NXNE Day 1: The Damn Truth at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, June 13th



written by
Lindsay Ure

Lover of words, self-proclaimed audio junkie, student of life, chaser of art. She is a woman you can trust with all things music, because she`s not actually a woman at all, but a custom banjo.

Up tempo, happy, raging, guttural, thick, moving, waves, thrash, guitar, who is that chick? Symbol, shudder, hum, Janis, symbol again, pause, bass, more bass, Black Sabbath, she sings, pen down, pay attention, drum kit, close your eyes, I’m freaking out (Ode to Jimi Hendrix.)

It was the simple repetitious base line that got to me first, reminiscent of the Technicolor age of folk; but that broke out into millennial guitar which said innovation, not revival…until the drums broke through the background and met the thunderous vocals at the front of the stage. Full. Mind. Explosion.

Never have I uttered the compliment “This chick sounds like Janis,” for two reasons. Firstly, I never wanted to liken anyone to Janis for fear of tainting the perfect image of her I have in my mind. Secondly, no one has ever deserved it. Lee-La, the singer, has earned such a credit. Her voice is unbelievable, and not just in its strength, but in that way she uses it to convey the meanings of the songs. Her melodies look structured on paper, I’m sure, but when she uses her voice she does so in a way that tells me she’s teaching, not just singing. I met with her the next day and saw in her eyes the appreciation of such a comment, but also the desire to be seen outside of who she reminds us of. She has earned this above all. Janis casts a long shadow, but The Damn Truth will cast their own, mark my words.

There is a connection to elemental nature of rock n roll when you watch them. You can see the importance of the instruments, the vocals, the love of music. I should be able to explain this better, it is my job after all, but there was just something beyond magical about the way the pieces came together; it was like walking through a building made of sound. I could see the beams, and floors, skylight; all the things that make a building stand except it wasn’t a building at all, it was music made of gold and I was just simply in it.

So…Rock revival coming out of Montreal? I would wager that this is going to be the next big wave in Canada’s musical tide pool. Do I want to call The Damn Truth a revival band? Yes and no. Yes, because I feel nostalgic when I listen to them and they have, truthfully, revived a part of me that believed that the golden age of rock was not behind us. But I won’t because they deserve better than that from me. I will say simply this: they breathed fresh life into me. They are the real f*cking deal; THAT’S The Damn Truth.

They’re playing The Sound of Music Festival in Burlington on June 15th. Go see them.


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