Concerts Concerts Half Moon Run at the Phoenix

Half Moon Run at the Phoenix

Half Moon Run
The Phoenix in Toronto, ON
November 30, 2013
Review by: Melissa Adamson

The Phoenix was filled to capacity with excited fans eager to welcome Half Moon Run home for the last leg of their extensive tour.

Half Moon Run

Half Moon Run took to the stage visibly thrilled by the warm reception from the audience. With wide smiles, they shared nods and laughed with what seemed to be a humble disbelief at the size of the crowd and their fans’ enthusiasm.

Though they have been steadily growing a fan base in Europe, it was undoubtedly thrilling for them to come home to a sold out show at The Phoenix. While touring extensively across the world they have been able to grow a strong and supportive fan base in Canada that has moved them from headlining at The Horseshoe to The Phoenix in less than a year.

Though their success may seem to be happening relatively quickly it can be attributed to the fact that they put years into developing their style before introducing themselves to Montreal audiences. The time they took to develop as a band allowed them to debut with a remarkable first album and a well-establish sound that is truly their own. Their unique sound evokes intense reactions from fans and appeals to a large audience by bringing together an original mixture of blues, folk rock and electronic.

They showcased their versatility at the start of the set by smoothly transitioning between "21 Gun Salute", "Nerve" and "Judgement." The middle was a balance of slow atmospheric tracks such as "Drug You" and "Unofferable", crowd pleasers "Call Me in the Afternoon" and "Full Circle" and the powerful show stopper "She Wants to Know." The full range of the band’s combined vocal harmonies was shown throughout the set, particularly during the toned down encore that included an acoustic cover of Pink Mountaintops’ "Vampire" at the front of the stage. It is during the upbeat songs that you hear their stadium-filling potential and during the slow songs that you hear the full range of Devon Portielje's remarkable voice. They draw in the crowd with their ability to build moments of suspense and tension that break into percussion heavy choruses, backed by smooth harmonies.

What stood out during the show is their ability to effortlessly fit an impressive arrangement of instruments into every song. Dylan Phillips plays drums and keys simultaneously as Devon Portielje, Conner Molander and Isaac Symonds switch between guitar, keys, samplers and percussion. As front men, Portielje and Molander interact with each other and the crowd, while displaying a well-practiced ease with their instruments. Portielje puts intense focus into his smooth vocals and shares his joy with the audience when he softly smiles into his microphone and grins at his band mates. Molander is equally intense as he sways to the music behind his keyboard, sings harmonies and plays the guitar and harmonica. They stand at opposite ends of the stage so the audience has a clear view of Philips who impressively plays bass via synth, cymbals, snares and a kick drum while also contributing the band’s harmonies. Their compelling lyrics, supported by passionate vocals and inventive arrangements come together with and intense level of practice and poise.

It has been a marathon of a year for Half Moon Run, as they spent the majority of it touring around the world in support of the global release of their debut album, Dark Eyes. They are an incredibly well put together band and will continue to grow and fill venues around the world. They will be in Toronto in May to open for City and Colour at the Air Canada Centre.

Set List

  • 21 Gun Salute
  • Nerve
  • Judgement
  • Turn Your Love
  • Unofferable
  • Call Me in the Afternoon
  • Drug You
  • Full Circle
  • Fire Escape
  • Give Up
  • She Needs to Know


  • Vampire
  • Blues