."
Hanson VS. Island Def-Jam
            This of course reminded me of Hanson and their struggles/ war with their newly acquired label Island Def-Jam in 2002. Long story short, their old label was absorbed in what the was the largest music merger in history. Hundreds of artists were immediately dropped and it is my firm belief had Hanson's second record not just been released, they too would have also been on that list. Which in the long run, might have been easier than ending up on a rap label with Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.
            Hanson did everything to appease their new label, they worked with every singer, songwriter, and producer their label suggested and submitted over 80 different songs and still got rejected to record. . Jeff Fenster (A &R) went as far to say that he felt they had many good/ great Hanson songs but would not give the green light to record.  I mean what more could  they ask for, except for Hanson to sound like Hanson?  Instead they felt Hanson needed to be tortured for almost three years.  The main problem was IDJ and Jeff Fenster didn't know Hanson's sound, except what most of the world knew which is Mmmbop.  
            A record company gets so caught up in the gimmick of selling the artist, whether it's matching suits, or three young boys with long blonde hair, the reason they signed them         ( talent) becomes an afterthought.  This is where I feel  most record companies fail their artists, they gets so lost in the logistics and money (which it is a lot), that they refuse to put ounce of faith, that someone like Hanson, who has sold over 15 million albums might know something about their music. As Taylor Hanson said "They get made the bad guys, just because they wanted a say in their music."
             Labels view most musical groups as only a five year investment. I read this fact in an article talking about how record companies were amazed One Direction was still going strong. Five years doesn't allow a lot of time for putting trust in an artist, but it seems to be enough time to view them as objects, something to be  controlled. I mean Nick Carter had to fight his record company (IDJ) to get married on the day he wanted! Elton John had to take his newest album to another label after his original label rejected it!
            Hanson realizes they are brand and knows their market is mainly their fans! Regardless of the amount of cash a label throws down towards an artist, it is the fans that  will always make the biggest investment and I wish companies would stop viewing us as disposable. Kesha is still fighting to make her music, to keep her fans. It seems record companies act as if they have all the time in the world but everyday fans are lost and one less fan equal one less concert ticket sold.
            Record company  focus so much on the numbers  and the selling  of an artist/music it seems they often forget who they are selling it to: THE FANS!  This is one of things Hanson does best! Their music comes first and then their fans and they always make their music  with their fans in mind! This is why I am so happy to be part of this fandom. Hanson knew they needed to break away from IDJ if they wanted to keep their fans and the career they have.  I have never met a band that does more for their fans, correct me, if I am wrong. They do concerts, meet and greets, live streams,  a three day free event for fan clubs members aka Hanson day, they include fans in their music videos, and even in their island vacations, because of this Hanson has reaped the greatest rewards.  In 2004 , Hanson had number one independent album (Underneath), and a popular  single that IDJ wouldn't ever let them record!
            Today Hanson is still going  strong with 4 more albums under the belt  and just this month they made the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine which is greater and has more meaning than any Teen Beat.


This just goes to show, that no record company knows an artist better than the artist!
PS. If you are a Hanson fan and haven't seen Hanson's documentary about their struggles with their label, watch"Strong Enough to Break" here.
If you are a Hanson fan who owns "Strong Enough to Break" I highly recommend watching it with the commentary!
Michelle
           


   

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hanson in Los Angeles: Roots & Rock n' Roll Tour, November 1st &2nd


            First of all, I want to say Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Second, I am sorry I am so late with this blog post, I often have a horrible time getting all my ideas together.
            For this blog I decided to combine both days into one post because the format of the tour is the same. These dates took place in my home town of Los Angeles, at The Fonda Theater, a venue located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the heart of Hollywood. The venue had a classic theater feel, complete with a balcony and creepy paintings of naked people on the walls.

v November 1st: Covers Night, had a 23 song set list.  It didn't vary much from New Orleans. But they did play "Signed, Sealed, & Delivered", which I don't think I've heard live before. They also played "Lost Without Each Other", which is something they don't play enough.
v November 2nd: Classic Hanson Concert, featured a 25 song set list.
Major Highlight: During Ike's Solo, where the consensus of the crowd seemed to be wishing he'd play anything but "Hand and Hand", someone screamed "Rain" and he played the first verse, before "Hand and Hand"!

·        My friend Holly exclaimed that the Los Angeles Shows were the best of the tour and having only done one other stop this tour I am inclined to agree.
·        The crowd was on fire, the energy was tangible. Everywhere I turned people were singing and dancing along. In New Orleans the crowd seemed mainly to be made of people who hadn't seen the band in 10 years, Los Angeles had the veterans. They had been there before (pun, intended) and they were happy Hanson was home.
·        The crowd was also respectful during the ballads. Hearing Taylor sing Leon Russell's "Song for You" will always be a gem. Hearing it in almost total silence, it's a masterpiece.

·        During the After Party people ACTUALLY danced and the people who lined up against the stage to stare at Taylor had plenty of room to dance as well, and they did.
·        Taylor Hanson singing/mouthing the words to "Pony" by Ginuwine is not something I will forget anytime soon.
·        During The Walk, besides having to dodge broken glass on the sidewalk, I ate concrete and my camera went flying. When my friend mentioned this to Taylor and he cutely said " Oh no, those darn feet!"

·        Taylor stood in the middle of the street blocking traffic as he does every walk but in Los Angeles this is a no-no.  When the cars proceeded to rudely honk and I mean laying on the horn for a good minute, Taylor stood his ground and calmly said into his bullhorn, "You can wait, just a minute." Some fans weren't so sure, and joked that we'd have to jump in front of a car to save him from getting hit.
·        When we stopped at a Chase Bank mid-walk, Taylor almost got yelled at by the bank manager for standing on their planter, but he stopped mid-sentence when he noticed the crowd of people with him. Taylor got down and told us all to open Chase checking accounts when we left.
·        Every time I walked from venue to my friend's hotel room I kept running into Natalie's (Taylor's wife) brother and hoped he didn't think I was stalking him. But I swear every time I turned around, there he was.            
·        On Night two it rained, which is a rarity in California. It basically turned The Hollywood Walk of Fame into a giant slip and slide.  A friend ran across the street to 7/11 and bought trash bags and passed them out to those who didn't have rain gear.
·         I am sure the trash bag raincoats and wet fans looked lovely on camera, when "Entertainment Tonight" came out to film the line. Needless to say, they did not use that footage (Thank God!) for their Hanson piece.
·        Rebel Wilson was at the show.
·        There was a random guy outside the venue who was selling his homemade Hanson shirts from 1998. He said he had, had them in storage for 18 years! They were so comical and by the end of night two, he was selling them for a dollar.
·        Another guy showed up to sell his homemade Hanson shirts with "tour dates" on the back.  A friend of mine told him the dates were wrong and the guy blamed his printer. 
·        Hanson and most of the opening bands came out fairly early after the  last show.  Zac got pissed when people didn't want things signed and therefore left early. Ike and Taylor stayed and basically took pictures with everybody.
      Thus ends my Roots and Rock n Roll Tour adventures. Every Hanson tour is different but every tour brings more music, more memories, more friends, and of course MORE Hanson. In my mind, these are life changing  experiences. I can't wait until my next Hanson adventure(probably Hanson Day 2016)!
Michelle


Ps. I didn't get to partake in the experience that was BTTI 2016 (maybe someday), but my friend Holly did! So check out her blog  and learn what it truly means to be a Traveling Hanson Fan!
Also to find out The Walk cause and how you can help, you can visit Take the Walk.net!