The Huns were nomadic warriors who conquered lands from central Asia to western Europe in the 300s and 400s AD. Their best known leader Atilla was so ruthless that the Romans and Visigoths formed a joint army to fight off The Huns in 452 during The Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, but The invading army broke through and pillaged Gaul anyway.
Mongolian folk metal band The Hu formed in 2016, but it was two years later in 2018 when their gorgeously-shot music videos went viral and catapulted them to the international stage. After a strange few years of COVID, The Hu were finally able to conquer North America on The Huns tour. Instead of wielding bows and swords, they carried axes of the musical variety. The took over our land, but we enjoyed every second of it.
The Hu was an imposing force on stage at Republic NOLA. Eight men filled the stage and surrounded a green traditional helmet that stood in the middle. The Hu hurried into their set which featured their most viral hits “Wolf Totem” and “Yuve Yuve Yu.” Jaya Galsanjamts wore a band shirt and let his crazy long hair fly as he sang, growled, and performed throat singing. He also contributed tsuur (flute) and tumur hhuur (mouth harp) on many songs. He was flanked by Gala Tsendbaatar and Enkush Batjargal on beautiful morin khuurs (a kind of fiddle), and they belted out droning throat singing throughout most of the songs. Something about that otherworldly tone just felt like being on another level of existence with the atmosphere that it created around you.
The large band did not speak much between songs (which I love because the momentum doesn’t break up as much). On occasion, they’d say, “We Love New Orleans!” before starting a “Hu” chant that EVERYONE followed. They definitely missed the opportunity to do a Hu Dat chant, however.
The Hu’s setlist included more of a variety of music that I anticipated. “The Legend of Mother Swan” is a lovely ballad and “Black Thunder” is a heavy rock song that got a mosh pit going. “This is the Mongol” was one of my favorites because it’s a straight up folk metal song, and I’m a huge fan of folk metal from South America to Europe to Asia. It’s such an interesting and unique marriage of ancient beats and modern metal.
After an hour and a half, the band bowed out. But they weren’t done yet. They popped back onto the stage to end with a cover of Metallica’s “Sad But True,” which was a huge crowd pleaser. Typically in history, people want the invaders to leave their land forever. During this battle, The Huns won and left us. And we can’t wait for them to come back.