Review: HMV Institute, Birmingham

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8th December 2013

by Jeremy Williams

Image credit: Jeremy Williams

Hanson have been written off many times by the British public. Having exploded into the pop consciousness with their unforgettable earworm ‘MMMBop’, Tulsa brothers Ike, Tay and Zac have achieved intermittent hits on these shores. However, their loyal fanbase has never parted ways with the scarily talented trio. With each of their six studio albums adding an extra string to their diverse roster – with this year’s impressive ‘Anthem’ showcasing their rock prowess – it is with excited anticipation that the sold out HMV Institute await the trio’s arrival centre stage.

Before the band of brothers take their places under the spotlight, Welsh singer/songwriter Siôn Russell Jones takes to the mic. With a distinct vocal reminiscent of JJ72’s Mark Greaney and songwriting that fuses the edge of Weezer with the playfulness of Wheatus, his set catches the attention of the audience and holds it for an intimate insight into Jones’ releases to date and impending.

Image credit: Jeremy Williams

Arriving on stage just ahead of their expected set time, the auditorium is filled with hysteric screams as the inner teenager of every fan connects with the euphoric excitement of seeing a pop idol up close and personal.

Launching straight into the riotous ‘Fired Up’ from their latest album, it is clear that Hanson are set to send the HMV Institute into a frenzy. With the audience erupting into a song and dance, the three brothers bounce off the feedback and give their opening number everything they have got.

The committed approach is one that endures throughout their impressive set. With fans of all ages present in the audience, the trio ensure that they include a little something for everyone. While there is no denying that early hits ‘Where’s The Love’ and ‘Madeline’ receive big love from their fans of old, newer additions to the setlist ‘Scream and Be Free’, ‘Juliet’ and ‘Get The Girl Back’ are equally loved. Other notable fan favourites are the often overlooked ‘This Time Around’, ‘Give A Little’ and ‘Thinking ‘Bout Somethin”.

Image credit: Jeremy Williams

While Tay is perhaps best known for his lead vocals, the band prove they are more than happy to mix it up, as per their latest album, during the live shows. While Ike’s ‘For Your Love’ certainly impresses, it is youngest brother Zac’s whose tender, rich vocal really warrants further exploration. As the trio take centre stage for an a cappella Bee Gees tribute ‘Too Much Heaven’, Zac’s spine tingling lead vocal is beautifully enriched by Tay and Ike’s harmonies.

Having climaxed their set with the a truly unforgettable rendition of ‘MMMBop’, the trio return to their adoring audience for a festive encore that revisits their seasonal ‘Snowed In’ release-with a jolly knees up to ‘Run Run Rudolph’ and ‘Merry Christmas Baby’.

As Hanson stated so clearly in their debut hit, ‘in an MMMBop they’re gone’, they leave to deafening screams as they promise to return soon if the audience promise the same. Judging by the epic queues at the merch stand after the show, this is an audience who will return any time the boys hit town.


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