Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM
Another quick dash into Nottingham, to Rock City, to again, witness another seismic eruption of sound and light as Canadian rock sensation, The Damn Truth, are the supporting act for the legendary Glenn Hughes.
The night was a kaleidoscope of musical prowess, spanning the band’s dynamic history, their electrifying discography.
The journey with The Damn Truth began in Montreal, Canada, where the quartet, comprising Lee-la Baum, on vocals and guitar, Tom Shemer, lead guitar, PY Letellier, bass guitar and Dave Traina, on drums, came together with a shared passion for unadulterated rock. Since their formation in 2011, the band has carved a niche for themselves with a sound that reverberates with the echoes of classic rock while maintaining a contemporary edge.
The neon-lit journey kicked off with the ethereal strains of “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, setting a ‘hippy’ tone reminiscent of the ’60s counterculture, a vibe perfected by the charismatic Grace Slick. The crowd swayed in anticipation as the stage transformed into a sea of neon blue for the opening song, “This Is Who We Are.”
The sound that followed was a sonic rollercoaster, a blend of raw power and finesse. Lee-la’s vocals soared above the pulsating rhythm, and Tom’s guitar work was nothing short of scorching. “This Is Who We Are” wasn’t just a song; it was an experience. The crowd, a sea of heads nodding in unison, captivated by the synergy of sound and style.
Without allowing a moment for the cheers to fade, The Damn Truth plunged into “Full On You,” this time bathed in purple lighting that accentuated the electrifying atmosphere. PY Letellier’s stage presence was a spectacle, as he pulled shapes and contorted his body, adding a visual layer to the sonic tapestry. Lee-la and Tom engaged in a private musical conversation, their bodies intertwining in a harmonious dance.
As the setlist progressed, “Too Late” from the album ‘Deer In The Headlights,’ rocked the venue to its core. The track showcased the band’s ability to seamlessly blend rock elements from different eras, creating a sound that felt both nostalgic and cutting-edge.
The emotionally charged “Lonely” followed, with Lee-la’s voice reaching into the depths of the audience’s soul. Her dynamic delivery and the band’s tight instrumentation created a palpable connection with the partisan crowd, who revelled in every note.
The pace picked up with the romping “Only Love Is Next,” featuring a thundering drum solo from the indomitable Dave Traina. The crowd was swept up in the energy, a sea of raised hands punctuating the driving rhythm.
“Look Innocent” brought a dynamic shift, showcasing the band’s versatility. The song’s origin and evolution added depth to its performance, creating a sonic journey that resonated with the audience.
“Get With You” continued the sonic exploration, with the crowd nodding their heads in approval. Lee-la’s onstage charisma was infectious, and her query about readiness for Glenn Hughes elicited a roar of anticipation.
As The Damn Truth introduced the final track, “Tomorrow,” the venue erupted. Tom’s scorching intro set the stage on fire, and halfway through, the crowd became an integral part of the performance, counting out 1-2-3 as the song notched up a gear. It was a fan favourite, and the band’s chemistry with the audience reached its peak. This set closer finished with a united roar from the crowd, the opening slot had just been destroyed by this likable, Canadian four Piece.
The band cleared their own kit from the stage, quickly making way for the headliner, Glenn Hughes. The performance tonight was a sonic journey through the annals of rock history, painted with neon brilliance and punctuated by moments of raw energy. As the stage shifted from one vibrant hue to another, the crowd experienced the essence of The Damn Truth—an unapologetic celebration of rock in its purest form. while they now, united in anticipation, eagerly awaited the voice that defined early Deep Purple.
Rock City was set for a night that transcended the boundaries of time and brought forth the essence of rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form as Glenn Hughes, the iconic “Voice of Rock”, graced the venue with a performance that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Deep Purple’s seminal album, ‘Burn.’
Glenn Hughes, born in 1951 in Cannock, Staffordshire, has etched his name in the annals of rock history. His journey began as the bassist and vocalist for Deep Purple during the tumultuous ’70s, and since then, he has forged a remarkable solo career. His powerful and soulful voice, coupled with his masterful bass skills, has made him a revered figure in the world of rock.
The evening opened with the electrifying strains of “Stormbringer,” the title track from Deep Purple’s ninth studio album, released in 1974. The song, with its infectious groove and Hughes’s signature vocals, set the tone for a night that promised to be a sonic journey through the band’s illustrious history. The sound of “Stormbringer” being a fusion of hard rock and funk, showcasing the diversity that marked Deep Purple’s music during this era.
Following the explosive opener, the band plunged into “Might Just Take Your Life” from ‘Burn,’ the ninth Deep Purple album. The song being a rollercoaster of sonic intensity, driven by Hughes’s commanding vocals and the tight interplay of the instruments, provided by Bob Fridzema on Hammond, Søren Andersen on Guitar and Ash Sheehan on drums. The audience were caught in the whirlwind of sound, experiencing the raw energy that defined Deep Purple’s performances.
“Sail Away” followed, infusing a dose of rockiness into the set. The crowd was treated to the band’s seamless execution, with Hughes’s vocals soaring above the powerful instrumentation. The song transported the audience back to the ’70s, capturing the essence of the era when Deep Purple was at the forefront of the rock music scene.
A highlight of the night was a medley that wove together “You Fool No One” from the ‘Burn’ album and “High Ball Shooter”, again from the ‘Stormbringer’ album. The medley featured an awe-inspiring drum solo by Ash Sheehan, whose skill behind the kit added a layer of complexity to the performance. The medley reached its crescendo with a reprise of “You Fool No One,” leaving the audience to admire the band’s musical tightness.
The set continued with “Mistreated,” a song with origins in the ‘Burn’ album sessions. Hughes’s emotive delivery and the soulful guitar work of Søren Andersen, resonated with the audience, creating a powerful connection between artist and fans. The partisan crowd sang along, turning the venue into a sea of voices united in appreciation of the classic.
“Gettin’ Tighter,” the first of two tracks from the tenth Deep Purple album, ‘Come Taste the Band,’ showcased the band’s versatility. The album, featured the late Tommy Bolin, a guitar virtuoso sadly no longer with us, adding a poignant note to the performance. Hughes’s vocal screams punctuated the song, a testament to his vocal range and ability to captivate the audience.
The set reached its zenith with the powerful “You Keep on Moving,” another gem from ‘Come Taste the Band.’ The song’s soulful melody and Hughes’s emotive delivery created a moment of reflection, as the audience soaked in the timeless beauty of the music. The band then left the stage, leaving the audience yearning for more.
The cheers that erupted signalled the return of the band for the encore. The unmistakable, meaty chords of “Highway Star” filled the venue with that delicious Hammond sound, provided by Bob Fridzema, a classic from the 1972 ‘Machine Head’ album. The crowd, now fully immersed in the sonic time warp, was treated to a performance that paid homage to the early days of Deep Purple.
The night concluded with the mighty “Burn,” the title track from the album being celebrated. Released in 1974, the song encapsulated the essence of Deep Purple’s golden era. Hughes’s vocals soared above the roaring guitars, and cheers from the crowd, bringing the night to a triumphant close.
Throughout the evening, Rock City was not just a venue; it was a time machine, transporting the audience to the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll. The night was a testament to Glenn Hughes’s enduring legacy, the influence of Deep Purple, the beauty of The Damn Truth and their hippy twist and driving 70’s sound, but overall the timeless power of music.
With crowd participation reaching a fever pitch and heads bouncing in unison, the gig proved that the magic of rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well, and Glenn Hughes remains the consummate maestro of the genre, and is still, very much, “The Voice of Rock.”