Life is hard, and music can help! Let’s face it, we live in troubling times. Even if you ignore politics, the corona virus, and natural & man-made disasters, life is a struggle. Music, ska in particular can help.
Have you ever noticed how telethons created to raise money and awareness for a problem are quick to bring out the actors and celebrities to introduce the musicians? Bottom line, music, no matter what genre brings us together. It can sooth our souls and help us cope with life’s troubles and tribulations.
Truthfully, the sun isn’t always shining down on us, we all know that…. but in the world of ska, it does shine it little more brightly More than any other style of music, except gospel, ska music can lift your spirits, bring a smile to your face and help restore your faith in humanity.
Half Past Two are an OC ska band who have been bringing the local sunshine for years, and they’ve provided examples of overcoming life’s challenges and celebrating the good stuff. They’re a good reminder of the important things we all need. We first took notice of them years ago with a tune called Girl in a band. Since then, they’ve been entertaining us with a sonic vision that has worked.
For Orange County, ska is more than a scene, it’s literally a community. Looking back, the OC was the center of the music world back in the 90’s during the Third Wave of ska era. So Many bands came out of this place… the list is unreal. Main street America got to know bands like Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, Save Ferris and No Doubt just to name a few. Like anything else in life, nothing lasts forever and Third Wave ska eventually became a footnote in music history. Several years later, when ska wasn’t all the rage anymore, local OC bands remained loyal to their music and their fans and as a result, kept the scene alive.
With the spotlight away from the OC ska scene, a few bands emerged and became the heart and soul of the OC ska community, Half Past Two is one of them. Being part of the community, they’ve shared the stage with just about every band who calls OC home. They take part in all the events that support other bands and the community. They’ve even teamed up for music with other bands as they did with Hooray For Our Side front-man Evan Wohrman for their cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.
With all this in mind, this band has one thing in common with all the bands that have ascended to legendary status. They also partake in things that matter. That said they created a campaign around an acoustic version of the song ‘Shine.’ From vocalist Tara Hahn: “In early November we released an acoustic song I wrote for my daughter who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Type 2. Since I was reluctant to release it because of the song’s very personal message, Max (Beckman, Guitar/Vocals) suggested we use the song to promote awareness for SMA and raise some funds for CureSMA.”
And as you might expect, the community responded.
Tara: “The response was very overwhelming, and for me, unexpected. People really responded to the message and I heard a lot of very sad, but touching stories. I’m glad that it could mean that much to so many other people.”
HALF PAST TWO LIVE
Ska on the Red Carpet?! OC Fashion Week is an annual event in March highlighting the vibrant and forward facing OC fashion community. This year, they chose five music acts to work with for a show “Branding The Band” and smartly chose Half Past Two as one of their flagship bands.
Tara: “We were contacted to be a part of OC Fashion Week’s #brandtheband Campaign for the 2020 event. The gist of it is that they make over the band three times by pairing us with professional hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylists; like our own entourage.”
OC Fashion Week, March 16-18 See ‘Branding The Band’
“At the end we get to play our music during one of their catwalk runway shows at Fashion Week in March. We find it sort of strange that they wanted a nine piece ska band, but we’re not complaining! They wanted ska and we’re happy to be the ones to provide it at such a posh event.”
New Music! Never one to rest on their laurels, Half Past Two has a whole slate of great new music coming out throughout 2020 to keep you smiling! The band that brought us the blast of ‘So Cal Summer’ and their collab with Tahlena of Bite Me Bambi, a brilliant cover of the Josie & the Pussycat’s ‘Three Small Words’ among many others and consistently puts out acoustic renditions of their own songs and cover tunes will be releasing an EP this month, including the first single ‘See You Again’ on March 13!
Tara: “In December we recorded three songs at Pot of Gold Recording in Orange with David Irish. We did everything in one long day and we tracked things together to give it a live sound, something we’ve never done. I’ve heard the Masters and everything is VERY good, I’ve never been more proud of a release. We’re calling it “Something Blue” and we’ll release each song about a month apart beginning in March.”
But wait, That’s not all… “In May, we plan on going back into the studio with David Irish to record at least the first half of a full length album. We’ve been working a lot together on new material, trying different writing styles, listening to each other’s ideas, collaborating with people outside of the band; it’s all just very exciting and gives me a really good feeling about the band. We’re really meshing right now and I think this album we’re writing is going to show how serious we all are about what we’re doing together.”
So needless to say, it’s a great time to be a Half Past Two fan; Not only are you getting new music but you can see them live (they’re one of the most active bands in the OC—even recently playing a gig in San Diego and then racing up to Long Beach for another the same night!) and hear the new songs along with their amazing catalog.
One thing about this band that is certain, yes, they are really good people who do really good thing. Then, here’s something to consider…. the thing about the OC music scene is that in the end, you are judged by the quality of your music and your live performance. That’s something you just can’t fake or mail in on any night. In the end, you are your music and how much you put into it. That is one of the main reasons Half Past Two has had the success and longevity they’ve had, they really good. They play high energy, soulful and electrifying music, with Hahn’s vocals and onstage persona, they represent all that is good and decent about the OC ska community. Today’s band consist of Hahn (Vocals), Max Beckman (Guitar, Vocals), David Parris (Keys, Guitar, Vocals), Cameron Hallenbeck (Lead Guitar), Mark Anderson (Bass), Jordy Coutin (Trumpet), Jack Sneddon (Trombone), Din Fernandes (Baritone Sax) and Dan Evans (Drums).
With the commercial success of bands like The Interrupters and juggernauts that are back in the spotlight like The Specials, Madness and Reel Big Fish, it’s cool to love ska again! Make no mistake, these bands are the backbone of ska, but bands like Half Past Two are its soul.
If you want to see the best of OC ska, check out Half Past Two March 22nd at the Locker Room at the Garden Amp .
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Be FEARLESS In Pursuit of the Thing That Sets Your Soul on Fire