The HU – Roseland Theater – April 25th, 2022 – Portland, Oregon
Last time I was at the Roseland Theater, I was here to see Willow Smith. I’ll be honest, it was a bit tough to come out on a Monday work night but, I also can’t think of a better way to kick off the week. The excitement I have to see this show carried me through a mundane work Monday. Unlike Hawthorne Theater, I know some of the staff at Roseland Theater. Mostly because they know my husband and MIRP photographer, Jer Dimes (he is our social butterfly.) Still excited to see familiar faces, it’s what makes a concert feel even more like an extended family when you see people you know. I would bet that this show is sold out. Even with an hour to go until show time, the place is packed and the merch and bar lines are long.
Opening the show that night was Florida’s own The Haunt. I guess formerly known as AnastasiaMax, I think cleverly named after sibling members Anastasia (vocals) and Maximillian (guitar) Haunt. (Just a hunch.) Other members are Nat Snallish on bass and Nate Lewert on drums. The Haunt reminded me of bands I would have seen on the bill for Warped Tour. The energy from each member was great and perfect to start the show. Anastasia jumped and danced around and it seemed so freeing, I just wanted to join her. My favorite songs were “Why are you so cold”, “I am not yours” and “Wished you stayed. ” The Haunt was very professional on stage. At one point, Anastasia’s mic stopped working at the end of a song and Max went over to help her. Max took a moment to thank The HU for inviting them back on tour with them and also thanked the Portland crowd. Stand up band, professional and solid rock music. I am sure they made many fans that night.
The anticipation grew and grew waiting for The HU. (My Dr. Seuss line of the review.) I can’t remember the last time I personally have seen the Roseland Theater this packed. I was pretty excited to see The HU. I’ve watched some of their “HUs in the kitchen” videos and “HU we are” and they are fun, I would recommend these YouTube videos for sure. The members of the Mongolian rock band seem so down to earth and excited to not only share their music but also their culture. The HU started in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and are made up of core members Gala (lead throat singer and plays the Morin Khuur), Jaya (jaw harp, Tsuur, flute and throat singer), Temka (Tovshuur) and Enkush (Lead Morin Khuur and throat singer). Some of these instruments are traditional Mongolian instruments, such as the Morin Khuur which is a horsehead fiddle, Tovshuur (Mongolian guitar) and the Jaw Harp is also called Tumur Khuur. The HU wonderfully mashes together rock music with traditional Mongolian throat singing. Their lyrics often derive from poetry and old Mongolian war cries. On stage with Gala, Jaya, Temka and Enkush are touring members Jamba (guitar, backing vocals), Davaa (bass, backing vocals), Ono (percussion, tumur khuur, backing vocals) and Odko (drums). These eight gentlemen fill the stage with not just their presence, but their energy as well.
The crowd erupted and started chanting “HU – HU” as the stage was changed to get ready for The HU. Starting off their set with “Shihi Hutu”, looking out to the crowd, I am not sure people knew what to do. Do we dance, do we sing along, do we mosh? But collectively, we were all in awe with the music that we were hearing. Something different, something new, something that sounds meaningful and beautiful, heavy and rock and roll. Not one person was looking away from the stage, we were all enjoying the show. Next couple of songs were personally some of my favorites, “Shoog Shoog” and “The Gereg.” When the guitar and drums kicked in along with the perfectly placed throat singing, moshing did comence.
The HU played:
The Great Chinggis Khaan
Uchirt Ai Gurav
Yuve Yuve Yu
This is Mongol
Sad but True (Metallica cover)
Lots of headbanging for “Black Thunder” (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order order fans knew this one) and clapping in rhythm for “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem.” Still, at the end of the set, the crowd wanted more and chanted “One – More – HU” – the guys took the stage and Gala started that oh familiar start to “Sad but True.” The HU do one amazing job covering this Metallica classic, of course they add their Mongolian flare to it and I must say, it sounds better than the original. I would highly, highly recommend seeing The HU next time they are in town. It’s not just a show, it is an amazing experience that you won’t forget.