Live Review: Motorbone at The Rose in Pasadena, CA

Material: It’s unfortunate that we start these reviews by assessing the quality of the material because, in the case of L.A. hard rockers Motorbone, it’s the weakest aspect of the
show. They look great, they play great, the mix is spot-on, even the lighting is cool. But the songs need a hell of a lot of work. The shot at a power-ballad, “Lost and Found,” is limp and turgid. Even more unforgivable is the fact that they managed to make a song called “S&M” fall flat. Singer Tripp tries to dial up the sexy for this one, rubbing his shirtless torso, but it doesn’t save the song, which is laced with tired metal riffs and sub-Rammstein lyrics. Even weirder— because of the venue/restaurant nature of The Rose, there were little kids dancing to this bondage-themed song. No worries––chances are they had no idea what it was about.

Musicianship: This is where the band excels. Tripp, to his credit, has a strong hard rock voice, capable of crooning and belting out a rocker at will. Guitarist Delnevo can pull out a respectable widdle when a song requires one. But the strength of the band comes from the rhythm section. Clout and Morgan are solid players, adding frills when necessary but essentially holding it all together.

Performance: Top marks here, too. The three instrumentalists pretty much stick to their spots, but Tripp is a charismatic frontman, cocky in that classic Sebastian Bach/Dave
Lee Roth sort of way. He talks between every song, bigging up the venue, the headline band, the crowd and, of course, his own band by repeating the web address. He never stands still, pulling out every rock star pose that every teen has ever practiced in the mirror. Plus, he had the best hair in the house.

Summary: Los Angeles is swimming, even now, with bands who want to be the next big thing of sleaze––just go to any hair band show and there will be at least four local openers. And if Motorbone want to rise above the rest, they need songs that are as strong as those glam headliners. In fact, this show in Pasadena saw Motorbone opening for Warrant, and the fact that, after the main set, it was hard to remember any Motorbone melodies is telling.

The Players: Josh Tripp, vocals; Dick Delnevo, guitar; Dan Clout, bass; Keth Morgan, drums.

Photo by Brett Callwood

Venue: The Rose
City: Pasadena, CA
Contact: [email protected]