Half Moon Run

support Folly And The Hunter
author TL date 22/10/13 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Considering that I'm only really a casual fan of Half Moon Run, and that I've already seen them twice this year, I was actually planning on giving this return to Denmark a miss, but then last Tuesday in Vega was so much fun that eventually I thought "What the hell" and decided to come out anyway. It seems I am far from alone in this decision, as there is already a decent amount of people buzzing around Lille Vega prior to the emergence of tonight's support band.

Full galleries of both bands available soon at philipbh.com

Folly And The Hunter

The support duty has been given to Folly And The Hunter, a quartet that Half Moon Run has brought along from their hometown Montreal, that gets up on stage with a drumkit, two keyboards, both acoustic and electric guitar, and a variety of other things like banjo, xylophone and extra percussion which is shuffled into the line-up on various occasions. More importantly though, is that while I initially think I have them pegged as a lesser known version of either Band Of Horses or Bon Iver, the full half hour journey through their set eventually bring me around references all the way from Ben Howard and Death Cab For Cutie to little known Brits Our Last Infantry.

Future forays into the band's two record albums will reveal them at a floaty mellowness that is truly most like the very first of those comparisons, but tonight the percussion in particular has an added punch that makes the whole show feel like a very interesting sort of stadium-sized post-folk, where vocoder, banjo, synths and acoustic guitar all go hand in hand while setting a very immersive mood. And while it's cause for some snickering in the audience when the frontman gingerly plays a hand-held xylophone up in front of the microphone, the band is so friendly and believably overwhelmed by the surprisingly packed room, that I end up feeling like they were worth coming out for all on their own, rushing onto Spotify to dig up their material immediately upon my later exit from the venue.

Half Moon Run

Before that exit however, there is of course the main event: The first show of Half Moon Run's surprisingly quick return to Europe, having found themselves on the receiving end of a rare amount of positive attention for a Canadian band with only one album release under their belt. And it characterises the evening from the very beginning, that it is almost unbelievable how hip the quartet has become in these parts, as they come on to a loudly elated response from the crowd before playing their first note.

It's hard to blame them then, for being as jittery as kids on christmas eve, looking like they're celebrating a victory before the games have even begun. So while I quickly get the feeling that the band's excitement is almost a little excessive, taking away from the soul of the individual songs they play through, I can understand that the audience's applause between songs only grows, because things sound as tight as only ambitious rehearsal sessions can make them, and especially lead singer/guitarist Devon Portielje is grooving energetically to every movement of the music - Not that his bandmates are far behind, each of them looking almost a little overwhelmed with the good reception directed towards them immediately.

My guess is though, that the crowd recognises on one hand a band that plays exceptionally well, with the beats and riffs pulling insistently at us immediately, and on another a sound that's hardly comparable to anything else at the moment, with Half Moon Run combining eerie synths and folksy harmonica with exuberant modern blues and occasionally danceable drumming. Personally I would argue that except for obvious set highlights like "Full Circle" - which gathers a singalong so strong that Portielje clearly think its almost ridiculous, and "Call Me In The Afternoon" and "She Wants To Know" which both get people moving excitedly, there are actually some lulls in some of the band's more middle-of-the-road songs, where I'd diagnose a tendency to end some compositions a bit promptly, without having completely resolved some of the otherwise excellent build-ups the band stands for.

Things are simultaneously tender and scary strong however, in the mellowest, most Jeff Buckley-ish moments like "Need It" and "Fire Escape". Meanwhile a new song is also played, sounding quite Kings Of Leon-esque and smelling moderately of hit potential, and the crowd gives it a hero's welcome as well. Overall, I'm tempted to say that with the generous mood of a completely full Lille Vega, Half Moon Run can do no wrong tonight, but the reality is that I don't know that, because the band makes zero mistakes that I can put my fingers on. The feeling that their elation gets a bit in the way of them conjuring up the moods in their indivual songs fully, sticks with me, even when they mimic The National in delivering the very last song unplugged from the front of the stage. But other than that, they look so excited to be here, and play with such uncanny precision and energy, flailing guitars around during bluesy solos and everything, that I'd deserve to be driven out of town with torches and pitchforks and everything, if I considered giving them any less than:


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