Breakout group proves their worth opening for Jimmy Eat World

By Ellise Shafer, ’17

When Arlingtonian photographer Charlotte Janes and I were asked to review British indie rockers The Hunna opening for Jimmy Eat World on October 13th, we were hype. High off of our success at Breakaway Festival, we arrived to the venue a full ten minutes early and asked for our press passes with confidence. However, we soon realized that we had spoken too soon when the lady behind the will call window told us, “I don’t see your names on the list.”

Uh-oh. Pits formed in our stomachs as we stepped out of the line.

“I’m sure they’ll have our names on there soon,” Charlotte assured me. “Let’s wait a few minutes and then ask again.”

Five minutes passed, then ten. We watched a reporter from OSU’s The Lantern who had also been waiting for a press pass get his and go inside. A half hour later– still nothing. Charlotte and I debated on what to do: go home? Wait a little bit longer? Thankfully, I had a light bulb moment: we had been emailing back and forth all week with the company that had set us up to do this, Golightly Media, and most companies have a phone number listed at the bottom of every email, right?

Right. Feeling triumphant, we called the number, but there was no answer. However, just below the company’s number was a personal number for the representative. This one worked, and the Australian-sounding girl on the other end explained to us that her email had stopped working and so she was unable to send in our names for the guest list. After profusely apologizing, she told us that she would call the band’s manager in an attempt to get him to come out and let us in. So, we waited… again. It was now 7:45, giving us only 15 minutes before The Hunna came on stage.

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Needless to say, we were freaking out. Now, our representative wasn’t answering the phone and there was still no sign of the manager. So, we went with our last resort and went up to the will call window again, asking if our names had been added yet. She smiled and told us that they were added about thirty minutes ago. Of course! Sighing out of relief and annoyance, we finally picked up our passes and headed into the press pit, only to be stopped by a large security guard who informed us that the first two songs in which we were allowed to be in the pit had already passed. Just our luck.

Defeated but determined, Charlotte still managed to take pictures from the side of the stage, and I focused on the few songs of their set that were left.

The Hunna are an insanely new development, having just formed in 2015 out of Hertfordshire, England. Signing quickly with 300 Entertainment, their first album “100” was released in August to rave reviews.

Upon first look, The Hunna appeared to just be four young, music-loving lads. Lead singer Ryan Potter sports long blonde locks that he enjoyed whipping everywhere throughout their set and bassist Jermaine Angin was wearing a Brand New t-shirt. So very indie.

However, don’t be fooled: these boys possess true musical talent. Potter introduced “You & Me” as their biggest hit, and then proceeded to play a rendition of the song that sounded exactly like the recording. All around, the band displayed phenomenal energy and Potter’s clear vocals showcased solid lyrics. Next, The Hunna played my personal favorite, “She’s Casual” (shoutout to Spotify’s Discover Weekly for putting it on my radar). This song starts out acoustic and then builds impressively into a chorus that draws comparison to Catfish and the Bottlemen. As for instrumentals, an energetic guitar and catchy bass lines reminded me of Hippo Campus, except more British (naturally).

Potter preceded their last song of the night with some sweet words: “We’re a long way from home and this is a pretty big deal for us so we were pretty nervous, but it’s great to be here doing it.” They then went straight into “Bad For You”, a song in which they were very confident. This was apparent by the way they were jamming, proving that they are not only talented musicians, but a truly cohesive group. The chorus consisted of the catchy “I’ve got it bad for you”, and had the crowd singing along by the end of the tune. And then they were off, concluding an impressive opening for 90s frat-boy hitmakers Jimmy Eat World, who are most popular for their hit “The Middle”.

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So, although the experience definitely had a rocky start and we did not get to see their whole set, The Hunna still impressed. For lovers of bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, Hippo Campus and The Kooks, The Hunna are a natural next step. The future looks bright for these boys, so keep your eyes peeled for them to be selling out the Newport in the coming years.