Live Review: Motive Black

The Whiskey a Go Go  Hollywood, CA

Contact: [email protected]

Web: motiveblack.com

Players: Elana Justin, Vocals; AJ Bartholomew, Guitar; Jeff Dubray, Drums; Lex Wolf, Bass

Material: Motive Black is a hard rock/metal quartet in the mold of Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots and Maiden. They drive hard and the music is melodic and appealing. Justin was sounding like Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche on “Fight Alone” and “Lift Me Up” and was very impressive through most of the tunes. She carried that Queensrÿche vibe all night and even though they aren’t as impressive as Queensrÿche, their music stands on its own. 

Musicianship: The musicianship was very good. Justin has that superb Geoff Tate thing going on and carried the group most of the way. Wolf is a good bass player; she just needed a little time to get going and when she did, she was unstoppable. Dubray was on track with Justin all night as his beats slammed down on time, every time. The rhythm play by Bartholomew was excellent. The rhythm guitar wasn’t complicated or intricate, but they were just enough to give the songs what they needed except for one thing; When you’re into this caliber of music, the guitar solo is almost mandatory. It’s part of the song. It makes a song stand out, and there were NO guitar solos; not a one. Not even one to speak of. A bit disappointing. 

Performance: The performance was very good. Justin looks striking in her tight leathers and lingerie top, and that voice was killer all night. She could have addressed the audience a little more, but she could get away with it by the way she looked; ahh, good ol’ rock 'n' roll! The rhythm section, as well as Bartholomew, had a great time after Wolf settled down, and it all came together on the last four songs. It was great to see the guitar and bass come together and dance while the drums and vocals were going off. 

Summary: Motive Black is very good. They have some work to do on their live performance but the music is there and with a bit of polishing, it’ll turn out alright. Solid drumming on “Fight Alone” and “Caged,” and super bass riffs on “Purge,” (not to mention the guitar riffs), superb vocals on the well-written “Lift Me Up,” and the beautifully introduced “Auburn,” Motive Black has all the right pieces in all the right places and all at the right time.