Based on the other side of the coast to Punksylvania, Orange County’s Half Past Two packs a big sound blend of ska, punk, and reggae that comes from the combined talent of 9 people. They
Based on the other side of the coast to Punksylvania, Orange County’s Half Past Two packs a big sound blend of ska, punk, and reggae that comes from the combined talent of 9 people. They include:
- Tara Hahn – Vocals
- Max Beckman – Guitar/Vox
- David Parris – Keys/Guitar/Vox
- Cameron Hallenbeck – Lead Guitar
- Mark Anderson – Bass
- Dan Evans – Drums
- Jordy Coutin – Trumpet
- Jack Sneddon – Trombone
- Din Fernandes – Baritone Sax
While quarantine hasn’t been a good look for most of us, this band has taken this time to seize the opportunity and create killer music. HPT’s three song EP, Something Blue, was released in July this year and they have put out a ton of covers as well.
“See You Again” was the first single released from Something Blue. Dan kicks us off with a steady beat and slowly the rest of the band joins along. When I first heard this song, without seeing the accompanying video, I interpreted it in terms of the end of a romantic relationship. They put a cute Dungeons and Dragons spin on it symbolizing the end of a childhood. Missing her friends and so desperate to get their attention, this teenager attempts to change herself to fit in. Ultimately she discovers that her real friends will always make time for her. The entire band is dressed in medieval garb and look amazing.
Next up is “Lying Eyes” and it’s probably my favorite on the EP. The brass section, combined with the old time swagger in Tara’s voice, was just too much for me to handle. On top of that, you can tell that the entire band just has fun being together, creating their music, and being themselves. That alone speaks volumes about them as people and the passion that they have as musicians. One of my favorite things about ska is that it can take a sad or serious topic, such as a lying partner, and make it beautiful and catchy.
“I Will” is a Beatles cover infused with Half Past Two’s signature sound. So truth be told, I am not a Beatles fan. I know, I know…. However, my opinion may have changed a bit – at least for this song. David harmonizes beautifully with Tara while playing the keys and I got a kick out of watching Din and Jack’s reactions to Jordy’s phenomenal trumpet solo. I’m sure in the eyes of true Beatles fans, they did this version justice.
After listening to this EP, I realized that three songs left me wanting more and didn’t give full justice to this review. So I added a couple others to round things out.
“Shine” is a touching tune that Tara wrote for her daughter who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. This soulful, acoustic song showcases the daily struggles of life with a disabled child, but is uplifting and positive at the same time. We all have issues in our lives, but oftentimes they pale in comparison to what others are facing. This is especially true when we become parents and have to watch our kiddos experience pain and hardship that we aren’t able to take from them. There is also a faster, brassier version of this song on the recently released Ska Against Racism Comp.
One of my favorite bands, even still, is Dance Hall Crashers. So imagine how thrilled that I was when a bunch of folks in the ska scene covered DHC’s “Lost Again.” Combining the talents of members of Half Past Two, Bite Me Bambi, Skatune Network, Catbite, and Mustard Plug, this is everything for which you could possibly hope. Total third wave, 90’s nostalgia.
I can’t wait for life to open back up so that I can catch this crew live. As much as they deserve to headline, I almost want them to open. That would allow me to hang out and be goofy with them for the rest of the night. Make sure to do all of the social media stuff that supports this band and our unity community!!!