zondag 17 november 2019

Perfection? Yes! Half Moon Run live, Amsterdam Wednesday 13 November 2019, Paradiso

Photo: Wo.
Two weeks ago I ended my review of Half Moon Run's latest album A Blemish In The Great Light with the comment can these guys ever be this good on stage? An answer came from the gentleman promoting the band in The Netherlands: "believe me, they are". The answer came from the band itself. There were moments that all I could do was just watch in disbelieve to all that was going on on stage.

While watching Leif Vollebeck playing the support slot, there were all these stacks of instruments covered in behind sheets. What can it all be? Well, all sorts of keyboards, two drumkits, surrounded by more keyboards. And not a guitar insight yet.

For the fans of the band no surprise of course but for a firsttimer like me it is quite a surprise to see a drummer, play drums, two keyboards and sing at the same time, while the second drummer drums, or plays, keyboards or a bass guitar. Dylan Phillips and Isaac Symonds are human automatons, it seems. It is singer Devon Portielje who has an easy time. Just sing and play guitar and a floor tom in one song. The other three keep changing and switching, even during songs. Yes, lead guitarist Connor Molander plays keyboards and harmonica as well and does not mind switching guitar or keyboards during a song as well. On top of that all there are these heavenly harmonies, two, three or four voices strong. So yes, this band is as good as on record. If not better.

If Half Moon Run is one thing, it is in control. Even when the band goes full out, it is never with total abandon to see what happens when they make some noise, no, it is fully to support the song. The result being a perfectly mixed sound, totally balanced, while I was not in need of ear plugs at any moment.

Photo: Wo.
The audience of Half Moon Run is young with many girls. Definitely a show where I brought up the average age some and then more. A show where many were able to sing along songs word for word. What I have with albums from 40 years and a little ago. Nowadays it simply seems an impossibility to remember lyrics (or names of band members and songs titles for that matter). It comes with the years, so they say. I loved seeing the devotion on the faces of some people around me and am sure my own will have shown the same. Half Moon Run is a band to be devoted to.

The only complaint I can possibly have is that the band did not play a few of my favourite songs from the new album. When all is said and done I can live with that for sure. This was a show that touched upon perfection. I am sure if we asked each member individually they will own up to having made a mistake, forgetting a line e.g. in the acoustic song, as a whole this show was perfect, magical. One to cherish for a long time.

Photo: Wo.
Leif Vollebekk is another matter. At least as far as I'm concerned. What I saw was the total devotion of the man to his songs and the way he completely, as it were, disappears into them when performing. For me I could certainly listen to his music. It is not a punishment, so to say, yet I miss something in his songs. There's seldom a melody to cling to, a chorus to sing along to, or something up beat. The music all is of a certain tempo, with percussion missing, until we were asked to finger-klick along. As a whole it sort of drags itself along. Vollebekk's certainly pleasant song does not save him here. The 'country' song was the big change in the show. A harmonica Neil Young style made the show come alive. For me, unfortunately only for one song. Leif Vollebekk's music is not for me, but I certainly admire his musicality and ability to play with his music.


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