Monday, 29 April 2013

Two Hours Traffic at Divan Orange


                  PHOTOS  |  MIRA DAHN

After finally squeezing my way to the front of the intimate Divan Orange, I watched Saskatchewan’s Rah Rah take over the stage and immediately set the mood for the night ahead. The band obviously had a lot of fun on stage, and their shenanigans were a big part of their charm. Each member of the sextet swapped roles often, taking turns at lead vocals and playing different instruments, which made every song unpredictable and exciting. The band was kept the audience engaged, blasting confetti into the crowd and tossing giant balloons in the shape of the letters R, A and H. Rah Rah signed with Montreal’s HiddenPony Records in 2012 and released their third album, The Poet’s Dead, shortly after.

Check it out!

During the break between shows I managed to plant myself front and center, reminiscent of the first time I saw Two Hours Traffic 4 years ago. The band has undergone some changes since then, parting ways with their previous guitarist Alec O’Hanley. The musicians have shifted within the group as well; bassist Andrew MacDonald took up the guitar allowing the group to welcome Nathan Gill on the bass. Fortunately Derek Ellis has remained on drums and singer-guitarist Liam Corcoran and his unforgettable voice continue to drive the bands unique sound.

The four dove headfirst into their set, starting with their slightly surf-rock ‘I Don’t Want 2 Want You’ and getting quickly to ‘Magic’ describing the feeling of new and exciting love. Many of the songs they played through the night were pulled from their most recent release ‘Foolish Blood’. Liam told me how they paired up with Darryl Neudorf for two weeks to record the album at his studio in Ontario. During that short time the band created a full album of bright, uplifting pop tunes that easily get caught in your head for days. Their live performance has the same enduring effect.

They kept the energy up all night by playing fan favorites including ‘Jezebel’, ‘Stuck for the Summer’, ‘Audrey’ and ‘Heroes of the Sidewalk’. The combination of their concrete grooves and sweeter-than-honey lyrics reinforced their performance. Only one fan left disappointed that night, “Aw, he’s married!” I heard her say when Liam’s wedding ring glittered in the light. Hopefully she’ll get over it. 

Once Two Hours Traffic finishes up their Canadian tour they’re off to impress fans all over Europe and Australia. When asked about the bands success Liam admitted, 

“We didn’t think too far ahead really, I mean we were just kind of surprised we were even getting gigs at all. There was a slow build up to the point where we started touring. It was all a bit of a surprise for us so we didn’t have any big goal in mind other than we wanted to record a couple of albums. But beyond that we had never really thought too far ahead.” 

Since their debut album, the band has gathered quite the list of accomplishments. Their talent for creating timeless, upbeat pop songs is undeniable and has won them several ECMAs and an Independent Music Award. They were also shortlisted for a Polaris Music Prize in 2008. With over a decade of experience under their belt, a strong repertoire and a group of friendly, down to earth guys, I’m expecting many more good things to come for this great band.

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