This is a tale of discovering new music and by a most old fashioned way, from radio play rather than Spotify or YouTube recommendations. Now I’m quite partial to a soulful, powerful female vocal but my record collection is peppered with such music rather than rammed full of it. The point is, that for me to take notice it’s got to be something extraordinary. So, I’m driving home listening to Planet Rock radio but focussing on other things than the songs wafting through my speakers. All of a sudden my thoughts switch to “who the hell is that on the radio – what a voice !!” Halfway through the song I kinda think this isn’t just about the voice either, there’s a really strong, catchy song there too – who is it and is it old or new ? Planet Rock does play a lot of old rock songs. After the song finishes the kind DJ tells me it’s “Only Love” by The Damn Truth. Never heard of them !!
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A quick Google when I got home revealed that the band were just about to tour the UK and playing my hometown of Leeds. Ticket purchased, thank you. Two weeks later I’m at the gig and really hadn’t had any time to listen to more stuff; I’d just watched the video for “Only Love” once. This was one of those gigs all about the unknown but with quite high expectations because of that voice. Well what can I say, as soon as the first song kicked in it was obvious that this was going to be a special night.
It’s not just about Lee-La Baum’s voice, this band kicks-ass. You’re talking about serious, accomplished musicians here with songs to match the talent. The sum is definitely greater than the parts and the parts are damn good. Next you’ve got the show. This is a proper honed rock show but with a spot of time travel incorporated into proceedings. If it wasn’t for the surroundings you could imagine you were watching The Damn Truth at Woodstock or the original Isle Of Wight Festival. Corduroy flares and snakeskin boots haven’t looked this cool for 50 years. There’s more shapes thrown onstage than at the origami championships but it isn’t contrived, it’s just a superb, polished performance – not surprising, 3 albums in.
Lee-La has been compared to Grace Slick and Janis Joplin. I get the retro references. A guy next to me at the gig said it was like watching Led Zeppelin fronted by Janis. The videos and stage attire also kind of point you in that direction but the current album “Now or Nowhere” also has a huge contemporary sound (produced by Bob Rock of Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, The Cult fame). I’m also getting Lzzy Hale (from Halestorm) when Lee-La belts it out. Forget the comparisons though, Lee-La is a star in her own right with a voice as good as any of her contemporaries.
I’m no expert at The Damn Truth as they’re new to me but I soon will be. Needless to say, the band played a lot from “Now or Nowhere” and a good smattering from previous albums. Certainly I remember specifically the more commercial and radio friendly tunes like “Only Love” and “Tomorrow”, but give the album a spin and you get a much wider array of bluesier numbers like “Lonely” and powerhouse vocal ballads like “The Fire”. The gig had the lot and whatever she’s singing, Lee-La has soul. Post-Covid, hopefully The Damn Truth can really get some momentum going again – “Now or Nowhere” and tonight’s performance suggest bigger stages are just around the corner.
Prior to the tour, Lee-La commented “We’re looking forward to touring the UK. Last time we played there was a one-night banger in London that left us wanting for more. We cannot wait to come back and hit the road in the UK. Touring makes us the happiest, most excited creatures. The four of us are meant to be on the road, together, for life. That’s where we thrive, where we are whole. Nothing compares to life on the road and if we can just make it over there, we can begin to live and love again after the challenges of the pandemic.” Here’s hoping the band enjoyed the show tonight as much as the crowd and they come back to the UK (and Leeds) soon.
As a footnote, I have to say (as a number of others have on social media) these are truly some of the coolest, most genuine people you could wish to meet. A rock band who love what they’re doing and love engaging with their fans after a show. Make sure you say hello if you’re lucky enough to catch them live.
There’s still a few UK dates left next week – you know you want to !! …
THE DAMN TRUTHhttps://www.thegigcartel.com/Artists-profiles/The-Damn-Truth.htmSheffield Leadmill Saturday 19 February 2022 *Supporting King King 6 Leadmill Rd, Sheffield S1 4SEwww.leadmill.co.ukCardiff Y Plas Sunday 20 February 2022 *Supporting King King Cardiff University, Park Pl, Cardiff, CF10 3QNwww.cardiffstudents.com/venues/y-plas Birmingham Town Hall Tuesday 22 February 2022 *Supporting King King Victoria Square, Birmingham B3 3DQwww.thsh.co.uk Bury St Edmunds The Apex Arts Centre Wednesday 23 February 2022 *Supporting King King 1 Charter Square St, Bury Saint Edmunds, IP33 3FDwww.theapex.co.uk London Electric Ballroom Thursday 24 February 2022 *Supporting King King 184 Camden High St, Camden Town, London, NW1 8QPhttps://electricballroom.co.uk Southampton The 1865 Friday 25 February 2022 Brunswick Square, Southampton, SO14 3ARwww.the1865.comFEBRUARY 2022 UK TOUR TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM
And current album “Now or Nowhere” is available from all the usual outlets / platforms.
The Damn Truth are
PY Letellier (bass)
Dave Traina (drums)
Lee-La Baum (lead vocals, guitar)
Tom Shemer (guitar).