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© 2017 The Strand Magazine

Half Moon Run at Electric Brixton 07.11.19

November 19, 2019

As the crowds pour through the doors of Electric Brixton on a cold November evening, a lively buzz radiates from the venue. The aptly sold-out show of Canadian four-piece Half Moon Run is the first London gig the band have played in a long time. After the release of their second album 'Sun Leads Me On', the band went quiet until recently with the start of their world tour and the release of their album 'A Blemish in the Great Light', only a week before the show.

Photo from Half Moon Run Facebook page

 

Opening with lesser known songs, like ’21 Gun Salute’ and ‘I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On’, the set starts off a little slow. However, the band’s well-rehearsed parts still burst with emotion and spirit. Things pick up with the band playing the first song from their new album, ‘Then Again’. Beaming from ear to ear as he sings, front man Devon Portielje realises the audience already know the lyrics and are singing along, even though the song only came out a few days ago. Then it’s time for one of the band’s biggest crowd-pleasers: ‘Turn Your Love’, which the audience simply goes mad for. It’s evident from the band’s sheer level of positive energy that they thrive off playing gigs like this.

 

‘Favourite Boy’ from their latest album really showcases the band members’ talent as multi-instrumentalists, in particular when Isaac Symonds’ switches from drums to banjo. The band’s varied set follows with the ballad ‘Unofferable’, keeping the audience on their toes. One of evening’s most memorable moments is the band’s performance of ‘Sun Leads Me On’, the title track of their second album. All four members gather around one solitary microphone in the centre of the stage with only an acoustic guitar and a banjo. This utterly mesmerising rendition is reminiscent of performances of other great bands such as Flyte.

Photo from Half Moon Run Facebook page

 

The band switch the mood up again with some more upbeat tunes, following with the new politically fuelled track, ‘Razorblade’. ‘Call Me in the Afternoon’ comes next, a classic from their debut album 'Dark Eyes'. This is one of two songs by Half Moon Run that features the infamous percussion their fans are so drawn to. Portielje sees this fondness in the crowd and is determined to launch his drum sticks high in the air into the crowd when he’s done with them. A somewhat questionable choice health and safely wise, but pretty cool nonetheless.

 

Just like with any other show, the band comes back on for an encore. As Portielje waltzes back on stage, he remarks: “you guys are so cool.” This leads to a shrieking cheer from the crowd. He jokes: “got a really serious song coming up next,” to which the band begin to play, under hot pink stage lights. Its the intro to one of their new tracks, ‘Jello on my Mind’. This, weirdly, is a rather sexy sounding love song purely about jello. Part of the reason this song is so brilliant and so popular among the band’s fans is because it’s in such great contrast to their usual mellow tunes. The band naturally complete their set with their most well-known song, ‘Full Circle,’ renowned once again for its striking use of percussion, and the crowd goes wild for it.

Photo from Half Moon Run Facebook page

 

It’s worth noting just how good these guys are live; I’d even go as far as to say that their songs are better live than their studio recordings. This isn’t necessarily because of the technicality of their performance, but more so to do with the power they cultivate when they perform, absorbing the energy from the crowd and using in their favour. They bring so much vitality and emotion to their performances that simply can’t be felt through listening to their songs through your headphones.

 

If you want to get a taste of this immense energy, Half Moon Run are back in London at the Roundhouse on the 12th March next year.

 

Edited by Charlee Kieser, Deputy Digital Editor

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