Friday, October 24, 2008
A week ago Wednesday night was uncharacteristically warm here in Charm City. The Power Plant hopped with outdoor activity as the pulse of the underground beat palpably live. Rams Head Live, to be precise.
Not getting cute, simply setting the mood.
Only a first floor performance according to one red-shirted security guard who preferred to remain anonymous 'cause he's liking his job. In other words, the expected crowd wouldn't need second or third floor accommodations. Still, a sizable cabal of loyalist groupies, hard core locals, and some curious sprinkled in for good measure mingled on the floor in anticipation.
Just out of reach backstage chilled the brothers Hanson.
Oh yeah, I tried using verbal press cred to work my way past the guard (a new job with better street cred remains on my horizon), but the folks down at Rams Head stood their ground. Beware the lone blogger sniffing for celebrity fodder. Mike their blond-haired customer service rep was so incredibly nice, accommodating, and surprisingly professional, it was impossible to hate. No matter how hard I tried to wheedle face time with Hanson ... with their manager ... even Rams Head's media liaison, their man Mike would not budge, yet always with a smile.
Neither would Mark the media manager, nor anyone from Hanson's entourage.
And so, I did what any self-respecting "came downtown in the middle of the week to be treated like crappola" blogger would do in the face of unyielding opposition.
I spun a story from whole cloth.
That's right. This article isn't an earth rattling interview about Hanson's charity work in Africa. It's not an expose about the group taking matters into their own hands -- kicking record producing honchos to the curb -- to make music on their own terms. It's not about how they transformed their former bebop style to a more melodic "new music rock" sound. It's not even a poetic comparison between them and that hugely popular hippie band, The Grateful Dead, who likewise would not bow to the powers that be, playing towns across America as the faithful followed closely behind.
Nah. Because of sticky sweet Mike, and roadblock Mark, and husky yellow-shirted guard guy this article is about fresh faced Jamie Gibbons, a likable 24-year old fan who's been addicted to Hanson since the tender age of 11.
Jamie rattled off names of songs like Where's the Love, Crazy Beautiful, Penny 'n Me, and This Time Around to exemplify Hanson's maturation. Too bad I have yet to indulge, but that's just because I'm old and decrepit.
"I liked them at first because they were cute, but now it's different," Jamie professed. "I'm insanely impressed with the dedication to their music. They push forward and because of that, they're one of my favorite bands."
When asked for the name of another favorite band, Jamie coyly identified boyfriend Brian, the bass player of Shane Hines and the Trance. Later, out of nowhere, Brian appeared exuding ultimate cool. We ended up exchanging pleasantries and information, along with my enthusiastic agreement to write about his band's unconfirmed D.C. concert should it ever come to pass. Sure, I'll monitor the band's myspace for updates. Maybe by then I can actually work my new job and not rely on the kindness of strangers for celebrity face time.
Brian also mentioned Hanson's free download which explains why the brothers dropped out of the mainstream. Many have no idea their band is still around. I'd say they need better publicity. The crowd is less than I would expect for such a big name, but Brian thought it was a pretty good showing considering they're appearing in Baltimore in the middle of the week.
The brothers are now older, married, and parents themselves which might explain the switch from bebop to a more serious genre. No way to know for certain, but that's the rumor I'm floating around.
Hey, all I asked for was 5 minutes backstage. You'd think someone would want to comply.
When Hanson hit the stage at a quarter past, the huddled masses went wild. Those at the very front nearly hopped up there with them, but no one seemed to mind, not even red-shirted guard guy. Okay, so my video is gawd awful, I came too late for a good spot.
What it lacks in sound quality, it makes up for in production.