The parking lot at 517 Boston Post Road was filled on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at noon, an unusual sight for passersby who know the little strip mall primarily for the large anchor business, The Orange Ale House & Grille.
So, what was going on? An early happy hour? A pre-black Friday sale at the game store next door?
No, actually, it was much more exciting than either of those. The Ale House and owner Jim Hassenmayer were hosting a private concert by the Indy band “The Fray” sponsored by Radio Station Star 99.9.
Black curtains hung over the front and side windows surrounding the stage and tables were moved around to accommodate a large crowd of about 100 people.
Crowd control was key with only 50 lucky fans that had won tickets through the radio station along with Ale House staff and VIP guests from the radio station allowed into the establishment.
Prior to the acoustic set, guests ordered lunch from the regular menu and a special punch featuring Tanduay Asian Rum (whose representatives were among the VIPs in the crowd).
Moments after Star 99.9 morning personalities Anna and Big Jim announced that the band would be out in about 5 minutes the three band mates entered the dining room from the bar area.
Lead singer Isaac Slade, rhythm guitarist Joe King and lead guitarist Dave Welsh took the stage. Missing was drummer Ben Wysocki, who, Slade explained, was “on maternity leave.”
The boys from Colorado seemed comfortable in the small venue, performing a couple of songs, and then fielding questions from the fans.
Everyone had a great vantage point with the entire event being shown on the giant TV screens surrounding the room.
Slade did most of the talking but each took one of them was down-to-earth and took the time to answer whatever questions came their way.
King, 33, the father of two girls said he started playing guitar when he was in 8th grade. In answer to a question, he is self-taught.
Slade, 32, explained the inspiration behind the band name, well, the rather uninspiring process from which it came.
“We were playing at my brother’s party. Most of the kids were ‘over on the other side of the field, but a few hung around to listen to us,” he said. “We put a fish bowl out with paper and pens and asked for suggestions, and out of the five we got, we picked this one.”
Welsh, 29, revealed that his favorite band is … “the Fray.”
The band performed another song and the audience quietly sang along, followed by another question and answer period, then offered up one final song and thanked everyone for coming and the Ale House for having them.
The private concert was a win-win-win for fans, the band and the Ale House.
Fans had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get close to the artists; the band picked up new followers from among the older VIP audience who’s only known “How To Save A Life” from the background on television shows; and the Ale House found a whole new group of fans from folks around the region who’d never ventured to the Orange restaurant before.