LIVE: The Hunna / Idolising Nova / Kelsey Karter @ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

By Yasmin Brown

Tonight marks something special for The Hunna – a tour that never was has finally come into fruition and as we stand eagerly waiting, we can barely believe that we’re here. This Watford four-piece usually leave their London show until last, but today we’re kicking off the tour and the pressure is on to bring the energy. Challenge accepted. 

Spurred on by the two opening acts, Kelsey Karter and Idolising Nova – the former of whom is without a doubt set for an amazing career with her boundless charisma and catchy tunes – the crowd are ready to embrace The Hunna with wide open arms. ‘One Hell of a Gory Story’ plays over the speakers as front man Ryan Potter sits ominously in front of a red door and drummer Jack Metcalfe is given his time to shine with a solo kicking off the night before the band launches into ‘I Wanna Know’. It’s the perfect opening sequence and before you know it, beer is flying, limbs are flailing and sweat is dripping.  The Hunna are back, baby. 

This energy never once wanes, either on stage, on the floor or up on the balcony where fans stand shouting and dancing throughout the set. It’s impossible not to feed off those around you, and as a result the atmosphere is nothing short of explosive, especially as Potter and guitarist Dan Dorney bounce around excitedly, strongly channelling the energy of a Duracel bunny. It’s amazing, then, that Potter still has the lung capacity to hit his notes with such perfect force and you can’t help but stop for a moment and gaze in awe as he holds them with apparent ease, not least during the chorus of ‘Dark Times’ – a clear fan favourite. 

It’s the first time newer songs – songs from ‘I’d Rather Die Than Let You In’ – have been played properly to a room full of The Hunna fans and it’s evident that the band are reeling from the experience. The first single from the record, ‘Cover You’, also goes down a treat and sees Potter almost lost for words as the song closes out, breathlessly gushing over the fact that it’s the loudest he’d ever heard it sung back to him and his bandmates. 

The enthusiasm with which the crowd responds to these newer songs highlights just how strong the band’s latest record was. With no opportunity to tour it before now,having now been listening to it for over a year, fans know every word and this live performance gives a new life to every song. Even the band’s unreleased collaboration of ‘I Don’t Like You, Okay’ with support act Kelsey Karter sees the crowd thrown into a frenzy. This show easily cements The Hunna as a rock band as the music translates even heavier here tonight than it ever could on record; they are performers through and through and this right here is exactly where they belong. 

That said, there’s nothing quite like a throwback, and the crowd responds just as emphatically to the older songs on the setlist as they do the new. ‘Piece By Piece’, ‘Sycamore Tree’ (preceded by a successful fan proposal), ‘Alive’ and, of course, ‘Bonfire’ are embraced like old friends, the words spilling to the forefront of our minds as though no time at all has passed since those exciting months following their release. Nothing hits quite as hard, however, as what The Hunna describe as being one of their favourite songs, 2018’s ‘Babe, Can I Call?’ which, accompanied by some sparkly disco ball lighting, sees the loudest and most emotional singalong of the night. The post-performance cheers seem to last a lifetime and, as it turns out, it’s clearly one of our favourite Hunna songs, too. Happiness and satisfaction are thick in the air and the bar for what’s left of the night could not have been set any higher. 

Luckily, every second continues to exceeds expectations, and as ‘Horror’ leads into ‘I’d Rather Die Than Let You In’, even as the end looms near, you’re not given a moment to allow the preemptive sadness to set in. Even the short break before the encore is short-lived, and as Potter screams the chorus of ‘Dare’ and subsequently climbs onto the crowd for ‘Can’t Break What’s Broken’ our opportunity to cool down is immediately a thing of the past.

In true Hunna style, the show closes out with ‘She’s Casual’, the first verse, as has become tradition, being sung exclusively by the crowd. It’s the best and only way to end the night and leaves us all riding the high all the way to the tube station and beyond. The Hunna are a special band and on stage is where they thrive the most. Tonight has been the reunion we all needed and it couldn’t have been any more perfect.