Half Moon Run - Lawrence, Kansas; Granada Theater 01/25/2016

I took to the road solo for this show.  It isn't a fun drive (4.5 hours) but Lawrence is a great town.  I love traveling much more in these days of GPS and not getting lost trying to find new places.  My hotel was a Days Inn and I must say it was clean, but rather barren and dreary.  As always lots of good food around town, but I have to single out Ramen Bowls as truly unique and impressive palate teasers.

The Granada Theater space is just that....space.  There are no seats.  It is all general admission.  So seeing the band is about as good as it gets. You can move around and see them about as close as you want from any angle.  There are two bars and with this smallish audience (>200<300) buying a drink was a no waiting game.

Opening was Emilie & Ogden.  I was unfamiliar and initially unimpressed by the girl, her harp and a light bulb in a birdcage.  By the third song I was engaged and enjoying it very much.  A rather intimate artist to be opening for a rock group but I think she got the audience pumped up and there were a few people there mainly because of knowing her from the internet.

Half Moon Run took a bit finalizing their set up and began rather unceremoniously.  I was very anxious about how only four guys could play the intricate and demanding music live.  It was a challenge to be sure.  There was one righteous moment when it all worked perfectly, several stupendous songs that had the crowd genuinely rocking out, and a few times the staging just wasn't up to the song.

I think the weak parts are just growing pains.  They need to hire a couple musicians for touring.  While it is impressive to see musicians playing multiple instruments, it can slow the momentum of the performance when playing takes over from showmanship.  There is no focal point in their show with the two leads on either side of there stage, it is hard to know where to watch, meanwhile the center of the stage is a blank space.
The lighting effects were basic, but extremely well timed and executed.  They really became the driving force of the show drawing music and audience together in synchronicity.  If the lead singer could be broken away from his instruments and engage more with the audience this band would have what it takes to start filling larger venues.  I saw the potential in the lead singer to achieve this future in those rare moments when he was focused only on singing.

I really wish dancing would make a comeback at concerts.  In the mid to late 80s I found concerts to be much more exciting when the audience was fully submerged in the music to the point of everything from slam dancing to mosh pits to just getting into it as individuals in a flail of limbs.  Being in a crowd of head bobbers isn't the same.  I used to judge my level of enjoyment by the number of bruises I came home with.  Today's audiences are just too sedate and expect to be passively entertained.

They performed what seemed a rather short set in my opinion with no filler, cramming as many songs into as small a space as possible.  I was out the door at just a little after 10pm wishing it could have lasted another hour, but since for most people Monday is a work or school night it was probably for the best.  I heard all the songs I was hoping to hear and was proven correct to think this band has a bright future.  The songs from their two albums are emotionally captivating, thoughtful and playful.  I have nothing but praise for both records.

I would like to thank whoever posted the live shots I found on the internet.  I don't have a camera right now and find phones just too hard to use for picture taking.  


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