King King + The Damn Truth @ Town Hall, Birmingham on 22nd February 2022


Canada’s The Damn Truth are quite possibly the greatest band you’ve never heard of. Despite tearing up stages from North America to Europe (and back again) with the likes of ZZ Top they’ve somehow managed to fly under the radar for nigh on a decade. On the strength of tonight’s performance that seems set to change and, riding high of the back of their critically acclaimed third album (Now Or Nowhere), they know they are on the cusp of greatness. With a strong ‘70s aesthetic this Québec quartet are powered by a tight-but-loose rhythm section who provide a solid foundation from which flower some voodoo inspired solos from lead guitarist Tom Shermer…and they certainly cast a spell over the venue. However, the real star of the show is singer Lee-la Baum whose vocal gymnastics during ‘Only Love’ are mesmerising and it’s easy to see why favourable comparisons have been drawn with Janis Joplin. The Damn Truth have a sound that’s built for the biggest stages and the standing ovation that erupts at the set’s finale shows that’s exactly where they belong.

The Damn Truth

Another band very much on an upward trajectory are King King. Years of hard graft and unswerving belief in their brand of bluesy rock is finally paying dividends and tonight they’ve come to demolish Birmingham’s Town Hall. Using AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ as an introduction sets just the right tone and raises the bar pretty high for the rest of the evening, but it’s a bar King King leap over with their own ‘(She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’’. As openers go it’s an explosive number that threatens to shake the venue to its very core and aided by a crystalline sound, there’s not a soul present who is not swept along on the effervescence that radiates from the stage. Tonight’s set is not recommended for somnambulists and ‘Waking Up’ gets all present on their feet and there’s suddenly a party-vibe going on as King King magically transform a cold Tuesday evening into a sparkly Saturday night.

King King

After their pandemic enforced live hiatus King King look genuinely relieved to be back on stage again and they deliver a good-natured set with plenty of crowd participation, and “participation” is the operative word. This gig isn’t just a band playing songs at an audience; it’s a two-way street with each feeding off the others energy. The band deliver a set that veers between all out rockers and slower, sultry tunes, and sometimes both at the same time (‘Rush Hour’) but the evening flows smoothly with the extended blues workout that is ‘A Long History Of Love’ nestling next to the muscular ‘You Stopped The Rain’. It’s the push and pull between heavy and lithe sections that make tracks such as ‘Whatever It Takes To Survive’ very easy on the ear. The band return for two well-earned encores including a stark ‘When My Winter Comes’, during which you could hear a pin drop, plus an atmospheric ‘A Stranger To Love’ which, with a spellbinding solo from Alan Nimmo, makes a fitting closer.

King King
  • Words and pictures by Peter Dennis.

King King Set List:

The Damn Truth
  1. (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’
  2. Fire In My Soul
  3. One World
  4. Waking Up
  5. Rush Hour
  6. A Long History Of Love
  7. You Stopped The Rain
  8. Everything Will Be Alright
  9. Coming Home (Rest Your Eyes)
  10. Whatever It Takes To Survive
  11. I Will Not Fall
  12. Let Love In
  13. When My Winter Comes
  14. Stranger To Love