Vacancies were limited for The Motels full-house show Friday night at the House of Blues in Dallas. The evening was presented by SiriusXM Totally 80’s Live with main support Bow Wow Wow and When in Rome II on the bill.
The show was supposed to be the second of three consecutive nights in Texas. The Houston date was cancelled due to a major water main break that impacted the entire city.
The Dallas crowd consisted of 1980’s music era but there were rookies sprinkled in for their first exposure to the band. Attire ranged from metallic silver boots and matching pants, to ripped jeans, vintage shirts and hints of neon. Even a Mac Sabbath shirt made an appearance.
Originating out of the UK, When in Rome II had no problem bringing a slick and edgy six-song set that may not have been anticipated. Obviously, the band played their well-known song and hit “The Promise” but there was a surprise cover of Ultravox’s 1980 “All Stood Still”.
The trio features founding member and keyboardist Michael Floreale and newly appointed guitarist / vocalist Tony Fennell who was at one time vocalist for Ultravox.
Floreale remained anchored at his keyboard station with limited mobility but Fennell utilized the room available where he worked his side of the stage right as a true pro.
A newer version of Bow Wow Wow which has been consistent since 2014 followed featuring Leigh Gorman, original bassist.
Once vocalist Dinzy entered the stage after their first song, “Orang-Outang”, she literally was nonstop. Her movements took her side to side, front to back and behind the drum kit. Following her every move was chore up front but from the second level, the task was a bit simpler.
Bow Wow Wow guitarist Erik Ferentinos wasn’t quite as active compared to Dinzy but definitely showcased his stage presence on a consistent basis.
Bow Wow Wow delivered at spastic nine-song set that which included “Aphrodisiac,” “Do You Wanna Hold Me” and the familiar “I Want Candy”. During this time, Dinzy was reaching into a bag, where she was lobbing hits of sugar to the crowd.
Candy may have been tossed out but it was The Motels and their musical New Wave treats the crowd eagerly awaited.
Only Martha Davis and Marty Jourard remain from the chart-topping days of the early 1980’s. This though did not hinder the band’s sound or performance.
As a light misting of theatrical fog descended to the clutter free stage, purple, yellow and green lights brought the dusting of vapor to life, The Motels engaged the crowd.
With the swarm of Jourard’s keyboards, Davis greeted Dallas by blowing a kiss to the two-tiered venue. The musically time machine was in full swing.
The first stop was “So L.A.” followed by the upbeat “Mission of Mercy”, both from the 1982 All For One release. It was immediately noticeable how fine, warm and soothing Davis’s vocals are to this day.
The band tapped into the first four releases, the debut through Little Robbers as well as 2018’s Last Few Beautiful Days for the setlist. Whether “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Take the L” or “Last Few Beautiful Days”, Davis sounded amazing. The devoted fans devoured whatever The Motels presented to them.
The show as a whole package created memories for that first Motels experience, activated memories and allowed an audience a night of great music hassle free.
Even though only a few days have passed, some are ready to make reservations to spend another evening with The Motels.