This week Montreal’s revivalist flower-powersters THE DAMN TRUTH played their most recent album in full as an experimental record-release streaming party from a church in their home city. As expected, it was a jingled gnash of shuddering jolts.
If you like the idea of a bunch of Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & Holding Company and Blue Cheer-style category ‘A’ musicians teaming up to play quality retro rock in a groovy-trippy atmosphere, you’d appreciate this show…
Starting decisively with “This is Who We Are Now” the Canadian band (composed of Lee-la Baum on vocals, Tom Shemer on guitar and vocals, PY Letellier on bass and vocals, and Dave Traina on drums and vocals) arrived on stage in a picturesque swirl of miniskirt, organdy & charmeuse ruffles and oxblood drapery… and why the hell not? Psychedelic rock isn’t just about fuzzbox, reverbs, buzztone solos, and jams you know; it’s also about the scene: the exotics, the colors, and most of all, the culture.
And this first song reminded us of a revitalized Jefferson Starship number, with that same kind of galvanized excitement and the perfect glam-blues guitar they used to bring us in their Red Octopus days. Wow! A great start to a mega-show.
a swirl of miniskirt, organdy & charmeuse ruffles and oxblood drapery…
In between songs, the band appeared back-stage, as it were, (looking a bit uncomfortable, if we’re honest) to meditate & reflect on a life in music and making the sounds for their most recent (Bob Rock produced) album, titled “Now or Nowhere” out via Spectra Musique/Sony Music.
“Tomorrow” opened up with nitrified ferocity — and it was rock, yeah — but was also kinda fizzy country (though don’t expect no Hank Williams… it was still mighty potent!) The vocals were blazing stars of shimmer and the throbbing riff urged us to dance.
“Only Love” was something almost recognizable, as if it were a Noel Gallagher number (circa 1995) although played by Quicksilver Messenger Service with bursts of Paul Kantner-like guitar and, again, those Grace Slickish vocals. The number took on a biker beat too (Tom Petty style) with screeching guitars and, of course, a fine and graceful chorus.
“Everything Fades” was Dylanesque in scope & delivery and felt deliciously authentic. For this sparkling twanger there were scrumptious backing vocals and some sensationally swishy finger-picking.
“The Fire” was a volatile huzzah that sat halfway between something the Rolling Stones would have done (during their glamor period, 1973) and “Hello Hooray” era Alice Cooper. Though it was far more than that! The band admitted (in the awkward chat scene) that this was the last song to be added to the new album (to make the number of tracks seem more “triangular”… how more hippie can you get?) But if you can (possibly) imagine Adele singing to Grateful Dead (please give it a try) with the mainstay being a riff from “Billion Dollar Babies” this is how it would work… yes, this is how it would work! Fantastic!
A volatile huzzah that sat halfway between the rolling stones and alice cooper…
Older material in the “encore section” of the streaming-show included the thunderous “Get With You” which was a smashing rock ‘n’ roll scorcher. And the second single “Kinda Awkward” originally found on their debut album “Dear in the Headlights” which was a breathy, sandpapery, choppy experience, and not unlike “Glory Box” by England’s Portishead, albeit with less experimentalism and much more fuzz-rock power.
A luscious concert filled with crisp, spicy sounds and brimming with moreish retrospection. Top work!
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Main image photo credit: Ralph Alphonso
You can watch on demand until until June 13