Live at Brudenell Social Club on Friday, 30th October 2015
Half Moon Run's last visit to Leeds saw them grace the stage of Leeds Festival back in 2013. With a great deal of BBC Radio 1 coverage and a fast-growing reputation as a must-see live act, It is no surprise that this particular show sold out weeks in advance. Tonight's date at the Brudenell would see them return to Leeds as part of a European tour promoting new album Sun Leads Me On.
Opening proceedings was the very promising Montreal musician Emilie & Ogden. Although joined on stage by a drummer and guitar/bass player, the name is purely an association between Emilie Khan and her harp. From the enchanting 'What Happened' to the splendid new album title track 'Ten Thousand', Emilie is quick to make an impact. The wonderfully ethereal vocals and intricate harp arrangements are nothing short of heavenly - comparisons with Joanna Newsom are seemingly inevitable and somewhat justifiable.
Emilie performs only a handful of songs from her debut album 10 000 (out on Secret City), but her accomplished display is leaving a lasting impression on the audience - the end of each wistful song greeted with deservedly loud and affectionate cheers. Emilie & Ogden draw the curtain on a tremendous performance with the slow-burning beauty of 'White Lies' and the band depart the stage for the best reception I've witnessed for a support act this year.
The atmosphere turns up another notch when Montreal-based indie rock outfit Half Moon Run arrive on stage. Lead singer Devon Portielje fronting the 4-piece - which includes talented multi-instrumentalists Conner Molander, Dylan Phillips and Isaac Symonds. Calling on guitars, keys/synths, harmonica, percussion and two drum kits, the Canadian quartet work their way through a combination of songs from successful debut album Dark Eyes and sophomore release Sun Leads Me On.
Old favourites such as the organ-led, emotive waltz of 'Need It' and the stirring 'Call me in the Afternoon' go down expectedly well. Fresher songs such as the soaring 'Turn Your Love' and the uplifting folk-pop of 'Hands in the Garden' are also very warmly received. Signature three/four-part harmonies are ridiculously tight and there's a real sense of confidence that runs throughout the band. The pristine Brudenell PA and impressive on-stage lighting further enhancing the spectacle.
Closing out the set with one of the weaker songs from the new album 'Consider Yourself', the band risk finishing rather flat. However, the quartet return to majestic form during the encore - exploring somewhat unfamiliar territory with the new electro-pop single 'Trust', before finishing on a high-note with singalong favourite 'Full Circle'. It's an incredibly solid and finely honed live display and probably the last chance you'll get to witness Half Moon Run in such an intimate space.