The Hunna are blowing up. After a summer of festivals including Reading and Leeds, and the holy grail of the Radio 1 playlist, the debut album has arrived and they have embarked on a tour of the UK.
I had seen The Hunna at Reading; they produced the most exciting daytime set that I witnessed in front of a largely sober crowd, and the set culminated with a smashed guitar – clichéd perhaps, but what an atmosphere. The Hunna went on my list of ‘bands to see again’, and I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the gig in Bristol, which was a sell-out.
It was my first time at Thekla, one of Bristol’s most iconic venues. Thekla lived its previous life as a cargo-ship, and you descend into the belly of the beast to reach the stage. The dark, metallic surroundings give the place an incredible feel.
This was the indie-rockers’ first headline tour, but you wouldn’t have known it
Thekla has a habit of attracting some of the best up-and-coming artists, recently playing host to The Sherlocks, the Sheffield-bred Courteeners-esque four-piece, amongst others. The Hunna did not behave like a band that were up-and coming, however. They pounced on to the stage with a certain swagger as ‘I’m On A Boat’ by the Lonely Island played behind them. They were loving it. This was the indie-rockers’ first headline tour, but you wouldn’t have known it. ‘You and Me’ opened the set, with the crowd screaming the words back at Ryan Potter almost before he could get them out. This didn’t stop all night, and it became clear that The Hunna already have a dedicated following.
Potter’s vocals were excellent throughout. The songs have a touch of teen angst, mostly about trying to get the girl, or trying to get her back. He belted the lyrics out with genuine passion, which, combined with his high-pitched vocals, cut through the band. The energy that the band gave off fed into the crowd, with almost everyone bouncing from the beginning. Potter’s shirt was off before we got halfway; unfortunately this gave several sweaty guys in the crowd a licence to do the same.
‘We Could Be’ showcased the band’s obvious confidence. The lyrics claim ‘I bet you wish that you bothered, when this band gets uncovered’ and they sample their own song ‘Bonfire’, something that I personally dislike but the crowd seemed to enjoy. ‘Bonfire’ and ‘She’s Casual’, two of the band’s bigger hits, were saved towards the end of the set. However, the album tracks, while all good, somewhat melted into one. The Hunna have a distinctive sound, but the variance between songs is sometimes lacking, despite almost all of them being catchy and radio-friendly. Complexity is occasionally missing, for example, in ‘Piece by Piece’ where the same simple guitar riff is played for most of the song. The entire set was great fun though and every song was enjoyable; what they may lack in originality, they certainly make up for in enthusiasm and energy.
The Hunna went on stage determined to have a good time and they delivered a fantastic gig. Despite not being the most original, they do crowd-pleasing indie-rock exceptionally well. As a band they were tight, and Ryan Potter’s vocals were stunning live. They’ll definitely stay on my list.