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Montreal band Half Moon Run’s first Kingston show had the whole crowd singing along to their uniquely catchy tunes

The opening act on Tuesday night were rockers Folly and the Hunter, who had a distinct sound similar to Bon Iver.
The opening act on Tuesday night were rockers Folly and the Hunter, who had a distinct sound similar to Bon Iver.

When Grad Club Manager Virginia Clark encourages you to come see a show, you don’t say no.

And I’m glad I got to see Half Moon Run live before they become a global success.

Dressed to go to a concert Tuesday night, I forgot how warm it gets within the borders of the intimate crowds at the Grad Club.

The opening act from Montreal, Folly and the Hunter, took to the stage first to bring the crowd their brand of soft crooning rock. Reminded of Bon Iver in instrumentation alone, I really enjoyed lead singer Nick Vallee’s unique falsetto that brought a relaxed rock vibe to every song.

The last song of the group’s set, entitled “Ghost,” was a standout number. It reminded me of one of my personal favourite artists, Ben Howard, and his track “Only Love.” The members of the opening act clearly showed their humble attitude by genuinely thanking everyone for coming to the show to see them and Half Moon Run.

It was the silky power behind the music of Folly and the Hunter transitioned perfectly into Half Moon Run’s equally haunting and throbbing set.

With the main act, I may have found my new favourite band — and it’s not just because they’re opening for Mumford & Sons this summer. I’d heard of Half Moon Run before the show, but debated whether to listen to their music beforehand or go to the show with an open mind.

The band has the harmonica riffs of a great country song, mixed with the dizzyingly deep guitar solos of imaginative folk music. But what makes Half Moon Run bona-fide rock stars is their on-stage presence, uniquely a kin to that of a pure rock band.

Their singles “Full Circle,” “Call Me in the Afternoon” and “Nerve” have been stuck in my head since I left the show and show no signs of leaving.

It’s a good thing I did listen to their debut album Dark Eyes all day on Tuesday because I, like the majority of the crowd, was singing along to the lyrics, an occurrence that happens surprisingly sporadically at indie concerts.

Half Moon Run’s album is unique in that no two tracks are the same. After hearing the upbeat opening synth line of “Judgement,” one might be tempted to categorize the group as another buoyant indie group with lyrics to sing about breakups. How wrong they would be after listening to how “Fire Escape” floods into your ears, proving the group has way more in substance to offer.

The trio presented admirable showmanship and a sound almost like a heavier and more sombre version of Fleetfoxes. As the band started their set, already sweating from their sound check, they got the crowd to clap and sway along immediately. Front man Devon Portielje embodied the power of Freddie Mercury as he controlled the stage and captivated the crowd’s attention with his gestures — from every snap of the finger to each removal of his lips from the microphone.

With only one album out, this refreshing energy is synonymous with the national success they’re currently garnering and is so well-deserved.

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