Day two of the surprise birthday weekend in Portland, Maine. The birthday boy was taken out to a local art mega-store to stock up on supplies. He returned to the airbnb to see more family, more friends, cake, food, and a loud “Surprise!” He was indeed surprised. He thought he was leaving shortly but instead, he’d be staying another night and we had tickets for Hayley Jane and the Primates. I’m not sure if I raised this option or the amazing party-planning wife extraordinaire found the listing but she was excited even though she had never seen them play before. In fact, I was the only of the 12 of us walking to the venue who had seen them before. We were also joined by other Maine friends who I was excited to see and who were hopeful for the show.
The Portland House of Music is downtown and close to the larger arena but offers a compact viewing experience for smaller acts. We arrived before the doors opened and waited out front on a patio just outside the reach of the rain. They let us in as we learned we were quite early. A local opening act was due up first so and we had time to mingle beforehand. The venue entrance was at the same level as the stage across the room. Four steps lead down to the floor space and a small bar along the wall near the hallway to the bathrooms. We entered and spread out making room for ourselves at tables throughout the space. I stashed my hoodie and moved from cluster to cluster. The birthday boy mentioned he loves female singers and sure enough, the opening act had one as well. After their set, he’d say they were great. I got very excited as I knew what was in store.
I said hi to the band as they made their way to stage and got a spot up front. The lights came down, the music came up, the energy rose, and the trip began. Before the second song started I got a thumbs up and a huge smile from birthday boy. I wasn’t worried of course but was so glad he was happy. After a few songs, I began to circulate to see friends. Smiles galore. “Amazing!” “Wow” “Thank you!” all came my way and I felt even more relieved. One friend said he’d probably not have listened to or even sought out this genre of music but he could not stop smiling and said he had an amazing time. “How could you not fall in love with them?” Another friend, “The band is so tight!”
After the show, we gathered towards the merch table near the entrance. Everyone was still reeling and I suggested we hang out so I can introduce the band. Hayley came up and gave me a kiss and hug, “Hello love!” I introduced her to the birthday boy and she apologized for not mentioning his birthday from the stage. He was so happy with the show and that possibility had never entered his mind so he was perfectly forgiving. We chatted as Hayley and the boys were dragged into pictures and conversations before deciding to head out. I said goodbye to Hayley and the band letting them know I’d see them on December 29th and again on January 27 (at the latest).
Days later I would still get messages from friends about this show. “I had another dream about Hayley and the Primates.” If there are other bands like them at those festivals you go to maybe I’ll give them a shot.”
“Hey, I’ve been watching Hayley Jane and the Primates on YouTube. Let me know when they play again!”
“I should have entered your contest!” Yes to all that. I’m so grateful to have helped spread word of great music. We had an amazing time, the birthday boy had a memorable 40th, and we got to bond on the dance floor. Once again, we made it alright.0 likes