Tuesday, September 02, 2008

No Reservations

On Saturday night, Michael and I had the thrill of seeing the wonderful Martha Davis and her Motels perform at B.B. King in Times Square. Having seen both the Go-Go's and X live in the early '80s, the Motels were always the missing corner of my L.A. new wave music triangle. I wasn't sure that this day would ever come -- Martha had a cancer scare years ago and then seemed to vanish for awhile -- but it was definitely worth the wait. Looking and sounding good at 57, Martha came out rocking with the one-two punch of "Dressing Up" and "Kix" from the Motels' classic 1979 eponymous debut. (If you don't own this one, you're really missing out.) The show was then a mixture of old songs, new songs and reworked versions of old tracks that were recorded for last year's "Clean, Modern, Reasonable" -- three things, incidentally, Martha assured the crowd that she is not! (However, I will say when I gave her a smooch after the show she seemed rather clean to me.)

I didn't take notes, but off the top of my head they also did "Total Control" (a true classic), "Closets & Bullets," ""Counting" (reworked) and "Celia" (all from the debut); "People, Places and Things" (my fave) off "Careful"; "So L.A.," "Take the L" (reworked) "Only the Lonely" (off "All Four One"); "Suddenly Last Summer" (off "Little Robbers"); "Last of the Bohemians," "The Day That Won't Go Away" (dedicated to Kiefer Sutherland); "Where Oh Where," "I'm Better Now" and "Nothing" (off 2008's "This" -- which I swear sounds like it could have been the follow-up to "Policy") and the title track form "Beautiful Life" (her 2008 solo effort). The omission of anything from "Shock" was my only set-list grievance ("Shame" was her last big chart hit, after all), but you can't do everything ... and "Remember the Nights," the band's other Top 40 hit would have been nice, too.

After the show a gaggle of new wave queens (led by yours truly) swarmed around everyone's favorite Motelier to get a photo and autograph (I don't think I've seen that many album covers in 20 years!). Martha seemed tickled by all of the love and attention -- and at one point started laughing at the way all of her fans followed her around the club. ("This is hilarious -- I feel like I'm in "Spinal Tap"!) A good time was had by all.

The Motels' tour continues in California (see dates here). In case you missed it, check out my interview with Martha on Towleroad here.

Not only the lonely can play

1 comment:

george said...

The show was amazing, loved the updated version of Take the L, the one song i was hoping for that wasnt covered was "Mission of Mercy"

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