by Brittany Wiesner (Staff Writer)
On Sunday night at the Airfair Lounge in downtown Abbotsford, Ontario band Huron took the stage with Abbotsford natives the Hot Moon Beams, and it was nothing if not a memorable show. I was able to interview both bands before they went on and they were all genuinely friendly guys.
For Huron the show was the last of the Western leg of their tour. Commenting on their tour so far, Aaron Goldstein, responsible for the band’s vocals, guitar and steel pedal guitar, said, “It’s our first time in this band out west and it’s been good, it’s all about continuing to harp on certain markets and trying to figure out where you’re catching on and where you’re not – so here we are.” Bass player Adam Melnick added, “It’s been okay though, we’ve had some good shows and some bad shows but that’s how touring Canada goes. It’s tough because there’s a lot of small towns and a lot of big cities but that’s how it goes. Canada is a just a really big place to get the word out”
When asked how they liked Abbotsford they fondly replied “It’s good, there’s a water slide in our hotel, but we haven’t seen much of the town to be honest.” When Cam Malcolm (vocals and guitar) joined us he said again how great the water slide in the hotel is. “We had lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which was good.” They said they were excited about playing the Airfair Lounge because “When we walked into the hotel we told them we were playing [here] and they said ‘oh that’s the punky place’ which we liked – it’s a good joint.” The opening band, The Hot Moon Beams, share the same opinion of the Airfair Lounge: “it’s a small place, but it’s alright…it’s a nice dark little bar, just cram a lot of people in there and you’re good to go”
Huron, who have been together since the beginning of 2008, say they can’t really pinpoint who their influences are: “I think we get lumped into categories that maybe aren’t that accurate. We like everything. Definitely classic rock but from there everything we’re big fans of 80s, 90s, new stuff and we know it’s really general but that’s the truth: we like it all… We straddle two worlds; the hard music shows with harder bands, but then we also play with bands who are more pop. We try to cater our set to whatever show we’re playing.” When asking the Hot Moon Beams who their influences are they said “Whatever we listen to in the car is our biggest influence for [the show].”
After the interviews I took my seat with my drink and waited for them to finish setting up. With the bar partially filled, the Hot Moon Beams took the stage and started with a bang. The music of the Hot Moon Beams is unique, blending folk, rock and indie music together to make an interesting sound. It was great set, the crowd was into it and there was definitely a good vibe in the air. The only downfall of the show was that it was difficult to hear the vocals, which seemed to be lost to the over-powering instruments, and sadly their stage presence left something to be desired. But overall it was great show.
They played a new song they wrote, “Arlene,” which was excellent. They also played a definite crowd pleasure (and personal favourite) “At the Movies,” which is on their album, available now for purchase. Their set was enjoyable and entertaining, and it’s easy to see why they’re a well-liked local band. At first they were uncertain about playing the show, “originally we didn’t want to because we were going to take a break but then we heard Huron’s music and we really liked them.” And it’s a good thing they changed their minds.
At quarter to 11, after a short break, Huron took the stage. They started out strong and didn’t stop. They’re all such friendly guys and it really came across in their stage presence and mannerisms. They were up-beat and entertaining, it was obvious they’ve been around for a while. They had such great energy – it blended with the audience to make a really fun show. They seamlessly transferred from one song to another, playing a wide variety of genres (from psychedelic to rock) and staying true to what they said in their interview about liking everything. They seem to be good at it all too.
They chatted with the audience, breaking that elusive fourth wall between performer and viewer in a way most other bands are unable to do. They took over the small stage, eventually having to stand on the floor around it, but they still looked great. They were warmly welcomed by the bar, even asking the audience whether or not they wanted something harder or softer, really utilizing the intimacy of the Airfair Lounge.
At the end of their show the audience demanded more, and they delivered with a rock-like number that took the house down (figuratively of course). It had the whole bar cheering and bopping their heads along to the music. The place wasn’t packed but there was an undeniable amount of energy that made it feel like it was. After that song, the audience just couldn’t let them leave and pleaded for more, and they happily obliged, surprisingly putting up with the drunken rants from the lively crowd. After they finished that song the audience asked for a third encore, but they just couldn’t do it. However, they were still cheered on and thanked because of the great show.
It’s safe to say Abbotsford warmly welcomed Huron and I hope they’ll return. Until then, they’ll be sorely missed.