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The HU - NX Newcastle 23.06.2023

Not sure where to begin with this. An eight piece Mongolian Folk Metal band playing mainly traditional instruments and singing in their native language …. Ok …. ….. I’d heard nothing but positive things about The Hu then saw that they’d recently collaborated with the likes of William Duvall (Alice In Chains) Serj (SOAD) Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) and Lizzy Hale (Halestorm) so I decided to check them out live here in Newcastle at NX. The venue was packed to the rafters with many long time fans and many new converts having seen the band take Download by storm a week or two before and gave the band a heroes welcome as they took to stage and positioned themselves in two rows of four.

Jaya Galasanjamts looks every part the front man with the flowing locks and band tour shirt pumping his fists getting the crowd going from the get go. Flanked by Gala Tsendbaatar and Enkush Batjargal both playing the morin khurr (horse head fiddle) a Mongolian bowed instrument and Temka Naranbaatar on Tovshuur (a stringed lute) these four make up the core of The Hu with touring musicians Ono, Jamba, Davaa and Odko on percussion bass guitar and drums respectively.

The hypnotic drum beat of Hohochu Zairan gets the set underway and the combination of the almost marching tempo and the throat singing immediately has the crowd in unison stomping clapping chanting! As well as singing Jaya also creates quite the cinematic feel to 'The Gereg' on the tumur hhuur (jaws harp) and on 'Shoog Shoog' he dazzles playing the tsuur (traditional flute) in one end of his mouth whilst also throat singing from the other. The majority of the song titles are Mongolian whilst there are those like 'The Legend of Mother Swan' , 'Black Thunder' and 'Wolf Totem' have western titles BUT all are sung in their native tongue.

Translated The Hu means 'Human Being' and their songs celebrate their folklore myths and legends with many of the lyrics including old poetry and war cries but also promoting the message of respect and protecting nature and while I’d say there’d be very very few in the audience who understood the Mongolian language every single person in there was at one with the band such is the pull they have. I love how despite being plugged into effects pedals and blasting Metal riffs alongside guitars and drums the traditional instruments retain their original beautiful sound especially on songs like 'Mother Nature' and the aforementioned 'Mother Swan'. Every song is played like it’s going to be the last song of the night and the crowd react accordingly with chants of 'Hu Hu Hu' repeatedly through the set which you can see delights the band.

'Wolf Totem' and 'This Is Mongol' bring the night to a foot stomping head banging close with all 8 of The Hu taking a well deserved front stage bow. They return however to give us a fantastic cover of Metallica’s 'Through The Never' sung once again in their native tongue and absolutely smashed it out of the park! While I was in the pit taking the photos I was nodding along thinking “yeah I can totally see why people are drawn in to these guys" by mid way I was one of those people totally drawn in and by the end I was wondering where and when I can see them again!

To be honest my initial review was going to be “The Hu are fucking brilliant just look at the photos and go see them soon as possible and you’ll understand cos no words can do justice“ as I really didn’t know how I was gonna capture how good it was in words, really not sure if I have, so do me a solid and read that last bit and do it and thank me later!

Review & Photos - G's Gig Shots


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