Updated: Jun 15
A flawless showreel for one of the hottest Canadian bands making rock and roll
They say overnight success takes a decade, and it's a path that Canadian rock band The Damn Truth has been treading since the release of their debut album, ‘Dear In The Headlights’ (2012). Sophomore album ‘Devilish Folk’ followed in 2016 and in between they've toured across Europe and the USA, opened for ZZ Top, Styx, and Rival Sons. They've sold out the iconic Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and even had one of their videos featured on the official Facebook page of Janis Joplin. As a band, they've earned their stripes, learned from life on the road, and translated this experience into honest, memorable, accessible lyrics and kick-ass melodies, and timeless rock choruses.
After the last decade, all roads have led them to their latest album 'Now or Nowhere'. The title would suggest that they've set themselves a challenge: it's make or break time. They shouldn't be too concerned, album three is a monster and this live stream is a flawless showreel for one of the hottest Canadian bands making rock and roll right now.
The live stream jolts into life with ‘This Is Who We Are Now.’ It’s a statement piece that defines the setlist and holds the bar high for what is to come in the next 90 minutes. This dynamism doesn’t waver even when they shift gear with tracks like the superb 'Everything Fades' and 'Devilish folk'. Tucked away at the end of the set are tracks from their first two albums, which brings together all the elements of TDT to this point.
Singer/guitarist Lee-la and lead guitarist Tom Shemer playfully exchange riffs throughout the set. Here is a band that clearly means business, but is also capable of having fun. Consequently, this assurance allows us to be at ease with their storytelling in between songs, and feel free to enjoy the ride, even though we may be thousands of miles away.
Despite their hippyish exterior, The Damn Truth's music isn’t stoner rock or psychedelia. Their accoutre may define their attitude to life, but it doesn't define the music. There are nods to the past - Hendrix style guitar solos, a rasp of Joplin and a timbre of Grace Slick to Lee-La's vocal - and the songs speak of an age-old message of love, unity, and acceptance, but this purple haze of 1960's subculture is ciphered through, a blaze of hard rock drumming (Dave Traina) and adroit bass lines (PY Letellier) which help to make The Damn Truth's music both classic and contemporary.
Music live streams or filmed concerts have a tendency to not feel immersive. You are often aware that you are watching them from a distance, even if they are enjoyable. There's something magical about a live show and the symbiotic relationship between the performer and the audience that we've all perhaps forgotten in the last year with the pandemic.
Live shows are reciprocal and a negative audience or under-par performance can change that relationship in a second. It's this reciprocity that makes live performances so exciting and why filmed shows are a great record, or way of connecting with fans, but they often fall flat. With this live stream, The Damn Truth has managed to pull off the feeling of a live show. The energy is palpable and they make a real connection with their viewers, drawing them in; at times it's as if you are sat at the foot of the stage. If they can recreate this in a live arena it will be dynamite.
The show, filmed at the Église de Saint-Simon church in Drummondville, Quebec, gives TDT the stage space they deserve to show their prowess. No doubt they will ultimately gravitate towards larger venues as they continue to make their mark on the rock scene.
photos by Ralph Alfonso Set list
* This Is Who We Are Now
* Only Love
* Everything Fades
* The Fire
* Look Innocent
* Full on You
* Shot Em
^ Pirates and Politicians
^ Get With You
$ Too Late
^ Broken Blues
$ Kinda Awkward
^ Devilish Folk
^ Heart is Cold