Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Nice Night at the Theatre with the Hanson Brothers

Is that a geoduck in your jockstrap, or are you happy to see me?

The Shittys are the perfect opening act for the Hanson Brothers. Nevermind that they share a member: they play self-consciously stooopid songs (all about "shit and living in Vancouver"), and take themselves none too seriously (bassist Craig Bougie only had two strings on his bass, and both were E's.) The thing is that, almost despite themselves, they play credibly enough that they had an enthusiastic moshpit going on (including two drunks in their apparent 30s and what John Chedsey said looked like a Megadeth fan, swinging his long blond hair to the music). Too bad my favourite tune by them was actually by the Dayglo Abortions ("Acting Like Black Sabbath" - hilarious: quoth the singer, "Quit applauding, we didn't write that one"). They're one of the few bands out there where chucking stuff at them onstage is a sign that you're on the same page with them.
The more ridiculous elements of the rock experience are also foregrounded for the Hanson Brothers: it takes very, very intelligent people to be so good at being morons. What's most amazing is that, somewhat (um) unlike the Shittys, they end up making REALLY POTENT MUSIC at the same time, perfectly distilled, tight, fast, and funny punk-pop numbers worthy of the Ramones they emulate. But it might as well be live theatre. Dig: Johnny Hanson spent most of the time between songs pretending to scream at the audience about what a moron Tommy Hanson was, or occasionally asking people if they liked cabbage, or promoting the "brand new album released three years ago." The pelvic thrusts he offered when singing "Comatose" put a definite new spin on the lyrics, too ("Yeah my baby's comatose, cos I gave my baby an overdose" - thrust thrust). Tommy mostly drooled, and had to be led offstage by referee Chedsey. Drummer Ernie Hanson stole Robbie's bass at one point, playing the riff from "Stickboy" (emblazoned on the back of his jersey. Get it - "Stickboy," for a drummer? Hahahaha!); he pouted when he had to give it back. And Robbie - well, he had the show stealer: he wore baggy jeans, with soiled white longjohns under them, and a fat jockstrap over them. His pants kept falling down, despite ref. Chedsey's earnest attempts to make them stay up, and by the end of the night he was just playing in his longjohns and jockstrap (and jersey and hockey mask, of course - that's Robbie pictured a few posts back, btw). Suddenly, something long and fleshy popped out and was dangling from his jockstrap, almost a foot down his thighs. It was disgusting and tapered and subhuman, with a brown tip. He waggled it at Johnny and the audience and continued to play his bass with the thing hanging there. Finally, he dug it out - it was a geoduck, pictured above, but few people knew this - and he tore chunks of it and threw them into the audience, including the long dangly bit, which was still on the floor after I left. It STUNK! Even the band was surprised by that one...
Anyhow, the Hanson Brothers are fuckin' hoot to listen to, ALMOST as much fun as they are to watch. I just wish I'd been able to get drunk. Five rum and cokes was enough to give me a hangover today... It should have worked better.
Tommy Hanson, aka Tom Holliston, will have a Show Business Giants show on March 17th at the selfsame venue, the Anza Club. More to come; see also the Nomeanswhatever forum.

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