Half Moon Run at The Village – Review
Half Moon Run – The Village – 23 November 2013
Montreal based alt-rock act Half Moon Run played in The Village on Saturday night. Half Moon Run, if you don’t know them by now, are a group of multi-instrumentalists who lace their songs with stunning harmonies and comprises of Devon Portielje, Dylan Phillips, Isaac Symonds and Conner Molander. Musically their sound has been described as sounding like a cross between Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Fleet Foxes – a new Grunge Indie style revival. Dark Eyes LP was released via Polydor and Universal in 2012, and since have been building a strong following across the world. Support came from a Scandinavian artist called Mikhael Paskalev, which was well received. Follow up on this guys immense talent here.
Silencing everyone from their chatter, the original trio arrived minus Isaac Symonds and began with ’21 Gun Salute’, as slow ambient lights moved over their heads. Instantly they connected – the band and the crowd who were cheering the entire time. Molander out front with his long ‘grunge’ hair was instantly head banging and rocking from side-to-side while he played his keys Portielje on lead vocalist rocked out with him. They moved on to play the very slick and stylish sounding ‘Nerve’ with its lovely subtle keys from the other band members. Symonds, a recent addition to the band and a phenomenal talent, added an extra quality to the vocal which was wonderful on the ear.
Moving on, they played ‘Judgement’, ‘The War’ and ‘No More Losing’ to an incredible crowd response – cheers, dancing and much appreciation for their seriously alternative grunge style anthems with delicious harmonies throughout, plus we all were loving their touches of harmonica and mandolin throughout. ‘Turn Your Love’ is just “really, really, really, really” awesome, we loved this song, it had so much energy live and their onstage personas were/are electric. Molander on mandolin was simply lost in his music – it was amazing to experience his passion, he is a very inspiring young musician. ‘Unofferable’ followed as the guitar solo by Portielje took things up to another level, they are very modern and fresh sounding. Singing “Take it or leave it” – again, a very Fleet Foxes style vocal. Then they played ‘Call Me In The Afternoon’ which we really loved. Chatting to us, they joked away and Portielje told us Molander broke his rib during a recent ‘friendly bro-fight’.
Did I say ‘Very Grunge’? Their long greasy hair reins its return, as the guitar throbbed along they moved on to ‘Drug You’ tripping across the lyrics and showing off their stunning, soaring guitarman-ship. Phillips on drums has a keyboard within his kit and he told us he could hear we were having a great night, even though he could only see the front row. In harmony for the gorgeous vocal for ‘Full Circle’ they sang with the crowd shouting with them “watch as your hands turn full circle”. All of the band lost themselves in ‘Fire Escape’ and ‘Give Up’ slow, at times bittersweet and their vocals so powerful and perfect. Molander makes love to his keyboard in places, throwing his head back as Portielje knocked out some magnificent high crescendos. During ‘She Wants To Know” the entire crowd were singing the lyrics and completely rocking out.
Suddenly they exited the stage, ‘hashtag’ an insane moment people were shouting and going wild for more…thankfully they returned for an encore, otherwise there could have been a riot. They lined up on the front of the stage to perform ‘Vampire’ as an acoustic. Isaac played mandolin and Molander with his harmonica squealing at all the right points. ‘Vampire’ sent shivers up and down our spines, their harmonies were magical like gold dust. ‘Blues’ ended the night as they sang “all that I know is rock and roll” with Phillips play drums and keyboard simultaneously, while Molander performed an unbelievable ‘Neil Young’ style guitar solo. This was a perfectly slick ending, they exited the stage to cheers of respect.
Half Moon Run are beyond doubt a powerful band, there is so much going on with them and it’s only just the beginning – a very, very exciting band.
Review by Aine Byrne