By Deb Kloeden, Adelaide correspondent in Melbourne
Review: Half Moon Run, Australian Tour
Venue: Corner Hotel, Melbourne, 12th January, 2017
Canadian indie/altrock band, HALF MOON RUN has returned to Australia for a short series of concerts in Eastern Australia, including the Woodford Folk Festival over New Year. I was lucky enough to catch them in Melbourne at the iconic Corner Hotel. They were ably supported by fellow Montreal band, The Franklin Electric, who has toured in the past with Half Moon Run.
Half Moon Run hit my radar big time in 2013, when I first heard their unforgettable debut album Dark Eyes, which was released in 2012. To promote the album here, they toured extensively in Australia, including Adelaide, where I first saw them at The Gov.
The band’s second album, Sun Leads Me on, was written in California in 2015 and released the same year. Writing and producing a ‘follow-up’ album is often a hard call for a band whose first album was so successful. So the band took themselves away to California for some sun and surf to help give them inspiration and take them away from their regular habitats. They wanted a clean start, to create something refreshing and head in a new direction after 2 years of touring and living in each others pockets. The result was Sun Leads Me On.
Their Melbourne concert showcased the best of both albums, opening with ‘I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On’ from Sun Leads Me On. ‘Hand in the Garden’ is a fine example of their euphoric vocals and harmonies, while ‘Everybody Wants’ is one of my personal favourites from the album. The build slowly rises, like climbing a mountain to find an amazing view.
Few bands can perfectly emulate their studio sound live on stage, but Half Moon Run sounds just as good, if not better live. It was wonderful to see the interaction of the band members on stage. They really fed off each other, creating a special chemistry between them. Their energy on stage was infectious. They treated the crowd to harmonies that sounded like a choir in Heaven, drumming frenzies, distinctive repeated riffs and a sound so pure it brought tears to my eyes. I’ve not seen 2 drummers/percussionists work so well together since the days of Genisis.
Their show seemed to pass in a moment. Before I knew it they were thanking the crowd and heading off stage after their distinctive ‘Consider Yourself’ (like a drum machine). The upbeat tempo really gets inside you. But thankfully they returned for 3 encore songs, finally finishing with the truly beautiful ‘Full Circle’, the single from Dark Eyes, that remains one of my favourite songs of all time. The response from the crowd echoed my feelings and stood unmoving after they had gone, hoping for more.
Their show left me with the feeling that I had witnessed something very magical. I feel privileged to have seen Half Moon Run twice in Australia now and hope there will be other opportunities. Their final show of this tour is tonight in Sydney. Then they are embarking on another tour in Canada. So catch them if you can.
Devon Portielje – vocals, guitar and percussion
Conner Molander – vocals, guitar and keyboard
Dylan Phillips – vocals, drums and keyboard
Isaac Symonds – vocals, percussions, mandolin, keyboard and guitar
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