The Damn Truth at The Central – Gig review and photos

March 24, 2011
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The Damn Truth at The Central, Toronto, 18 March 2011 - photo Brian Banks, Music Vice

The Gig: The Damn Truth
Where: The Central, Toronto, Ontario
When: Thursday 17 March 2011
In One Word: Meaty

It hasn’t quite been a week since Canadian Music Week concluded, and I have to admit that I’m feeling a little burnt out as far as the whole music scene is concerned. I don’t feel particularly excited going into tonight’s performance. Like many bands yet to release an LP, The Damn Truth’s online material is a mixed bag of hits and misses.  Waiting for the gig to start, I am seated at in front of the stage by myself when a dark-haired girl in a vintage mini dress stops to say hello to me- not because she knows me, just because I’m en route to her table.  It takes a minute to recognize that the girl is actually Lee-La from the band, and because it’s still way too early for the show to start (and because I’m a little bored) I decide to see if the band will have my company.

The band is made up of regular Montreal giggers Lee-La and Tom, Dave and David. They got together two years ago when they were cast as the back-up band on a Much Music performance for a now failed pop-princess. They are quite happy to have me join them, and as they regale me with stories from the frontlines of rock and roll, and beer- I start to lose my moody blues. Tonight’s show is the second last tour stop for the band before heading back to Montreal to record. The tour started off last weekend at booze-drenched CMW show at The Hideout- quite a different atmosphere from tonight’s dinner crowd at the Central. Three of their tour dates have been in Toronto and they seem to be enjoying the city and it’s vintage shops, where they picked up the duds they’re wearing tonight.

At about 10 after 8, the band decides it’s time to start the show. The introductory riff to the band’s first song of the set sounds Jimi Hendrix-like, so I find it interesting when I later learned that Lee-la and Tom recorded an album with the man who first brought the icon to Canada. The first few songs traverse the territory of sexy, blues based rock and roll- and I certainly have no qualms when the band conjures up a little magic from rock legends passed to liven up their set. Lee-la voice is an impressive instrument that’s part gritty and part pretty, and you get the sense that the music just comes naturally to the band.

After four or so tunes, Lee-la brings out the acoustic guitar to play some tracks off of the EP. These songs are decidedly poppier than the others, and almost sound as though they belong to another project. I’m not as into these tracks, and am excited when the songs delve back into the black- punctuating the psychedelia with a fog machine. Some of the best moments are when the bare minimum amount of instrumentation is used to flesh out a meaty groove, especially since this genre is traditionally rife with self-indulgent soloing.

The last song of the night is a little ditty written by Tom about Montreal and his girlfriend that does a good job of summarizes the Damn Truth experience. The chorus goes “Oh Montreal, chew me up and spit me out. You’re rock and roll. Leave me lying naked on your floor.” A damn fun show, if a little short. I can’t wait for the LP to drop, I think the songs would be a hoot on vinyl.

© Natascha Malta, Music Vice

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