Last pledge marathon WEFT threw a two day live acoustic concert in the station's own Great Hall. Curiously out of place on the two-night menu of organic music was a little band called Overhum Motherload who would, it was promised, perform acoustic covers of songs by Yes, King Crimson, and Asia. Yeah right. I believed that about as much as I might have the suggestion that they would cover the Stones and CCR-simultaneously. Yet this they did. "Sympathy for the Devil/Fortunate Son." The shoddy corpse of Classic Rock was briefly excavated, dismembered, and buried again.
Hum, Mother, Honcho Overload. I've been in this town too long. I remember We Ate Plato and Obvious Man and Thumper and Industrial Strength. I witnessed the inception of Honcho Overload at a arty where Bad Flannel couldn't produce enough members to drown each other out so Matt stepped in... I think. Hum once practiced in my basement.
Overhum Motherload won. All these sparks ignited a savage sonic fireball, a human pyramid. And the most stupendous thing about Overhum Motherload was that I was the only audience member who showed up. Their "acoustic" instrumental lineup consisted mostly of electric guitars and big amplifiers. A conspiracy of drunk and disorderly dudes ripping speaker cones across the twin city area. All three bands (Hum, Honcho Overload, Mother) were present in their entirety I think except Matt who would have been icing on the cake but this was a cake without icing to be shoved down the throat of the listener without appetite. For the hippies: seven grain cake, raw straw, a dirt sandwich. On lead vocals: Bryan Andy and Bill. In the middle of a song an apparently confused Mike stood up and staggered away from his drums and out of the Great Hall. Chris Green cursed in amazement and took over his kit. KC and Jeff led the bands in Honcho classics. Balty became Keith Richards for an eerie second.
Afterward, even Overhum Motherload had seemed a touch sentimental as they climbed into their vans and drove away. Cleaning up the beercans littering Market Street I felt curiously satisfied. As each can clattered into the official WEFT cardboard recycling box I sighed. My eyes watered as my ears rang. It was as though that evening a giant beer can had been shaken and cracked in an explosive spray, unleashing an awesome force. A tornado had revolved into existence in WEFT's Great Hall and cracked the concrete foundation. Mugs had tumbled from pegs at the Esquire. A series of aftertremors moved along the third coast.
I was so proud of my little radio station. A fistful of local legends had gathered beneath WEFT's transmitter tower to assist, for one evening, our long and difficult struggle to break even. From the perspective of our local rock microcosm, Overhum Motherload was the most spectacular event I have seen this year. And I still can't figure out why I was the only one there.
[Originally published in Wireless (Winter 1992-93)]