The first time I saw The Strangers was a little under a year ago on the rooftop of the Saranac Building. It was an August night, the sun had gone down and I had made the mistake of rafting the Little Spokane River for roughly four hours beforehand, making me a sunburnt and tired mess by the time their set had started.
I was one of maybe six people sitting down when The Strangers played that night. Dancing around me were 30 people, all under the age of 21. They weren’t bumping, grinding or twerking like most kids their age. These folks felt the music, moving in ways that would confuse the still-sitting onlooker. Something that people would have seen the summer of ’69 during Santana’s set at Woodstock, surprisingly in our own neck of the woods.
There I sat, 16 years old, motionless in the middle of the most beautiful concert I have ever been to. The chaotic dancers around me seemed to have moved in slow motion. The music, reminiscent of ’60s rock, flowed around the downtown block in perfect clarity. For the first time in my many years living in Spokane, I loved my city.
That was the only time I ever sat down during a Strangers gig.
Since then, I learned the words to their sing-a-long tune “Learning and Nostalgia,” saw band members come and go and made my own crazy dance. I have trucked tens of pals to their concerts and forced them all to listen to a live CD in my car whenever we venture around the city.
I understand now why those kids reacted they way they did that August night. During that 30-minute set, The Strangers let them be anything they wanted to be. That half an hour set them free.
More than anything, this video is a thank you to Eric Kegley, Char Smith, John Haven and Isaac Grubb for making something beautiful for us kids. From playing at Volume to recording their first studio album to moving to Seattle, they are finally moving forward as a band. The Strangers are going to go to great places in the future and forever will I be thankful for how magnificently strange they made Spokane.
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