Montreal’s Canada-famous Half Moon Run played The Club at Stage AE on May 6th. Their mismatch of fame - they’re far more well-known in Canada than in the US - means that they play with the cohesiveness and presence of a band twice their size on a stage designed for a band half as big. The end result feels like you won a contest to see your favorite band perform an incredibly intimate gig. Fortunately, Half Moon Run performs like they’re playing to a crowd befitting their hometown fame, creating one of the best bang for your buck shows to come through Pittsburgh.
Though the crowd was small, filling about two thirds of The Club at Stage AE, everyone there was a very avid fan. Every song was met with thunderous applause. Every silence was greeted with several cries of “I love you guys.” One fan insisted on inviting the band back to his place for a party after the show at every chance he got, which the band politely ignored.
The show opened with Warmest Regards, the first track off of their most recent album, after which the band immediately launched into recent single, Turn Your Love. The upbeat, sixteenth-note-heavy track allowed the band to show off their very impressive light setup which featured tall, skinny LED columns that flashed in sequence with the music giving Half Moon Run the distinction of having perhaps the most impressive lights of any smaller-scale show many in the audience had seen.
After opening with six consecutive tracks off of their recent release, Sun Leads Me On, the band played old album favorite Call Me In The Afternoon during which three of the band’s four members drop their instruments in favor of a very elaborate three-part drum part. The band’s drummer impressively manages to play keyboards, sing and drum at the same time. After a few more songs off of their first release, notably the lyrically impressive Need It, frontmen Devon Portielje and Conner Molander did a few slower acoustic tracks on their own.
After the band left the stage, the enthusiastic crowd demanded an encore and made one last-ditch attempt at a party invitation. After playing the upbeat, electronic track Trust, the band ended the show with the first song that many in the audience had heard of Half Moon Run, Full Circle.
Half Moon Run has certainly changed stylistically from their first album to their second album, but their instrumental mastery and outsized stage presence blends the very disparate albums into a cohesive live show that would’ve made for a very impressive show on Stage AE’s main stage but created an intimate and incredibly memorable performance on The Club Stage.