Bluesfest Day 5: Half Moon Run and The Decemberists

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Half Moon Run performs at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. The RBC Bluesfest is ranked by Billboard Magazine as one of North America’s top ten festivals. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO Mark Horton

After two days off Bluesfest returned Wednesday with a sweltering hot day featuring The Decemberists and Half Moon Run.

Colin Meloy of The Decemberists putting on a show at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO Mark Horton
Colin Meloy of The Decemberists putting on a show at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO Mark Horton

Celebrating 15 years as a band, Portland, Oregon’s The Decemberists seemed in fine form on the Claridge stage. Lead vocalist and guitarist Colin Meloy was having a blast between songs. Before playing “Calamity Song” off their 2011 album  The King is Dead, Meloy said “This song is about the end of the world, but don’t worry Canada survives and goes on to repopulate the world.” I mean that sounds like potential for a pretty good restart at things.

I may be in the minority on this point, but I like it when bands who have been around for a while don’t shy away from playing some new material. It must be hard to play the same song day in a day out, especially when you keep recording new music. I really enjoyed the band’s few new songs mixed in with the songs everyone wanted to hear. One thing rings true for The Decemberists, and that is how very true they are to their sound. They don’t record music they can’t replicate live and as a result really impressed me in person.

Dylan ( ) of Half Moon Running performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Sunday, July 10, 2016. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO Mark Horton
Devon Portielje of Half Moon Running performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO Mark Horton

After The Decemberists I made my escape from the massive sea of people heading for Brad Paisley and found solace in watching Montreal indie rockers Half Moon Run. The Blacksheep Stage was packed for the boys and they wasted no time opening with their hit “Turn Your Love.” The big crowd was well deserved by this hard working and ever evolving band. They are still in the reasonably early days of their career, but I feel like we have seen them grow leaps and bounds already. The band is clearly not resting on their laurels and continue to push themselves.

The only thing more energetic and enthralling than the crowd and the simplistic but amazing light show was the band members themselves. They know how important energy and movement is to a live show and they do not disappoint. They also recognize the important role Ottawa has played in their forming and success. Conner Molander, guitar, keys and vocals, said “We love Ottawa  they gave us this guy,” speaking of their energetic front man Devon Portielje. They thanked the crowd by playing fan favourite and one of the songs that launched the band “Call Me in the Afternoon.” Once again, as during every Half Moon Run show, the band showed everyone in attendance why they are widely recognized as one of Canada best and brightest rising stars in the world of indie rock.

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