Martha’s voice still sounds strong and rich. She also has great tone, which is refreshing to hear from someone who’s been around for as long as she has. Often times when singers age their voices tend to decline. But it’s clear that she’s kept her pipes in shape. At one point between songs someone in the crowd actually yells for Martha to “take off her top!”. She expertly handles this by asking, “do you know what birthday we’re celebrating today” eluding to her age. It’s truly surprising that even an iconic figure of her status would still have to deal with such shenanigans.
The whiskey is a fairly small venue. The band, which consists of six members, is rather tightly packed on the stage. However that doesn’t diminish the quality of the show. The set up for the stage lights isn’t that elaborate. But then again, this is an older style rock club so this isn’t the kind of “Arena Rock” experience that you might expect from the likes of AC/DC or Aerosmith. It’s a much more intimate concert setting. And aside from the “douchey” comment the I mentioned earlier, the crowd is pretty pumped and in good spirits.
As someone who grew up in the 90’s it’s kinda cool to hear the influence that Martha’s singing has had on modern day singers such as Gwen Stefanie, Shirley Manson and Alanis Morrissette. Even after all these years you can tell that she still loves to perform live. She even performs their biggest hits, which I’m sure she’s sang billions of times by now, with just as much passion and emotion as she did in the early 80s. Mid way through the set they kick in with a new song. Which normally I find a little boring when bands who’ve been around as long as The Motels add new tunes. But the new songs are actually really good! They have the classic feel that we’re all familiar with, but at the same time they don’t just sound like remixes of old songs. They actually have a fresh quality about them.
Unlike many New Wave artists from the early 80’s, The Motels aren’t completely reliant on the use of synths to drive their music. They actually showcase the guitars and vocals with fairly minimal effects. At a time when most music sounded like “Star Wars” sound effects set to a beat, The Motels stand out with a rich and genuine sound that instantly connects with you. You don’t have to be a fan of them to acknowledge that they write great songs. Good songwriting is good songwriting, no matter the era. Martha Davis sings in an emotional and plaintive way that can penetrate through even the most jaded music lover. Though she doesn’t have the biggest singing range, she does take great care in her vocal articulation that only skilled singers would be able to accomplish. It’s one thing to be able to sing as high as Mariah Carey, or pack a million notes into a phrase like Christina Aguilera, but can you sing every note with such commitment that it sounds like it could be your last?
30 year fan get’s surprise meeting of a lifetime with Martha backstage
Original “Motels” members talk about the early days of the band and more.
This was a really great show! Watching this really took me back to my rocker days as a teen when I’d throw on my best Metal shirt, and head to San Francisco to catch my favorite band! Despite the random “meat head” that you might run into from time to time, there was a real sense of community among the rock crowd that I feel is kinda absent these days. Often times with bands who have a long history, they tend to get a bit jaded and caught up in the idea of themselves. But with the Motels there is a grounded and genuine quality about them that simply states, “Hey man, come on out to the show tonight! It’ll be GREAT!”