Half Moon Run’s performance at the Albert Hall was a display of their collaborative power and their ability to navigate vast emotions with their music. It was a night where beauty met sadness, harmony danced with menace, and despair gave way to groove. The audience witnessed a band pushing the boundaries of their musical chemistry. As a venue the Albert Hall in Manchester was described by Conner Molander as “gorgeous,” providing a perfect backdrop for the band to showcase their latest album ‘Salt‘. The show opens with ‘You Can Let Go,’ the first track from the album. It is evident that the band have all the belief in their latest material. It begins hurried and dark and when Portielje’s high notes cut through, the audience are already tuned in. The band, as they often do, rescue their listeners from the brink with a catchy chorus that uplifts. This is going to be the pattern for the rest of the show, precision-cut harmonies, intricate compositions, and intricate rhythms with huge emotional weight, all performed by a three piece of highly skilled multi instrumentalists.
While the latest album ‘Salt’ harks back to the signature bass lines, drum beats, and melancholy it also showcases maturity and growth, the album is somewhat of a slow burn compared to earlier work, but full of songs with huge emotional pull. ‘Hotel in Memphis,’ a song exploring inner turmoil, follows a similar trajectory. Bathed in a ray of orange light, the band’s expertly executed chorus provides another emotional rescue. The tension builds once more as Portielje and Molander converge around a single drum, taking turns to set the intro in motion. The song’s unmistakable falsetto hook, ‘And I love you,’ and Latin-inspired piano add to the atmosphere inside the Albert Hall.
The setlist continues with a selection of tracks from their second and third albums, including ‘Narrow Margins‘ from ‘Sun Leads Me On‘ and the crowd-pleaser ‘Razorblade,’ which transforms into a sing-along experience. It’s evident that their fanbase are as loyal as they come.
Returning to ‘Salt,’ the slow-building title track, characterised by swirling synths and introspective lyrics are a snapshot of where the band are these days. It seamlessly flows into ‘Call Me in the Afternoon,’ arguably one of the standout tracks from their debut album, demanding energy from their audience. This proves that despite the change in pace and the change in song writing, these songs aren’t a million miles away from each other and to put one of the newer tracks alongside a classic speaks volumes for how the band believe in their recent body of work.
Towards the end of the set, the band delivers another beautiful moment with ‘I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On.’ All three members gather around a single microphone at the front of the stage, creating an intimate connection with their audience. The encore begins with ‘Favourite Boy,’ one of the stand out tracks from their debut album and one of their most beloved songs. Followed by this Molander engages the crowd in choosing between ‘Give Up‘ or ‘Drug You‘ from their debut. The night concludes with ‘Full Circle,’ the first track from their first album, which, though intentional, carries a different meaning after all these years. The crowd sings along, swaying to the beautiful arrangements and it’s clear that the band’s unmistakable sounds have matured and evolved into something their audience now has ownership of, it has become full circle between band and audience.