We trekked up to the Blue Ridge of North Carolina to Asheville on 9/8 for a concert at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and to be honest I had a lot of anticipation for the show tonight. Boy was I right.
The Hu was first up: I heard of “The Hu” when their collaboration with Jacoby Shaddix started playing on SXM Octane a while back. To be transparent here, I may have heard them before that time but never took notice, a HUGE mistake on my part.
The band members have known each other for a decade and formed the group in 2016, their heavy metal style blends traditional Mongolian instruments and throat singing (a Mongol technique spanning back through the generations) into a distinct sound mixing those elements, along with folk music & heavy metal.
The Hu were the first Mongolian band to top the billboard charts. Their single “Wolf Totem” had 28 million views before their debut album was released. With over 150 Million views between the 4 most popular on You tube, their star is rising across the globe. Their collaborations with a few other American rock artists have created great remixes of their most popular songs.
They warmed up the crowd with a 45-minute set that included their early hits “Yuve Yuve Yu”, “Wolf Totem”, and their rendition of Metallica’s “Sad But True” among the many they performed.
With lyrics that are inspired by Mongolian war cries & poetry, they pay homage to their ancestors and their home country. Although they don’t sing in English, it makes no difference, their music transcends the language barriers.
The bass and harmonies are addicting to listen to and they’re so unique to watch live due to that sound and the instruments that they all played. I look forward to seeing them again live and they’re now securely in my song rotations. They deserve a good long listen and you’ll see for yourself how unique they are.
Halestorm was up next and I knew I’d get one hell of a show… Writing & Performing since 1997, Halestorm was breathed to life in 1998. Lzzy Hale & AreJay Hale were joined in 2003 by Joe Hottinger & Josh Smith in 2004.
Despite the past year’s challenges, they released a new single with a video, were inducted into the Central PA Hall of Fame, and Lzzy Hale became the first female brand ambassador for Gibson Guitars. They also took part in many collaborations including Dee Snider, The Hu, Evanescence, & In This Moment.
Even before they came out, the crowd was on their feet, ready to go and they weren’t disappointed. Halestorm took the stage and treated the crowd to an awesome night of music.
Starting with “Do Not Disturb” and ending the night with “I Miss The Misery”, the audience sang to every song from beginning to end. They filled the evening further with “I Get Off”, “Amen”, “Freak Like Me”, & even the newest single “Back From The Dead” which was recently released ahead of their newest album scheduled to be unleashed in 2022.
At one point in between entertaining and rocking the crowd, Lzzy took the opportunity to thank all of the nurses and medical care workers for their tireless efforts and then before taking a brief intermission to catch a much needed breather, they came out said you know we are not leaving here without having a drink with you guys, they then toasted and had a drink on stage with all the fans before going into “Here’s to us”.
I can say without a doubt I’ve been a fan of Halestorm since I saw them live for the first time in (ahem) 2010 at The National in Richmond, VA.
The Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville was reminiscent of my first Halestorm show in that it’s not extremely large, the capacity is just shy of 2500 people and the auditorium was ¾ full at best but I feel these type of venues allow for a more intimate feel and you feel like there’s more interaction with the band. I’ve seen them at larger festivals like Carolina Rebellion a couple of times and either way they’re amazing live.
They’re currently touring with Evanescence as well as playing festivals like Rocklahoma and Blue Ridge Rock Festival.
Catch them if you can, you won’t regret a single minute.
Thank You to both Halestorm & The Hu for allowing us to come out and rock with them and the fans and for the opportunity to cover the show for Melodic Magazine.
Review: Melissa Gibson
Photography: Stephen Gibson Photography