Half Moon Run The Exchange, Regina SK, July 16
Published Jul 17, 2019Over the course of their Regina set, Half Moon Run demonstrated why they have a reputation for technical prowess. Conner Molander moved from keys to bass to guitar to harmonica, and Isaac Symonds went from synth to drums, at one point even playing a shaker with one hand and drumming with the other, while frontman Devon Porteilje played his own snare drum for a few songs. Just as impressive is how effortless they make it look and how unpretentious they appear, as though they're really just earnestly exploring sounds in all their possible configurations.
They played groovy, heartland rock songs complete with guitar solos; alt-country numbers that featured slide guitars; atmospheric, slow spacey songs; noisy kraut songs and some wavy psych stuff. After one of their new songs, which was acoustic and cosmic in equal parts, a fan screamed, "Yeehaw!"
"We are in cowboy country, aren't we?" Portielje deadpanned.
This joyful fun coloured the evening. When Molander enthusiastically went for a guitar solo, even dropping to his knees at one point, he seemed like a virtuosic class clown: loaded with talent, eager to please and goofy as hell. Portielje had a similar energy, hopping up and down as he sang his lyrics, pointing to the sky for emphasis, and even offering fist pumps during breaks. While Symonds and Dylan Phillips played the straight drumming men to the more demonstratively gregarious Portielje and Molander, the band looked like it was having fun; for a rock band making exploratory, experimental rock music, they smiled a lot.
At the end, the audience were shouting for one encore and then another. And Half Moon Run, whose love of joy and music and fun and exploration seem to run deep, were happy to give what the audience asked for.