It’s not a well-known fact to anyone outside of the Nashville music scene, but a legacy is coming to an end shortly in the Music City: rock scene venue staples Mercy Lounge, The High Watt and Cannery Ballroom are all closing for good. While it is unclear if owners will ever reopen in a new location, only a few more shows remain at their current residence. With this unfortunate fact in mind, I knew I had to get out to see legendary Mongolian rockers The HU when they came into town! I grabbed my gear and with a heavy heart, I made my way to the photo pit for one last show.
The night kicked off with Florida natives, The Haunt, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised.
You would think, based on their name, that they were some type of goth style band, but don’t let the name fool you — it’s just the last name of two founding members, Anastasia and Max. This brother and sister duo have crafted something beautiful and heavy… something along the lines of Halestorm or Evanescence. They jumped and headbanged across the stage and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Anastasia in some ways reminded me of the ‘anti’ Hayley Williams (of Paramore): all the same energy, but with a much different attitude and far more middle fingers. They claimed it was one of their first times performing in Nashville, but based on how the fans reacted, you would have thought they had been here hundreds of times. The crowd even demanded an encore and although the powers that be prevented it, you could tell they were elated for such an ask. I highly recommend giving The Haunt a listen and I am quite sure I will be seeing them again often on metal tours everywhere. They are an exciting and cool new band to check out.
The HU gained popularity thanks to Youtube, going viral with their completely unique blend of Mongolian throat singing and heavy metal. I remember being sent their music video for “Wolf Totem” a couple years ago from some of my metalhead friends and for a time, they were all the rage. I found their sound to be completely new and different from most of the typical sounds in the harder music category. When they began performing, it almost felt like a tribal ceremony. Thundering drums and ritualistic type chanting, blasting repetitiously over snarling guitar riffs… the only thing missing was a giant fire for the crowd to gather around! The HU’s music feels very cinematic and theatrical, with each member dressed in traditional clothing and using instruments that I was quite unfamiliar with. I don’t think I have ever seen a show of this type of magnitude. Although they spoke very little to the crowd and I am quite sure nobody really understood what they were singing about, they held the crowd captive and engaged the entire time. They were the perfect last show experience for me at Cannery Ballroom.
Photography by Derek Jones