The HU are a once in a lifetime kind of band. The hype around their brand of Mongolian folk music mixed with heavy metal riffs has given them some credence on the digital sphere within the past few years, with both incredible compositions and viral success allowing them to finally tour the U.S. with their signature sound. I caught their show at The Vogue in Indianapolis with support from local rockers from my hometown, The Haunt.
The Haunt are some of the coolest young rock bands with a cross-generational appeal. Siblings Max and Anastasia have been touring nationally and performing locally in the tri-county area of South Florida for the past decade, with scene veterans Nick Lewert on drums and Nat Smallish on bass, the young quartet approach the stage with the presence of road-worn punk rockers. Loaded with a sound somewhere between 70s punk and 90s industrial rock, the group put a fresh spin on a classic vibe that’s free of cliches. Their cross-generational appeal won over a fairly older crowd, roaring to see The HU, with songs like their new “Make Me King” keeping the audience on their toes.
Hailing from Mongolia, The HU have had an explosive rise in the past five years from performances uploaded to YouTube to their first US tour in 2019 in support of their first record “The Gereg.” Touring again in North America this year on their “The Hun” run of shows, the group had to reschedule from 2020 due to COVID. Their Indiana audience spanned a gamut of Mongolian folk fans that to old school metalheads all clad in black band shirts, unified for their admiration for the unique sound of The HU. While the influence of Western culture is so prevalent in heavy metal (Norse mythology, viking imagery, etc), The HU evokes imagery of Mongolian warriors and specifically, the Huns a la Genghis Khan. Clad in black leather with high ponytails, the band flanked the stage, an armada going to battle. With traditional Western instruments like guitar, bass, and drums kept to a minimal in the show, the band instead features a distorted morin khurr (horsehead fiddle), tumur hhurr (jaw harp), tovshuur (lute), and especially the traditional throat singing that gives the vocals the growl reminiscent of metal music. The group ripped through a set of tracks from “The Gereg” as well as, many new/unreleased songs not featured on the record. Their final number was the cover that brought them some of their biggest crossover appeal, Metallica’s “Sad But True” that was just featured on “The Blacklist,” a tribute to the metal legend’s 1993 classic “The Black Album” performed entirely in Mongolian.
The HU Setlist
The Legend of Mother Swan
Yuve Yuve Yu
This Is the Mongol
Sad but True (Metallica cover)