Canada’s highly popular Half Moon Run kept fans spellbound with with their lovely, lush unique brand of indie rock at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge Friday night. Playing before a full house, the band performed a stunning setlist of tracks from their musical cache, continually seeming to take the crowd ever higher.

The band opened with hit single “Turn Your Love” from their new “Sun Leads Me On” release, lit into the ponderous “I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On” and then relaxed into their pop-infused “Nerve” from their first “Dark Eyes” release.

Whatever it is they do to craft set lists for their shows, it worked mightily Friday night as each track did its job, engaging the audience and building perfect momentum throughout the night. Highlights included “Unofferable,” a spellbinding “Works Itself Out,” the dark and brooding “Drug You,” radiant hit single “Call Me in the Afternoon” which elicited a mountainous fan singalong, and ‘Turn Your Love,” currently on PRP’s playlist.

Turn Your Love

Band members moved effortlessly between instruments, at times performing with one set of drums and sometimes with two (a kick drum broke early in the show, which somehow caused nary a wrinkle). While lead singer Conner Molander is a superb, pitch-perfect vocalist who carries much of the vocal work and shines on every track, all band members are great singers. All four leaned into their microphones for “Everybody Wants” and it all worked flawlessly.

About Half Moon Run

Based in Montreal, Half Moon Run are: Devon Portielje, vocals, guitar and percussion; Conner Molander, vocals, guitar, keyboard; Dylan Philips, vocals, drums, keyboard; and Isaac Symonds, vocals, percussions, mandolin, keyboard, guitar.

Their debut “Dark Eyes” released in 2012. It received critical acclaim and was certified Gold in Canada. Following two years of touring, in October of last year the band released “Sun Leads Me On,” their second studio album. “Sun Leads Me On” was conceived in a small town in the north of Canada and recorded in sessions in Montreal and San Diego. It received favorable write-ups from Exclaim and the Edmonton Journal, and in November, peaked at #9 on Billboard’s “Heatseekers Albums” chart.

The band’s official “Full Circle” video, the last song performed Friday night, has more than 5 million views on Youtube.

On tour last year, Half Moon Run’s recent performances include Berlin, Montreal, London, Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto.

Half Moon RunOther show highlights

Additional highlights Friday night were an impeccably performed “Narrow Margins” and the contemplative “Warmest Regards,” both from the new album.

An approximately 90-minute setlist built to a crescendo with stellar tracks “She Wants to Know” and the driving “Consider Yourself.” Both ignited the sold-out venue, with fans intoning the band’s name during minor encore mayhem.

Consider Yourself

“Trust” from “Sun Leads Me On” and “Full Circle” from “Dark Eyes” closed out a most memorable evening.

This polished band regularly plays much larger venues in Canada and with their depth and power it’s easy to imagine their following growing here and abroad.

Emilie and Ogden, also from Canada (Toronto and Montreal), opened the show with a bright setlist that sparkled and mesmerized. Perhaps best described as indie folk pop, proficient harpist Emilie Kahn performed masterfully.

You can find music by Emilie and Ogden and Half Moon Run on iTunes, and on their websites.

While some venues are already sold out, upcoming tour dates for Half Moon Run include Los Angeles  (“The Troubadour,”) San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Half Moon Run are a tour-de-force to experience; if you have a chance to catch them live, don’t miss it.



Cynthia Orlando
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