Friday, January 2, 2009
Downward is Heavenward: HUM at the Double Door 12/31/08
I started 2009 on a high note, watching one of my favorite rock bands from the 90s, HUM, play a sold out reunion show at the Double Door. After the countdown to midnight had passed, they emerged in a fog of blue to play a set straight out of 1997. According to the Sun Times, audience members were seen crying... and while I can't attest to that, it was certainly a lively, excited crowd, and the band sounded fantastic. A glorious wall of sound.
I had never seen HUM before. Although I remember their hit single, Stars, being played on the radio in 1995, it wasn't until 2000, when their 1997 swan song Downward is Heavenward started to appear on "best of the 90s" lists that I really gave the band (and that album) a listen. I've been listening to it ever since. For me, HUM works on several levels. Like many bands of this era, they used loud/soft dynamics, but never abused them. Add to that mix Matt Talbott's lyrics about heartbreak, outer space, time machines, and who knows what, and you have a memorable combination. HUM was ahead of their time.
While I don't expect the band to make a full fledged comeback, I would definitely go see them if they played again. Someone should book them for a summer festival-- I'm looking at you Pitchfork and Lollapalooza.
For further reading, check out the Sun Times article mentioned above, or this recent interview of the band at Alarm Magazine.
Photo details: Canon A590 IS, 1/8sec at f2.6, ISO 400.