Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Hum at Millennium Park
It seems like it was years ago that I traveled to Chicago to see two nights of Hum at the Double Door on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Even though my head was still in the clouds from Hum's blistering performance at the Old Rock House in St. Louis, I was still in disbelief when I boarded a plane heading toward Chicago for a free Hum show at Millennium Park.
Things became more interesting when I heard the weather report about severe thunderstorms in Chicago. What if I flew out all the way to Chicago to have the show get cancelled? According to my cab driver, it had just stopped raining when I landed in Chicago. This was a good omen.
Hum definitely has a devoted fanbase. The few thousand people that turned out at Millennium Park reaffirmed these suspicions. The line for the Hum merchandise booth was packed well before the start of the show as I quickly swooped up a souvenir poster. Hum could have played the exact same set from St. Louis and I still would have been ecstatic.
When Tim Lash unleashed the opening chords of "The Pod" on his Jackson guitar, it was difficult not think about the St. Louis show as this was the same opening song. The notable difference being that I was surrounded by a few thousand people in a beautiful outdoor venue compared to a few hundred in a sold out club.
It was exciting to watch Hum perform in front of a much larger audience and play for fans who may never have had a chance to see them. After the metal crunch of "Iron Clad Lou", the crowd was surprised to hear "Stars" as the third song. I was surprised when Hum detoured from their St. Louis setlist and dropped the atmospheric "Ms. Lazarus".
Watching other fans in the front row jump up and down going nuts hearing these songs added an extra degree of enjoyment to the show. "Green To Me" was fantastic with Jeff Dimpsey hammering his G&L bass in time with the thundering drumming of Bryan St. Pere. "Comin' Home" was played at a rapid fire pace due to St. Pere playing the beat nearly twice as fast.
St. Pere was on fire as multiple drumsticks were destroyed and flailed in the air throughout the length of their performance. The grey dusky skies perfectly matched the atmosphere of "Afternoon with the Axoltols". I would quickly receive the shock of a lifetime when Hum dusted off "Hello Kitty" which is one of the few tracks I don't own. The trip was already worth it at that point.
Roaring guitars highlighted the metal shrapnel of "Scraper" but proved to be the enlightening moment of the evening with Matt Talbot stating that he wasn't that angry anymore and that "I have a lot of joy in my life and thanks for being a part of it". Trademark Hum guitar chords of "Suicide Machine" devolved into a power chord crunch chorus. Hum simply was sounding amazing.
"Inklings" was unrelenting with its cluster bomb attack of guitars and cymbal smashes. Hum seemed to stretch out the ending by continually crushing the main guitar riff. "I Hate It Too" also was teased out during the ending with the band firmly interlocked with each other. Chants of "Hum! Hum!" brought the group out for an encore.
When Tim and Matt grabbed their alternately tuned guitars, I knew "The Scientists" would quickly follow. Matt proceeded to announce that they would be playing the final selection of the evening before leaning over to tweak his MXR Phase 90 pedal for the intoxicating swirls of "I'd Like Your Hair Long". It still feels like it was dream as I write this. The question is whether I fly back to Illinois when Hum plays a hometown show in Champaign on July 10th. Anyone want to go?
Hum setlist at Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion (5/31/10)
"Iron Clad Lou"
"Green To Me"
"Afternoon With Axoltols"
"I Hate It Too"
"I'd Like Your Hair Long"