The Hunna, Judas, Airways, Liverpool Olympia, 14/07/2018

A day following their album release, The Hunna finally make it to their Liverpool Olympia show, and we sent David Hughes down there for the word.

A year since they last came to town, The Hunna turned up at the Olympia on the second night of their six night UK tour.

Advertising their new album, Dare, which was released on Friday, The Hunna played a supposedly sold out show, despite the fact the room was no more than one third full at its peak.

The sophomore album was originally supposed to be released, along with the tour to support it, back in May, but both were postponed so not to upset the parents of their predominantly teenage fanbase during exam season.

Due to the lack of fans at the gig and comments on Facebook, and the fact that nobody on the web seems to have reviewed the album, this move appears to have back-fired on the four-piece from Hertfordshire.

Walking on to ambient synth arrangements appears to be the flavour of the night, as Airways open the show. With their sound seeming a mash up of early Arctic Monkeys riffs and Rat Boy style singing, the crowd seem intrigued; not enough to dance however. Airways played a lively set, including from their latest EP Starting to Spin, with the highlight being “White Noise Boys“, which did cause the committed fans to become rather raucous. The four-piece indie-rockers, from all over the world (the drummer moved from Chicago to join the band), perform a cohesive and polished set, that confirms BBC Introducing’s faith in supporting them.

“The party starts right now” announces John, the Liverpudlian frontman of London based Judas. Experimenting with some electronic elements in their predominantly indie rock sound, Judas has earned comparisons to U2 and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Their set moved fluidly through their anthem sound, which would be more suited to a stadium venue, into some more ballad-style tracks, while in a break John gives a shoutout to his auntie after she had been consistently waving to him throughout the set. The crowd react more favourably to Judas, with an element of home support – t-shirts everywhere. During the final track, the crowd are ushered to get on the ground and jump up for the final chorus, which they dutifully oblige. This is a strong performance by Judas, that sees them gain some new fans along the way.

The Hunna run on to an amass of screams from their dedicated teenage fanbase, and the stage is suddenly impossible to see through the ocean of camera phones. Starting with a heavy instrumental track, moving into the album’s headline track “Dare“, The Hunna burst into their set.

The set consists of purely the new album, as you’d expect from a gig advertising it, however there were mixed feelings from even the most dedicated of fans, who felt disappointed that there weren’t any of the classics thrown in. While a couple of the new tracks take a different groove to others, one song a love ballad that the frontman dedicates to his mates in the crowd who have just got married, the overall feel of the new stuff is that nothing is different to the previous album, which feels slightly discouraging.

Due to this, and despite the passion and effort from the band, even the rowdiest of songs become tiresome to listen to by the end of the night. It’s only in a couple of the singles from the new album that the crowd has any form of engagement, with some fans jumping on each other’s shoulders – the typical Hunna moshing remains distant.

The band run off stage after the completion of the set, with a slight disappointment in the air. The band return on stage for fan favourites “She’s Casual” and “Bonfire“, two of their most popular tracks. This is where the night comes alive, with the crowd jumping and screaming the lyrics in unison.

This night feels marred by the postponement of the original dates, the most likely cause for the lack of people in the massive room, and the lack of fan favourite tracks in there. A smaller venue, maybe that of the O2 Academy or even the Arts Club would have been more suited to the amount of people. Maybe this can be a lesson to artists who ever consider postponing a tour or dropping the ‘classics’ from a tour.

Words by David Hughes, featured photo courtesy of the Liverpool Olympia.

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