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Half Moon Run Review

Written by Chelsea Carlson. Photography by Craig Fleisch

Have you ever loaded a canoe off the coast of O’ahu, packed with only a few litres of water, a sh*tload of red wine and some beef jerky, setting weak-armed paddles for Rabbit Island? Me neither, and I don’t even know that that would be possible, but if it were, Half Moon Run would be the soundtrack for the journey.

I attended tonight’s show at The Imperial, Vancouver’s up-and-coming intimate, grungy-chic venue that’s started calling on the offshoot Gastown/Main Street crowds for the last year or two. The dirty sophistication of the attendees was apparent in the couture shoes & Salvation Army tee’s, yet the musical knowledge & emotion was vast, at least, according to my experience. If you didn't feel this way, perhaps you should venture beyond the front row of hot, hair-flipping “band-aid” (have you seen Almost Famous?) babes that were aplenty.

Being on the arguable side of short, I couldn't get a firm view of the band whose talent I came to assess (that’s what those of us do when we have little talent of our own), so I went upstairs to the mezzanine, where I inadvertently attended a wake I wasn't initially invited to. 

The men beside me slow danced together while selflessly pushing me to the front of their view, in near tears. I didn't understand, nor did I need to; I just assumed I’d finally met others with the appreciation for sound that I so rarely find. The set list began with Turn Your Love from the folk-forward 2015 album release Sun Leads Me On, which most of tonight’s songs came from but Call Me in The Afternoon & She Wants To Know reigned us back in to the more familiar, grittier, Dark Eyes album of 2013.

I chatted with my new friends about what we were hearing, and comparisons of Dire Straits and The Avett Brothers were tossed around, while I am certain I walked by key members of Vancouver band Bend Sinister, in the crowd. As the evening progressed, I became privy to the fact that I was sharing space with the brother of Half Moon Run’s biggest fan, who had just suddenly passed. They came to celebrate his life. And what a celebration it was with heavy guitar riffs, melodic harmonies and even a new age lullaby or two. 

The Canadian band members originate from both BC and Ontario, apparently now residing in Montreal. There is a downhome country feel to their unassuming style, and approachability in the words they write; not every band can call themselves lyricists but these four surely put some honesty into the mantras they cite.

I am moved by all things emotional and I was privileged to share the evening with the fellows that I did. There is always something more powerful about experiencing music with a personal context from the crowd. May the sweet brother you lost rest in the peace, drums, pianos and vocals that tonight provided.


Evening Setlist:

1. Turn Your Love
2. Figure Out
3. Nerve
4. Hands in the Garden
5. Unofferable
6. Works Itself Out
7. Narrow Margins
8. Call me in the afternoon
9. Drug You
10. Need It
11. Devil May Care
12. Everybody Wants
13. The Debt
14. She wants to know
15. Consider Yourself


1. Trust
2. Full Circle

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