Growing up in Moscow, singer-songwriter Marina V eagerly learned English in part from a mix tape she received with Beatles songs.
She thought she had discovered a whole world of music all her own with The Beatles, Marina told a very full house at the Hamilton Live Tuesday night, and as a child she would listen and learn the words to the songs voraciously.
Later, she discovered other bands that were contemporaries of The Beatles in the ’60s, and harboring a fondness for the period, she wrote a new song “Sunshine Guaranteed,” an ode to what it may have been like to have been alive and making psychedelic music during the period.
The song provides the listener with the “happy mindset of an LSD trip without the drugs,” Marina V quipped when introducing the song. No less than Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash appreciated the song and lent his studio and guitar to her for the making of her 2008 album, Modern Fairytale.
In performance Tuesday, Marina V made a bit of a medley with her song and The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” to the delight of the audience.
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).