With Facebook’s move to efforts like the metaverse, new and exciting opportunities for artists and businesses are being made available. How many of these opportunities enrich the consumer is still being seen, and the more cynically minded might take issue when an internationally known band like the Hu teams up with an NFT company to bring fans a concert in Metaverse world. And while there is definitely a cynical element to it, the show did bring fans something that changed the way the concert was experienced and how they interacted with the music. Virtual bands are not new. World of Warcraft has its own band “Elite Tauren Chieftain” which can be seen at special events for free. They do the same scripted movements, head banging, playing the instruments, potentially crowd-work, but the key things to remember is their quality is comparable to that of the who graphically, and their performances are free. So regardless of your opinions about the logistics of the show, going forward in this review, just remember, the graphics and actual performance of the avatars, has been done and can be seen for free, just with a band that maybe doesn’t have the recognition of somebody like the Hu. And for those unaware, the tickets in America started at 20 bucks for something the dark moon faire in WoW does already. That being said, let us examine why the Hu show manages to exceed expectations and bring us something new and unique.
Many a metalhead have wanted to ride into battle playing their favorite music, and the Hu has delivered on this fantasy. In this show there is a storyline. The Hu are sent by the Gods of their People to be the hope for humanity against the demons who are destroying the world. This plot element is tastefully weaved into a background of traditional steppe folklore. After a few songs, another cutscene will play, this time the band will lead an army of humanity to war under the sign of the “wolf-totem” the war council is held, then the battle, and the story keeps building and building. There are melee attacks, and ranged attacks, and the listeners get to experience the folklore behind the lyrics, in a concert with video game elements. It is something that at its core, is wish fulfillment for those of us who like our battle metal (the Hu are technically more rock but lets just ignore that). So why the average rating? This is the logistics side. The advertising materials and live updates for the United States forgot to factor in daylight savings time, and this reviewer logged in to see expecting fans an hour early. But admittedly the information could be gained otherwise so the bigger issue is the tech specs. The Mac recommendation for hardware was exceeded by the computer that was used to attend the show, and at multiple points during the show the app crashed. This is the main distraction from what would otherwise be an incredibly immersive experience all things considered. But barring the tech specs, and the communication, the only other qualm is the graphical elements and scripts for the avatars were already available in video games where there wasn’t an entry price and in-app purchases.
At the end of the day, this dimension of interactive concerts looks incredible on paper, and allows more fans to access the bands they love. But the NFT sales, and the excess cosmetics sales and potentially buggy software can cause issues going forward. It will be interesting to see more shows like this going forward, but I hesitate to say it would make for a new industry standard. If the Hu offers more shows I recommend them highly for fans, but not for those who aren’t incredibly interested in the band.