Martha Davis & the Motels | Live at the Whiskey a Go Go (Vesuvio Ent.)

dvd motelsThis is not a performance by a band trying for a last hurrah, but a new chapter in the history of a decade-defining band.




The 1980s brought many great new bands to light. Although most of them are no longer together, artists like Berlin, the Bangles, and the Motels have never gone away—silent for a time, maybe, but never gone completely.

Celebrating over 30 years in the music business, Martha Davis has changed the lineup of her Motels, but not in sound or style. This is witnessed by the band’s new DVD, Live at the Whiskey a Go Go. The band is more powerful now than possibly ever before, and even in her sixties, Davis has a voice that has stood the test of time.

Introductions by Rosanna Arquette and Grammy Award–winning singer/songwriter Linda Perry remind us that not only is this a Motels show, but it is also the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Whiskey a Go Go. Anyone who has ever been anyone in rock ‘n’ roll in the past half century has graced the stage of the Whiskey. That stage has catapulted artists like Mötley Crüe, Ratt, the Doors—who were once the house band—and many more into the realms of stardom, and continues to do so today.

The 17-song long set is incredible, filled with hits and lesser-known fan favorites. Tracks such as “Take the L” and “Suddenly Last Summer” filled the room with ’80s nostalgia. The performance is passionate and purposeful. Davis is right on point on her vocals, spilling emotion into the microphone. On songs such as “Mission of Mercy” and the bitter track “Celia,” the band is tight, proving the strength and timelessness of its sound. This is not a performance by a band trying for a last hurrah, but a new chapter in the history of a band that helped define the greatest decade of music: the 1980s.

Closing the show with their highest charting single, “Only the Lonely,” the Motels delivered a perfect combination of past and present, history and today—and what a rich history they have, indeed.

The DVD comes with a six-page booklet, bonus footage, and much more. This is a great concert film that would be an asset to every collection. B+ | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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