TVD Live Shots: The Hu with The Haunt at the Warner Theatre, 5/16

Mongolian rock lords The Hu brought their Black Thunder Tour to a packed and rowdy Warner Theatre in Washington, DC on May 16th. Supporting the Black Thunder Tour is Florida rock quartet The Haunt.  

Fronted by siblings Anastasia Haunt (vocals) and her guitar-wielding older brother, Max, along with Nick Lewert (drummer and producer), and bassist Nat Smallish, The Haunt are a very young rock band, like Plush, embracing rock music. The crowd arriving early at the Warner Theatre got to witness their energetic set.  I was particularly impressed with the siblings’ charisma and mature stage presence; I suppose this should be unsurprising as vocalist Anastasia has been in front of an audience since age nine. The Haunt are a promising sign for rock music’s future.

Between sets, the venue—the elegant Warner Theatre, mere blocks from the White House in downtown DC—filled and buzzed with energy. At 9:15PM The Hu took the stage to the now familiar chants of “Hu! Hu! Hu!”

The last time I saw The Hu was on their first U.S tour in 2019 when they played at Baltimore Soundstage, and it was a crowd similar in makeup that gathered in DC Monday night. Seasoned metalheads, grandparents, younger people, even children had come to see this band whose sound mixes the modern and the traditional; that mashup what The Hu really excel at here. The band consists of four core members, standing at the front of the stage, and are backed by a touring band who play percussion, bass, and guitar.

Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar and Enkhasaikhan “Enkush” Batjargal play the morin khurr (the horsehead fiddle), a two-string instrument played with a bow. Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar plays the tovshuur, a three-stringed lute. Finally, Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts takes on throat-singing, singing melodically, and playing the jaw harp and wood-carved flutes. This mixing of old and new extends even to appearances, as the men mix beads and flowing robes with boots, jeans, and their own band shirts.

Their songs tell stories about Genghis Khan, but also touch on Eastern spirituality and ancestral roots. The band calls their style of music “hunnu rock,” Hu being a Mongolian root word for “human.” While the band is often described as metal, their sound has folk elements and even the occasional pop beat.

The set included not just songs from their 2019 album The Gereg, but also a new single (“This is Mongol”) from a yet to be released album recorded during the pandemic. Consistent with their other songs, “This is Mongol” carries themes of natural preservation and spiritual connections to the earth.  The band wrapped up with a Mongolian language cover of Metallica’s “Sad But True.” Great stuff.

In 2019, it was clear The Hu had “it”—a group of enthusiastic and talented men bringing their unique sound and musical perspective to music fans around the world eager to absorb live what they had only seen on YouTube (as of this writing official music videos of  “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem” have racked up 167 million views). In 2022, fresh off an acclaimed performance at Coachella and a tour with Megadeth and Five Finger Death Punch on tap later in the summer, The Hu seem even more aggressively confident live and rightly so—they’ve proven they’re no novelty act and have the chops to appeal to a wide audience.

The North American leg of the Black Thunder tour wraps up in Mexico City on May 31.


Shihi Hutu
Shoog shoog
The Gereg
The Great Chinggis Khaan
Shireg Shireg
Uchirtai Gurav
Bii Biyley
Huhchu Zairan
Tatar Warrior
Black Thunder
Yuve Yuve Yu
Wolf Totem
This is Mongol

Sad but True

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