Half Moon Run

support Lydmor
author TL date 13/04/13 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Coming up on the first of two weekends with no firmly laid plans, it's always great to have a friend like AP, who invites you to shows with bands like Half Moon Run, an act that had already impressed me once this week in their warm up slot for Mumford & Sons. Of course, it would be even better if a friend like AP would not get so incapacitated the evening before that he'd end up in no shape to actually show up at the show, effectively leaving our new photographer Philip and I to journey to a sold out Beta without his company. Good form there mate!

In any case, like I said, the place is already bursting with cool young Copenhageners come to check out tonight's music, and Beta-boss Mikkel has a grin on his face sticking the always beloved "SOLD OUT" sign to his door, while Philip and I grab a cold one with house-photographer Kenny in preparation for tonight's support act Lydmor.

All pictures courtesy of Philip B. Hansen

Lydmor

Lydmor's arrival on stage is slightly delayed however, and as she does appear, she fidgets with her various electronic gadgets nervously, mumbling indecipherable apologies into the microphone. You'd think that'd be a shaky start to a show, but the awkwardness just strikes me as the first flash of character from an artist who soon has me feeling a bit like a teenage girl at a Black Veil Brides concert, having to remind myself to focus more on the music and less on the person on stage. Orchestrating loops and samples while dancing around suddenly immersed completely in her music, dressed in the most oddly shaped woolen sweater I've seen recently, Lydmor - whose real name is Jenny Rossander - might not be default subject material for Rockfreaks.net, with the way her eclectic electronica refers more to Björk or Imogen Heap than to any guitar-toting band typically gracing these pages.. But still, she performs with an urgency and an authenticity that enchants me, and as if it wasn't enough, she soon proves that she can really sing as well.

So there are a few squeaks and scratches in her otherwise polished, digital soundscapes - But they're exactly the sort that only lends the show character, as Rossander envelopes the venue in newer material that embraces more naïve, 80's/new-wave sounds, reminding me partly of College while the singing keeps bringing me back to comparisons to The Jezabels' Hayley Mary. Plainly, I'm as intrigued by the spectacle as I think an electronic show is ever going to have me, in a setting where I'm not raving about completely intoxicated, yet I somehow manage to make at least a few critical observations. For one, Rossander's lyrical universe seems to be almost too casual and relatable, to the point where I find myself longing for something with just a bit more pathos or vulnerability, especially because the singing sounds like it could easily carry some more intense subjects. Furthermore, looking at my fellow crowd members is sobering, because their complete lack of animation is enough to remind anyone that Lydmor is 'just' the support act. And that's a shame, because what I take away from this is that Rossander is the kind of artist that should have a roomful of fans like this of her own, and I leave for the changeover with the distinct impression that I need to go home and see if I can turn out to be one of them.

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Half Moon Run

I should've known better than to stay too long in the foyer considering the sold out status of the small Beta, but alas, when Half Moon Run starts, the concert room is of course packed wall to wall and there's no space too squeeze more than few metres in and try to catch as much as possible on one's toes. Not that the Canadian trio are as much a visual spectable as they are a sonical one, soon setting off into the performance of their highly unique mix of ambient, blues and rootsy indie. Singer/guitarist Devon Portielje strikes me as a young Caleb Followill (Kings Of Leon) singing Jeff Buckley songs while playing Gary Moore pieces, as he grooves about fingering his frets while clearly taking pleasure in playing for us.

The band's mostly quiet material hypnotises the crowd for the mainstay of the set, hushing them to the point of bated breaths only to have them break out in vivid applause whenever there's a break between songs. It's hard to not understand the smiles on the bandmembers' faces then, as they play off each other, but still, the focus is on the sound, which frankly is sublime. The sound desk allows the electronic bass notes a volume that lends the patient soundscapes a wonderful dose of live power, and when Half Moon Run breaks out some of their faster songs like "Call Me In The Afternoon" and "She Wants To Know", I'm practically a little amazed to see the venue not turned into a sweaty, elated dancefloor.

Despite the singalongs that break out for especially the single "Full Circle", this never turns into that active a show however. It remains a more grown-up sort of listen-and-appreciate session. And that wouldn't really bother me at all, if I didn't think that Half Moon Run flash one of their few weaknesses as a band - the playing and singing having all been unusually delicate so far - in their very hesitant communication with the crowd. Sure there's grateful between-song remarks, and humility is as always a virtue, but I feel like I'm missing a bit of eye-contact with the audience while playing, and maybe an anecdote or something between songs, to unmistakably feel like the band is really present here with me tonight. So it's symptomatic for my experience of the evening, when the band draws the show near to a close with an unplugged, edge-of-the-stage rendition of (I think it was) the extremely tender "Need It", and I appreciate it in all its brilliance, yet don't feel quite as touched as I did when Dry The River pulled a similar maneuvre a few months ago. Still, we're only splitting shades of greatness here, so take my word for it, Half Moon Run were quite excellent, and you should be sorry to miss them while they're still playing rooms as intimate as this one.

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