Politics - Who To Trust?

  The 76 Year Catastrophe

  Black Country Communion Back!

  Within Temptation Live Recordings

  Montreux Festival July 2024

  Beth Gibbons New Solo LP


  Politics Is Failing

  Ani DiFranco New LP

  Pink Floyd’s Animals Remix


  Seasick Steve Alive & Kickin’

  Glen Hansard New LP/23-24 Tour

  Joe Bonamassa Live LP & Tour

  Pearl Jam New LP & Tour

  Feeder New LP & Tour

  “My country, right or wrong…”

  Heart Announce Live Tours

  Anais Mitchell HADESTOWN Returns

  The Photographer’s Selection

  My Favourite Records

  Gaza Nightmare Continues

  Gaza Nightmare Continues

  Download 2024 First Acts

  Princess Goes COME OF AGE

  Springsteen 2024 Tour

  Philip ‘Seth’ Campbell Live

  This Troubled World

  Dark Side Of The Moon 50th

  The More I Hear The Less I Know

  Great Albums: Fresh New Life

  Hozier’s New Album

  Nicole Atkins Jim Sclavunos Live

  SBT (Sarabeth Tucek) Live

  I’m As Angry As Hell!

  Magnum - A Year in Ukraine

  Alessandra Sanguinetti Interview

  The Damn Truth Live

  Newton Faulkner Live

  The Handsome Family Live

  The State We’re In Pt II

  Eric Gales Live

  The Cavalry Never Arrived

  Chvrches Live

  Andrés Peña Flamenco Star Live

  Paul Draper Live

  A Fly-Free Zone

  Liverpool Jazz Festival

  The Charlatans Live

  UK Democracy Threatened

  Rag’n'Bone Man Live

  Sea Girls Live

  Martha Wainwright Live

  Politics is Failing

  Moby The Very Best Of Interview


  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

  Music & Brexit

  Happy New Year?

  On Barbra Streisand

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?


  Photojournalism Hero

  Samantha Fish Live

  Gill Landry Live in Chester

  Noah Gundersen Live

  David Gilmour’s Interview

  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

  New Model Army Live

  Shakespears Sister Live

  Lamb Live in Manchester

  The Struts Live

  Sting & Shaggy Live

  Ana Popovic, Lynne Jackaman Live

  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  John Lennon Interview

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death

The Damn Truth Live


Live Rooms, Chester, 23 October 2022



The Band

​Lee-la Baum (lead vocals/guitar)
Tom Shemer (lead guitar/vocals)
PY Letellier (bass/vocals)
Dave Traina (drums/vocals)


I am based in Chester where top-quality music concerts have been few and far between, but I am witnessing a slow but steady improvement due to a particularly adventurous promoter who has been active here over the past few years. And this despite the paucity of suitable venues. Over the past weeks I have enjoyed a wonderful show by America’s top-flight The Handsome Family in the bijou St Mary’s venue in the centre of the city. This old church offers a beautiful environment along with sound acoustics, especially effective for singer/songwriters. The Live Rooms, situated within a short five-minute walk from Chester’s vintage rail station, is a venue more suited to rock music and in recent times has hosted some of the best blues acts around. Due to the venue’s logistics, sound quality is not the best but with judicious sound management it just about passes muster.


I like surprises. The Damn Truth was unknown to me - never seen ‘em, never heard ‘em - but that word ‘blues’ and the band’s home country of Canada dictated that I had to cover the show. I’m so glad I did.

I often wonder whether support acts exist to illustrate the quality of the feature act. That’s not always the case of course and I can remember a support act performing in Manchester some years ago who so impressed me I emailed a friendly independent and major record company about them but who weren’t interested. The band was Mumford & Sons… That said Scarlet failed to impress and did indeed illustrate the differences between the mediocre and the best. Still, the near-capacity audience seemed happy enough…


Even before The Damn Truth mounted the stage I felt that something quite special was about to take place. Perhaps it was the precise stage set, perhaps it was the feeling in the air of great expectation, perhaps it was the sight of the lead lady Lee-la Baum…who knows.

And the surprise? What unfolded over the next hour-plus was the finest, the most passionate and most inspiring rock concert I’ve seen in ages. The opener said it all! ‘This Is Who Were Now’ opened the set in one explosive fashion with drums leading the chase and the most passionate vocal I’ve heard in years. The perfect opening line included some volcanic guitar riffs but it was that vocal performance that sealed the deal in no uncertain way. Immediately I felt a strong audience connection and a feeling that the band wanted nothing more than delight the paying punters.


An opening, strident guitar introduced ‘Full On You’, a song that combined country, blues and heavy rock superbly as a tale of failed love rung out. Baum’s angry vocal and a couple of amazing guitar riffs sealed the deal. The mood became darker, moodier and blusier with the outstanding ‘Lonely’ (one of Baum’s most expressive vocals of the night) before a few moments of outstanding musicianship arrived. It’s rare to experience drum solos but on the night drummer Dave Traina provided one of the most special moments of the night that I wish could have lasted a lot longer. It received rapturous applause, including from me.


Mid-paced rocker ‘Only Love’ followed with another fabulous vocal and telling harmonies before the deathly pace of love/hate ballad ‘Look Innocent’ arrived accompanied by the most passionate and expressive vocal of the night. In addition, the song came with one of the strongest melodies of the show. By this time it was plain for all to see that this band is one close unit that feels their music more than most. Baum used her fine shape expressively to interact with the audience and band-brothers. I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a skilled and complete frontwoman as this - ever!

The demand for an encore was inevitable as the audience demanded more. ‘Love Is Bindness’ and ‘Heart Is Cold’ concluded the night; a very special night in my 2022 event calendar. With the world and this country in the dreadful state it’s in The Damn Truth for one night gifted major respite and, for me, proved that brilliant musicians and music can still be found as long as one keeps looking. The setlist was diverse in pace and mood and nothing short of inspiring. This is one show I will never forget and think my images tell the whole story.



This Is Who We Are Now
Full On You
Too Late
Pirates and Politicians
Only Love
Look Innocent
The Fire
Get With You

Love Is Blindness
(U2 cover)
Heart Is Cold



Page: 1 2


Manchester 2009 - Gallery: The All-American Rejects
The All-American Rejects

Gaza Last 48 Hours - Gallery: A Ceasefire?
A Ceasefire? Gaza 2024 - Gallery: They Bombed The Children
They Bombed The Children
Shakenstir - Homepage Links Reviews Live Interviews Features News Contact Gallery Shakenstir - Homepage