Though, perhaps, they lack the name recognition of some of their mid-’90s alt rock contemporaries, Illinois’ Hum have deservedly developed something of a cult following and renewed critical interest since first disbanding in 2000, leaving a lasting influence that has crept into modern alternative, post-hardcore, indie, and even metal in a way more significant than they’re often given credit for. The classic lineup of the group have never stayed entirely gone for more than a few years at a time without a sporadic festival or regional reunion here and there, but since properly touring in 2015 for the first time since their split, Hum have been a lot more active and are even working on new music, adding more stability to the longevity of this return. We we thrilled when they kicked of their first tour in 17 years with a Mercy Lounge show a couple years back, and we’re floored that they’re returning to the same spot once again so soon, for an stop tonight, Oct. 26 with likeminded Chicago group Sweet Cobra, as part of a mini tour en route to Florida’s The Fest. Tickets are still available here and we implore you not to miss out. Read on for more!
Formed in 1989 in Champaign, Ill., alt rockers Hum found brief, breakout, widespread success with their major label debut (and third LP overall), 1995’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut, which spawned their hit single “Stars.” Initially co-fronted by Andy Switzky and Matt Talbott, the group’s early years were met with regional success and characterized by a somewhat revolving door of members, and following their 1991 debut, Fillet Show, Switzky departed, allowing the classic lineup to cement and paving way for Talbott as a frontman, with 1993’s Electra 2000 generating enough buzz to attract the attention of RCA. Coming into their own in the post-grunge era, the band pulled from elements of shoegaze, punk, indie rock, and alt metal, with their later and best-known LPs adopting a space rock, alternative, post-hardcore, and midwestern emo bent. Aside from their brief burst of mainstream success, the band remained mostly a niche commodity throughout their early run, and by their 1998 fourth and final LP, Downward Is Heavenward, interest in Hum had begun to cool, despite the effort since becoming something of a modern classic, and following abysmal sales, being dropped by their label, and problems on the road, the band called in quits in 2000.
In the 17 years since, Hum haven’t exactly stayed dormant, popping up every few years for a festival or regional show, all the while growing in legacy, balanced between band members’ various post-Hum projects. However, since 2015, things have been looking a lot more serious. Following a few well-received festival announcements that year, the group embarked on their first proper tours since initially disbanding, including a 2015 show at Mercy Lounge to kick things off. Last year, as they continued to sporadically announce new dates, it was revealed that the group have been working on music for their first record in nearly two decades, which, though cautioned as “a long ways out” (not surprising, given the group’s notoriously meticulous writing and recording process), is something they expressed excitement for. Notoriously press averse, this year’s return to the road is a positive sign that the reunion continues to be a little more permeant than it has been in years, and, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get a taste of the new while resisting their incredible catalogue, which has inspired everyone from Deftones to Deafheaven to Balance & Composure.
Hailing from Chicago and pulling from post-rock, shoegaze, post-hardcore, and post metal, Hum’s musical influence on Sweet Cobra‘s sound is readily apparent. Not only did the group tour with the band previously, but Matt Talbot co-produced their latest album, 2015’s Earth. A no-brainer to open this show both musically and in their relationship to the evening’s headliners, the trio are worth getting hip to in their own right, with a sound that certainly checks the classics while finding a unique voice of their own, exploring all sorts of fantastic sonic territories over four albums since they sprung onto the scene in 2003. Show up early!
Hum and Sweet Cobra will perform tonight, Oct. 26 at Mercy Lounge. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $22.