Words: Lucy Walker / Photos (C) Erik De’Viking
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you must have become aware of the sensation that is The |Hu who went viral earlier this year through a Facebook post declaring ‘Mongolian Metal Music is incredible’. Since then they seem to have skyrocketed and are now on a UK tour which we were lucky enough to be able to catch at the very packed Underworld in Camden on Tuesday night.
We arrived early and decided to pop into The World’s End pub for a quick pint and that was a mistake. By the time we came out, there was already a large queue formed tailing around the venue all patiently waiting in the rain to be let in. Once we were in there and the crowd bulked out, it was amazing to see the kind of diverse fans this band had managed to pull into this tiny venue. There were old metalheads, bikers, young rockers, office bods and, not surprisingly, a large turnout from what appeared to be the Mongolian community wearing freshly purchased Hu tops.
I will have to mention the support because they had foregone booking a band and instead we had a DJ playing a full two hour set while we all waited patiently for The Hu to appear. Now we were lucky that in this instance, we had DJ Alex Milas, ex Editor-in-Chief for Metal Hammer playing tracks and to his credit, it was a very broad mix of some brilliant rock tracks but…when you are going to a gig, you expect live music. Standing around for two hours in front of an empty stage even with such good music playing is a bit of a stretch and I may have been yawning after about half an hour.
The Hu came onto the stage to huge cheers and whoops from all of us and wow they pack out the stage, not only do they have their four members there but they also have an additional four people on stage ranging from a modern day drum kit to traditional drums and electric guitars. The sound they bang out with this is incredible and well worth all those extra people to see.
Now we have only been introduced to three tracks by this band so far and thankfully they did not disappoint as the very first track played was ‘Shoog Shoog’ which has recently been released and is doing the rounds. They hardly needed to encourage the crowd to begin chanting Shoog Shoog and singing along with the chorus. Basically you think they sound great on the video? Try them live! You can feel this song bursting through you and the crowd bounced along to this very dance-able track. Special mention has to go to Jaya who is one of the throat singers and plays woodwind and Jew’s Harp as he really does act like a rock star and who managed to get the audience going and chanting throughout the set even with his limited English.
I think that I however, was here because I was desperate to hear what else they could do and if they would stand up to the hype? They have their debut album coming out in September and everyone is waiting to hear what the next song will be and if they are as good as they seem to promise.
I was not disappointed. They played a track called ‘The Same’ which with Jaya playing his woodwind gave an element of the Wild West their throat singing gives this such a different feel to all those screaming and/or singing you get with so many other bands nowadays. It is different, yes but it blends into the songs so completely and still gives out that deep power that you get from other vocalists belting out their songs loudly. This song is slow with that intense drumming from both of the guys at the back but it builds up with Gala and Jaya vocalising their lyrics together as a duo. The beat is what gets me but this is so clever – so many different levels and I can not emphasise enough how phenomenal they are live.
They may not be leaping all over the stage and throwing shapes (though maybe give Jaya a month or two and I think he could be jumping off the amps with ease) but they don’t need to. This is a band who can let their music speak for themselves – you don’t get bored, you just get drawn in more and more as they play each song.
So what is the final outcome of finally seeing The Hu live and hearing the songs that will be appearing on their forthcoming album? Buy it, steal it, borrow it and forget to give it back (then buy it of course) but just get your hands on it.
All the songs, one after the other are wonderfully written tracks that showcase an immense talent these guys have. Forget the fact they are Mongolian as yes, this is an integral part of who they are and their culture does show through but these songs are excellent on their own. It shows in their performance where they don’t need that showmanship to entertain the crowd – you can tell by how packed the venue was and how much people were cheering and chanting Hu Hu Hu (Jaya helped with this). They just need their music.
They are going to go big so try and catch them in these smaller venues while you can – I am glad I did!
Check out our recent interview and feature when the band performed an exclusive showcase at the Embassy of Mongolia to the UK in London:
The Song of Women
The Legend of Mother Swan
Yuve Yuve Yu
The Great Chinggis Khaan
This is the Mongol
Debut album Gereg is available to pre-order now HERE:
The European Tour continues: