2 years ago, in the before times, The Hu were here, and were ready to play on the Download line up, then tragedy strikes, the plague times begin, and they get locked in Sydney for a couple of weeks. Now, they are back and hungry as ever to play for Australia and starting off their tour with 2 sold out Melbourne shows!
Rocking up to the line about 45mins early, a little later than normal for me, the line was already around the block and in the alley way behind the venue, people are keen as hell for this show! Doors open and the line moves reasonably quick for people heading straight to merch or the front of the venue for prime viewing, I manage to get my regular spot at 170 Russell, you’ve always got a regular spot for these types of things.
The Blackwater Fever take the stage right on time and straight from the opening chords, I’m hooked. This 3-piece Brisbane rock band sound like Sabbath if they were playing in the deep south instead of London. Think big sounding bluesy style riffs with a ton of reverb, a bassist that also plays keys and then add double that amount of reverb on the drums! Producing a massive sound and holding their own in the thick atmosphere they created, they entranced all watching and the rhythm took over to bring the people in and headbang. The Blackwater Fever prove the point that less is sometimes more, you don’t always need crazy intricate riffs to get people interested, these guys write a damn good tune and a killer opening band.
As The Hu crew set the stage with a drum kit, a percussion kit and then a totem raised in the middle of the stage as well for good measure, the crowd’s anticipation skyrockets. There are cheers, people start pushing to the front and all eyes are on the stage. The lights darken, music starts and The Hu storm the stage in their full leather gear and instruments in hand. What surprised me tonight was how close the music translates from recording to live, with the number of instruments changing on stage with one of the singers wearing a belt of flutes and the percussionist also had things changing every couple of songs as well, everything was audible. One of the main draws to The Hu is the traditional throat singing and vocal harmonies created, they did not disappoint. All members on stage have a microphone and the vocal mix is well done with only one of the main vocals being lower in the mix at some points but watching them sing together is nothing short of amazing.
The sheer happiness and excitement of the band is an energy that is room filling, they didn’t stop smiling or laughing to each other from start to finish. They are incredibly passionate about their music and culture and having that energy come back at them from the crowd, they couldn’t stop jumping and screaming “Thank you” and “Rock On” which were pretty much the only English sentences spoken by them. One of the main vocalists would occasionally have a quick little speech in their native tongue to be met with cheers or people looking around not knowing what was said but there was one girl who made the crowd laugh each time because each time he spoke in Mongolian, we would here “I farkin luv ya” in such a thick Aussie accent. The complete opposites in languages but I’m sure the sentiment was the same.
The crowd involvement for songs like Shoog Shoog, Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf Totem was electric. The rhythms of this band just sent people dancing and singing. Ending the set on the latest singles Black Thunder and This is Mongo, the crowd and band are relentless, thriving off each other’s energy and getting a circle pit going. They come back for a sweet little encore with a cover of Metallica’s Sad But True and what a cover! What a great way to end the night!
For my first international band in about 18 months, what better way than to get back into it than with The Hu? I had high expectations for these guys, and they blew them out of the park! I hope the rest of the tour is as great as this was.
Black Thunder Australia & NZ Tour 2022
Saturday, August 6: Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide
(Previously Hindley Street Music Hall)
Sunday, August 7: The Roundhouse, Sydney Sold Out
Thursday, August 11: Powerstation, Auckland NZ Sold Out