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"Hum Breaks Sound Barrier"

by Tobie Depauw

"I had never heard of them before, but I loved it, I really loved it," SIUE freshman Isabella Parlatore said about Hum's April 16 midnight performance at the Side Door. "I like the way they changed rhythm within each song. They were a great line band because all their songs didn't sound the same."

I can empathize with Isabella very much. I have heard of Hum before, and I know some of the stuff, but I would never consider myself a fan. Hum's music was very strong and powerful, and I can see why the band members have the incredible fan base they do. I never realized how faithful their fans really were.

Waiting for the show to start, I met a couple guys who had come to see Hum like it was a pilgrimage. Michael and Aaron Knopp, cousins from Staunton, Va., drove 11 hours to see this show. I was very impressed and gave them the props they deserved.

"It is totally worth it," Michael Knopp said. "I would drive to California to see Hum."

The Knopps admitted that by the end of the show, we would be embarrassed to know them. As the band took the stage, the cousins exploded with excitement, hopping up and down and shouting. They held that level of excitement throughout the entire show. They were the happiest guys in the room without a doubt.

Hum was incredible. The band members were so strong, and loud, I couldn't help but totally immerse myself in the music. Although I didn't know any of the lyrics, I felt right at home with the words coming from the singer's mouth. A few years back, Hum hit the highlight with the radio and MTV hit "Stars," and I knew some other songs from that album. Although I felt like a poser and a hypocrite, I belted out the words I did know, like I was Hum's biggest fan. I didn't care because I was having a good time.

The lead singer, Matt Talbott, unloaded lyrics in a rushing current of mumbled sound that put spikes into the audience's emotional psyche, until he poked and prodded the audience to an emotional overflow. You know the peace is about to break when the hair on your neck stands up. With an unbridled roar, Talbott breaks the soft sounds, barely altering his placid expression.

I thought another Hum member was doing the screaming, but at second glance, the protruding veins in Talbott's neck were obvious clues it was his voice. The heavy, slow, droning effect of the music was broken by turbulent guitar streams, and it began to sound like a style all its own. It is rare these days to have only one singer and no backup vocals, but Talbott accomplishes the complexity of the vocals extremely well. The lead singer is this scrawny guy who you just know everyone picked on in grade school. Well, everyone, I hope it feels like a kick in the groin to have to pay to see the guy you used to pick on do what he loves. I don't consider myself part of everyone because getting beat up as a kid was just as much of a part of my daily routine as eating breakfast.

And who would have known that picked-on kid would be a big football fan? We all found out when Talbott took a few minutes out to talk about football, his gastrointestinal problems and recent medical procedure horror stories. He was hilarious. It is a good thing, too. The humor brought the people in the audience out of the deep emotional state they were in. Who knows what kind of trouble that leads to. In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, "Making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel."

This was all but true at the Hum show. The fans were excited to see their band, and everyone left happy. I did, but there was so much more to be happy about. So if you ever get a chance, check them out. Who cares if you don't know the words, just hum.

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