The line to get into the Varisty Theater on Thursday night was the longest I have ever seen it. Wrapping around the block, people huddled up near those who had the foresight to wear a hoodie in the first truly chilly night of the year while patiently just waiting for their chance to get into the gorgeous theater. Although people seemed a bit frustrated as we could all hear the first band taking the stage while we were still waiting in line, there was an undeniable sense of anticipation felt throughout the constantly growing line.

I got in as The Haunt was about halfway through their set and I instantly felt a sense of frustration over the forty-five minutes that I spent in line. The Haunt had such a powerful stage presence that I was completely captivated and blown away before I even found a good spot for the night. Fronted by siblings Anastasia Grace Haunt and Maxamillion Haunt, this band had a great sound that blended everything from hard rock to punk with a very theatrical and distinct overall vibe. Although the whole band is full of true performers who do more than just stand there and perform, it was vocalist Anastasia Grace that had me completely captivated. She’s theatrical and animated but it’s not cheesy or over the top. Beyond her stage presence, her voice is just absolutely stunning. I’m pretty sure my jaw never left the ground as I watched her and the rest of this band power through their opening set with a sense of power, aggression, and passion. The Haunt is dropping a new album soon and I truly hope that means another tour in the near future where they come back to the Twin Cities because I am pretty sure they are one of those bands I could see night after night and not get bored with.

Although The Haunt absolutely blew me (and the rest of the audience) away with their powerful opening set, they were not the reason for the ridiculously long line to get in and the nearly sold-out audience. We have The Hu to thank for that. Although I had never heard the music of The Hu before, I was intrigued and found myself lost in a haze of anticipation as the stage was changed over for them. All I knew going into the show on Thursday is that The Hu is a Mongolian folk metal band (the band called their style of music “hunna rock”). I assure you, I’m not making this up. It’s a thing and that description was more than enough to have me excited and intrigued.

Within the first song from The Hu, I was completely captivated. I wanted to know everything about everything that was going on on that stage. From the throat singing to the instruments they were playing, it was seriously like sensory overload for me and my curious brain. Although the band has the standard guitar, bass, and drum set up, they also have the morin khuur, tumur hhuur, tsuur, and tovshuur. Oh, and who can forget that throat singing? Don’t worry guys, it’s not like I knew what the instruments were called, I had to look them up too but I urge you to take the time to look them up. Not only are they super interesting instruments with very intriguing pasts, I feel like it really lays the groundwork for The Hu’s sound.

The hu played through fourteen tracks that showed various sides of the band. From intense metal to a more whimsical folk vibe, their set was all over the place but, regardless of the overall mood of the track they were playing at any given time, the audience was eating it up. It was truly hard to not get lost in it all. Everything felt new from the instruments to the throat singing which ended up sounding a bit like a constant drone which, although not for me, was super cool to experience live. As mentioned, it was almost a bit overwhelming just trying to catch it all and it also made the night fly by but also made it a super exciting and dynamic night.

After playing through their standard set and leaving the audience chanting and pleading for more, The Hu came back out and gave the audience a stellar cover of Metallica’s “Sad But True” before leaving the stage for good and leaving me a bit confused by what had just happened but also so thankful for the experience of seeing a band like this live.

Line Up:

The Haunt

The Hu

Venue: Varsity Theater

Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable

Average Age of the Crowd: 40

Crowd Surfers- None Spotted

Mosh-ability- 6 out of 10

Sausage-Fest Meter- 8 out of 10

Stage Divers-  None

Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- None

Broken Bones- None Noticed

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- None Witnessed

Pukers- None Witnessed

Idiots Taken Out By Security- 0

How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-

The Haunt – 0

The Hu – 1

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 8 out of 10

Show on Deck- Reaping Asmodeia / In Search Of Solace / Coffin Rites / Graveslave / Agony Reigns

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