The Hanson brothers were ready to play a free New York City concert with Drake, when the July date was suddenly canceled. More than 20,000 fans attempted to get into that show, but the crowds became unruly and the promoters had to shut down the gig — pronto.
In a Twitter-friendly world, you can’t buy this kind of publicity. The show didn’t go on, but it gave Hanson’s new CD and career a nice boost.
It also showed the staying power of Hanson, which made its claim to fame with the radio-friendly pop hit “MMMBop” The former teen stars and their music have matured, and Hanson’s now touring behind its latest CD, Shout It Out.
Who: Hanson, with Rocket to the Moon
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder
Friday, the band brings its soul-filled rock to the Fox Theatre for a rare, intimate-sized show.
“We haven’t played Colorado in a long time,” eldest brother Isaac Hanson said. “The last time we played there, we were at Red Rocks. We’re playing 1,000-seat venues on this tour, to re-introduce ourselves to people.
“Hopefully, they’ll be curious and have a great time at the show.”
The Hanson brothers started their career at a young age, and that’s part of what’s piquing everybody’s curiosity about the show.
The band started out as an independent music outfit in Tulsa, Okla. The group still features the same brotherly line-up of Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.
“Music was always in our family,” Hanson said. “The thing that sparked us was the music of the ’50s and ’60s — artists like Chuck Berry and Otis Redding.
“We started out as kids. We found we had a real propensity for harmonies, an appreciation for music and similar goals in mind. The next thing we knew, we were singing at family gatherings and local arts festivals. One thing led to another.”
Hanson quietly built its following, but in 1996 the band exploded into mainstream America with “MMMBop.” The tune’s unusual title and pop-driven hooks catapulted the band into instant success.
“We had success at a young age, because as young kids we were very ambitious,” Hanson said. “We were signed in 1996, but by the time we had made it, we had a good amount of experience.
“When it came to everything blowing up, we were relatively prepared. We always said this could come and go, so we decided it was better to stay humble. You never know what the future can hold.”
It’s a good thing that Hanson stuck to its ideology, because the band had to deal with major roadblocks in the late ’90s.
“Things started falling apart with all the record mergers at that time,” Hanson said. “The record company we were on kept telling us to do solo projects, but all those challenges paved the way for our own label.”
Hanson’s new CD, Shout It Out, dropped in June. This time around, the band was able to create the soulful rock record it wanted to release.
“This is a very rootsy, organic pop record,” Hanson said. “It’s got some upbeat moments on it, and some very R&B soulful songs. It’s fairly consistent with our music over the years, but it’s a more poppy version.
“It will sound familiar to people. I think they will find themselves curious and surprised, because people’s perception of our music is not necessarily the reality.”
Hanson’s now in the midst of a North American tour to support Shout It Out.
The band’s also psyched about the CD’s debut single, “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’.” The rock and soul video pays homage to “The Blues Brothers'” movie and features “Weird” Al Yankovic as an overly enthusiastic tambourine player.
“The video’s already sparked millions of views. People are curious about the first single,” Hanson said. “We’re getting a really good reaction to the record and we’re getting to tour places we haven’t played in a long time.”
The record and tour got off to a bang with the canceled Hanson/Drake concert.
“We had the record coming out when that event was going on,” Hanson said. “We have a lot of fans in the New York, Philly and Boston area. Those are really strong markets for us.
“Drake’s record was really taking off, too. We didn’t think the concert would have a substantial response like that. It was surprising, but we only wish we had a chance to play the show.”
New York’s loss is Boulder’s gain. Lucky Colorado fans will get to see Hanson in a smaller and friendlier concert setting.
“The show will feature all the Hanson high points and most of the singles,” Hanson said. “We play close to two hours and that’s pretty common for us.
“We also throw in random covers from the ’50s and ’60s — and, of course, all the fan favorites. That’s a big part of who we are as a band.”