Strength's show on Valentine's Day at the Zombie Room earlier this year is a thing of legend.
Too bad I wasn't there to see it.
But Strength left the town buzzing, and I heard from people who went about what a great show I missed. It's probably the same conversation that people have been having since the Portland disco-pop heroes came to Mootsy's last Friday.
Not that it's a hard room to fill, but the place was absolutely packed -- so much so that you could barely see the band over the crowd. (That's one of the byproducts of Mootsy's intimate floor-stage area as compared to the now-closed Zombie Room's raised stage.)
It was more like a house party than a concert in the best possible way, where the crowd makes the show. In a fashion that is typical in downtown Spokane at a mostly word-of-mouth-promoted event, everyone seemed to know everyone else, and the vibe was euphoric.
Strength worked more like a DJ than a band, keeping the tempo as high as the intensity and rarely leaving room to breathe between songs.
The band's setup is exactly like Chromeo's except it's a trio instead a duo: Bailey Winters on vocals, John Zeigler on keyboards and programming and Patrick Morris on guitar, playing on top of a CD of accompanying programmed keys, percussion and bass layering to thicken out the live execution.
The bump-and-grind brand of late-'70s/early-'80s R & amp;B and funk immediately brings to mind LCD Soundsystem, or Ghostland Observatory sans the undercurrent of electro, with a welcomed un-macho touch of more obscure Bee Gees.
Not to sound contrary, but these guys didn't exactly break themselves in half to put on a show. They basically played their music, which has an infectious quality that puts the crowd in the same bonus-level delirium as No-Fi Soul Rebellion or Velella Velella. (Now, that would an unstoppably dope triple-threat dance bill.)
Bailey is known for wearing dashikis and neckties, swimming through the crowd and making out with himself like Purple Rain-era Prince. He wasn't remarkably charismatic last Friday, likely because he was so confined.
If he'd had the space, Bailey may very well have been bouncing and spinning and feeling himself up right along with the rest of audience, but Strength's beat-drive holds up so well that it didn't cost him any performance points. It didn't even matter that he was singing about nosebleeds and frostbite -- the pulse of the music and the dense air steaming off of the tightly packed dance floor did most of the work.
While Strength's show is definitely good to the ears -- and while it holds some appeal for the eyes -- it's mostly for the booty.