A&E » Arts

Open road for Two Hours Traffic

East Coast band heads to B.C. on Canadian tour with material from Little Jabs, and their latest album in the works



Who: Two Hours Traffic

When: Saturday, Nov. 15, 9:30 p.m.

Where: GLC

Admission: $10 in advance at GLC, Katmandu and The Hub

With Liam Corcoran on lead vocals and guitar, Alec O’Hanley on guitar, keyboard and vocals, Andrew MacDonald on bass and Derek Ellis on drums, this indie band packs a powerful punch with their folk-inspired pop rock.

The foursome are pretty good pals, with at least two members — O’Hanley and Corcoran — going way back, all the way to kindergarten, in fact.

“I took piano lessons from his aunt with him when we were six years old,” O’Hanley recalled. “We’ve been picking away at it for a while now.”

The two formed an acoustic duo, also named Two Hours Traffic, during their high school years, bonding over a mutual appreciation for bands like Weezer, Beck and Radiohead. The moniker, which is actually extracted from the prologue to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, carried forward to the four-man band they formed while studying at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

“I think the name just, these days, speaks to the universality of the band,” he said. “A lot of people like to take a crap on Shakespeare it seems just because everybody likes him, which has a parallel in pop music, too. A lot of people are pretty dismissive of the whole thing just because people like it, which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

The band put together a demo and handed it off to a well-known East Coast musician and producer, Joel Plaskett, who was playing a gig at a bar in their hometown.

“We’d been fans of his, and I just waltzed up at the end of the show and gave him our first EP, The April Storm , and he, gratefully, took it.”

A week later, O’Hanley sent him a gentle reminder via email to listen to it, and received an unexpected reply: Plaskett wanted to work with them.

“That was huge. You never expect that people actually listen to these things, but we lucked out — it was the first CD that we’d given to a person, really,” he said with a laugh. “After that, we just kind of packed it in, in terms of giving CDs out.”

Plaskett came on-board to produce their first self-titled full-length album, which was very well received — the track, “Limelight” was featured on the hit TV show, The O.C. “Better Sorry Than Safe” made CBC Radio 3’s year end list in 2005, and the album was ultimately nominated for best rock recording at the 2006 East Coast Music Awards. The success was definitely unexpected.