Stronger Sex perform at The Hamilton Live on Sept. 3, 2016.
The definition of fantastic? fan·tas·tic /fan’tastik/ [adj.] imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.
Enter Johnny Fantastic, whose up-tempo electronic cabaret certainly fits his name — and in a good way. Let’s add to the mix Leah Gage (also of local band BRNDA), who stands beside Johnny on synthesizers and vocals, and you have a Fantastic Duo indeed in DC indie synth outfit Stronger Sex.
Martha Davis of The Motels
The song “Party Professionals” moves with a little bit of a faster cadence than the typical number by Martha Davis and The Motels, but otherwise it captures a lot of the essence of the band.
Ms. Davis sashays onto the stage and breaks into its celebratory lyrics, which include refrains like, “And we will dance/’Til the dawn’s early light/And I will drink to you/And you to I.”
In a musical interlude, Marty Jourard, the band’s other remaining original member, takes to the saxophone for an extended solo that leaves the audience feeling quite romantically wistful during a performance of the song, which opened a show at The Hamilton Live in DC on Tuesday night.
Marty has a penchant for writing sad, romantic songs like “Take the L,” from the band’s third album “All Four One,” which comes up later in the set. “Take the L” is representative of the kind of wordplay for which both Marty and Martha have an affinity as she croons, “Take the L out of ‘lover’ and it’s ‘ooooooover.’”
And of course nostalgia for lost love is a regular visitor to the lyrics of The Motels, whose signature songs include “Suddenly Last Summer” (which they hit early in the show) and “Only the Lonely” (which appeared in the encore), both written by Martha. The Motels hit perfect notes of sophistipop in these numbers, effortlessly blending calypso, blues, rock, jazz and new wave (certainly a genre that initially gave Martha a lot of inspiration when starting out).