Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hanson looks back while looking ahead

Courtesy photo
Zac Hanson thinks of his band as just a bit out of step, in a good way. When Zac and his two older brothers formed Hanson as a teen pop band in the 1990s, grunge was the hot sound. As the trio's music evolved, it was then out of step with the rhythmic pop sound that caught fire.
"Even today we almost sound like a 1970s band. We grew up listening to music from the '50s and '60s," said Hanson of the Oklahoma-raised trio's soul influences. "We don't worry too much about what is popular and what is on the radio. We aren't trying to sound like a disco band. Like it or hate it, music sounds like disco right now."
When: 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show Wednesday
Where: State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church
Info: $30 in advance, $35 day of show; 18-plus; 703-237-0300;
Think of Hanson as a Mac computer compared with a PC. Sure, both formats offer basically the same thing. Yet Mac has an array of unique features that either draw or repel certain people. It's the same with Hanson. How else to explain the loyal fans that immerse themselves in the band's music and events, something akin to a smaller army of Grateful Dead fans?
Now Hanson is on tour behind last year's "Shout It Out, " that spun off two hits, "Thinking 'Bout Somethin" and "Give a Little."
The bandmates aren't organizing charity events on this tour as they have in the past although they're still heavily involved in raising funds for the needy. One recent effort included playing a 12-hour, live-streamed concert from South by Southwest to raise funds for Japanese earthquake victims.
One reason is the trio is heavily involved in rehearsals for this ongoing tour because fans choose the set list of each night's show.
"When you're not in control [of the set list], you want to make sure you have more time [to rehearse]," said Hanson. "It's really cool and a way to say thank you to our fans. Next year will be 20 years since we formed and 15 years since our breakout success. This is a way to look back and still move ahead promoting our [last] album."
Not that the format has been without some challenges, Hanson said with a laugh.
"As far as preparation, it's all practice, practice, practice," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult to remember your own lyrics, songs you know so well and you get to them and blank out. That happens sometimes. The other night, Taylor forgot the second verse of ["Carry You There"] and the fans just picked it up and sang it."

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