Half Moon Run made its Montreal admirers pine for it this year. Some six months have passed since the release of his most recent album, Salt. On Wednesday evening, finally, the trio returned home.

It was the first of two consecutive sold-out concerts at the MTelus. When artists sell out here, you can feel it. Even before the group arrives, it is difficult to move around and the agitation of the 2000 people waiting for the arrival of Devon, Dylan and Conner creates a palpable tension. Then the clock strikes 9 p.m. and the lights dim. The immediate screams from the crowd are unmistakable: as always, Half Moon Run will receive a triumphant reception at home.

The show defends the trio’s new opus, an album whose melodies and words seduce us, without too many instrumental explosions or great artifices. The concert remains in the same vein: we are delighted by the excellence of the musicians, who give new life to their pieces on stage, and everything is performed in a certain sobriety. The setting itself remains simple, a few props in the background, nothing more. The superb lighting does a lot to give the performance its full visual impact.

As for the music, it is lovely. Half Moon Run is one of those bands whose effort (and talent, of course) you can feel when they are on stage. We can imagine the work they put into developing the show, into practicing these songs which they always deliver to us impeccably. This tangible rigor does not take away their communicative and exciting energy, which is sometimes more felt than at other, much more contained moments. To accompany them, the Esca Quartet often joins the three musicians on stage, offering their always welcome contribution to the interpretation of pieces mainly taken from the album Salt.

The hour and a half concert allows us to play almost the entirety of this record released last June, but also to sprinkle the moment with some favorite pieces from the group’s three previous albums.

You Can Let Go launches the performance. Hotel in Memphis follows, then Everyone’s Moving Out East follows. When it was time, then, to thank the audience for their presence, the loud cheers of the crowd brought a satisfied laugh from the leader, Devon. It must be exhilarating to feel such affection from admirers who never seem to lack enthusiasm. Half Moon Run has the merit of being just as generous with its audience in return.

The show continues and the group shows what they have managed to create with their own songs, making them more complex and surprising. An instrumental introduction continues, a verse changes tone, silences are maintained so that the notes that follow resonate with more intensity. Devon’s voice, sometimes adventurous, creates enchanting moments. Dylan, a multi-instrumentalist, but primarily a drummer, plays in a one-man band and brings several layers of musical textures on his own. Conner, in addition to holding the melody and transporting the crowd with his harmonica or keyboard solos, is overflowing with contagious energy.

Razorblade, which gives way to a soaring performance, is followed by an ovation from the delighted crowd. A little later, a long guitar introduction opens the door to the popular Call Me in The Afternoon riff. The public’s excitement increased tenfold. Grow Into Love, Devil May Care, Goodbye Cali lead to I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On, which gives rise to a superb transition to She Wants To Know, which then mixes with You Can Let Go. The group still has fun reshaping his songs, taking us elsewhere with these pieces that many in the room know by heart. His admirers seem to like it a lot.

So much so that after a little over an hour, a deafening encore quickly brings the trio back on stage for Need It, Favorite Boy and Full Circle. A second encore allows them to return with the Esca Quartet for a very last song, Give Up, which concludes the evening with an intoxicating final burst.