Review: The Damn Truth @ Le Minotaure: November 11th, 2021

The first time I saw The Damn Truth was in the summer of 2014 at the ShazamFest (an outdoor summer festival that mixes music, comedy, burlesque, wrestling, and skateboarding) and again in 2015. I also saw them play some smaller venues and bars, such as La Petite Boite Noir, which translates to the Little backbox and Le Cafe Campus. Hearing Lee-La Baum’s power house vocals with perfectly divine rock beats and melodies, my loyalty as a fan was instant. I remember my wolf senses were tingling; I knew that this band from my hometown is going to be a huge sensation! They have all that it takes to be legendary in their own time. Yes, legendary as in, the cover of the Rolling Stone zine, hey, they are worthy! So, If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will be thankful you now have. The band has been solid and active for almost a decade, and since the launch of their first album, they have been winning the hearts of fans all over the globe. They are going places in every way possible, and they’ve started a new world tour to reach even more overseas fans who are anxiously waiting for them.  


The Damn Truth @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Since their first Montreal show sold out so fast, I jumped at the chance to get some pre-sale tickets for the Gatineau show. It was a golden opportunity and the venue, the Minoature, is only a two-hour drive from Montreal. The Miniature is a popular cozy hang out, where they are host to music shows and thematic game nights. The staff there are charming, the service is top-notch and fantastic. I had a great seat just to the right of the stage and was only about two meters (12 ft) from it. The lighting was warm, with blues and orange and the sound was clean and just the ideal intensity; loud but not too loud, no buzzing ears afterwards.

White Rabbit by The Jefferson Airplane played while the band slowly made their entrance. They walked past a couple of tables, high-fives for friends and fans. Lead singer Lee-La Baum was waving some delicious incense around. A spell was cast! POOF! We were transported back in time! It’s 1971 and we are at a musical love-in! 

Photo: Abbey Wolf

At a glance, The Damn Truth is exactly what they appear to be. Happy hippies who love to rock and roll. They are true to the psychedelic rock genre, with beautifully blatant influences. Such as Janice Joplin, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin just to name a few. Although we can certainly hear their musical influences, they remain unique and present-day, as they have defined their style and sound while keeping in tune with culture from yesteryear. Their music is conscientious and political, with values in love, relationships, peace, freedom and hope. Their music is gaining popularity more than ever as the band works hard to promote themselves. It’s no wonder that top producers such as Jean Massicotte, Tchad Blake, and most recently on board, the famed Bob Rock are all inspired to mix for them. 

The Damn Truth @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

As we were all rudely interrupted by the pandemic, so were the band. But, it didn’t hold them back from creating moreover releasing a third album, This Is Who We Are Now. Most of the tunes they played at the show were off this latest album, and, was very much in context with what we are still living. Although we are not quite yet out of the pandemic, it does take brave and giving souls to continue to provide essential services, and in my opinion, live shows fall into that category. Lee-La summed this up when she expressed how happy the band was to be back performing live, “I am addicted to the energy and I missed it so much.” 

ThLee-la Baum @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

The band has mastered the classic rock music genre and including the style. Speaking of style, let’s talk about what they were wearing, which was fabulous by the way! 

TLee-la Baum @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Lee-La, in what appears to be a favourite dress, patterned green and black, adorned with necklaces and beads. She wore a leather belt with a silver buckle decorated with turquoise gems. Lee-La’s swag is always hot! 

The Tom Shemer @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Lead guitarist Tom Shemer wore a floral and black shirt and was sporting white snakeskin ankle boots. Only a handsome hippy can pull off this look! His style is a statement that screams the 70’s and he looked as sharp as can be. His look really “cut it” (I know cheesy pun). He plays as great as he looks. Shemer’s riffs and smooth melodic leads are nothing short of musical genius. His skills are rapidly becoming famous. So of course, he requires a sweet guitar collection. 

ThTom Shemer @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Tom has a few impressive luthier guitars, which include a locally made V style guitar by Jeff Demers, and a Bunting, crafted in Israel. He is undeniably talented and gifted. This guitarist will no doubt make his mark in rock N roll history. 

The PY Letellier (@ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Check out this move from PY Letellier (bassist) and how flexible he is! He wore a silky copper shirt, a red headband, blue faded jeans with bell bottoms and brown leather cowboy boots. His bass playing is smooth and rich, with some edginess for those memorable bass lines.

Dave Traina @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Those sweet and earthy rhythm and beats are from drummer Dave Traina. His style is mellow, though heavy on the toms and the bass drum, just the right amount to add the groove. He looks like a magician with his long black hair and wizard-like beard. It is fitting since it is magic what he does with his sticks. 

Tom Shemer & PY Letellier @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

One of the things I love about seeing live shows is how the artists interact with each other. The way they play together and their body language can say a lot about how they feel.  

Tom Shemer & Lee-la Baum @ The Minoature, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Its adorable to witness the affection between Lee-La and Tom, as they woo each other on stage. They were genuinely having fun and taking us along for the ride. Their energy was spirited and loving, laidback and easy. They love what they do, and they rock at it! 

The Damn Truth @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

Small bars as venues are great for sound but also for the drinks! The band drank shots and raised their glasses to the crowd whom they adore. Cheers to the future! Santé! L’chaim! 

The Damn Truth @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

The band adores interacting with their fans, so there were a couple of instances where Shemer asked us all to stand and scream, “on the count of four, I want you to stand and scream!” He could ask us to do anything, we would lol!

The evening was spirited and enthusiastic. The songs were stories and reflective perspectives. There was a different tone, yes, because of some restrictions, but it wasn’t bad or negative. It was precious and abundant with love and hope. The energy was low-key for a typical rock concert, we moved and grooved in our seats, but there were constant shout-outs to the band from fans declaring their love and appreciation. The all-around mood was like a sweet rock ballad that makes you sway and fall in love. I know I will always cherish that time as a privilege and a blessing. That my friend is The Damn Truth.

The Damn Truth @ The Minoature, Gatineau, 2021 (Photo Abbey Wolf)

The band is doing back-to-back shows, and they have even added two more Montreal shows on November 18th and the 19th! So hurry and get your tickets because these are full venue woot! They will be touring more of Quebec up to the end of November, until they take to the skies and embark upon their European tour which starts in France on December 5th.

The Damn Truth, members are Lee-la Baum (lead vocals/guitar), Tom Shemer (lead guitar/vocals), PY Letellier (bass/vocals) and Dave Traina (drums/vocals)

Set List:

1 This is who we are now
2 Full on You
3 Too Late
4 Pirates & Politicians
5 Broken Blues
6 Lonely
7 Only Love
8 Look Innocent
9 The Fire
10 Kinda Awkward
11 Get with you
12 Tomorrow

Below are a few of the band’s links, where you can subscribe, get merch and tickets for shows. It’s all hot and must have!