They say people sing better when they’re pregnant (…right?), and although Mangy Pride’s heavily bearded lead guitarist and vocalist, Jules Pampena, wasn’t nearly as pregnant as their female vocalist, Stephanie Pampena, the brother and sister certainly complemented each other well. If his long hair and poncho didn’t already set the mood for the 70s rock experience which went strong for pretty much the entire night, the psychedelic visuals that synched up with Pride’s music and were being projected onto the screen behind drummer Adam Passalacqua most certainly did. Looking rather cramped, Mangy Pride definitely didn’t have a vast area on stage; however, with their not entirely energetic stage presence, a larger space was unnecessary. They still managed to rile up the crowd that was initially pretty flat-lined; when they weren’t grooving to mellow jams, things got heavy.
Although all the members of Pride were tight and pulled their own, I wouldn’t be surprised if Passalacqua’s highly rhythmic and ambidextrous capability of simultaneously drumming while playing the keyboard was responsible for impressing the audience. However, with Mangy Pride barely making any mention of their songs titles, it would be quite difficult for those who became fans of them that night to find their favourite songs online – I guess they’ll just have to listen to all of them. Mangy definitely showed passion and pride in their music – I just hope Stephanie’s fetal baby was wearing earplugs.
As I left the washroom after having blown up the toilet bowl, I could hear the audience’s roaring cheers travelling throughout the venue – The Damn Truth was on. Turning the corner to the main room, my jaw dropped with what I saw, a stage ignited by a slew of blinding lights as these four rock ‘n’ roll hungry creatures consumed the stage. As the main riff to “Too Late” blasted into the air, guitarist Tom Shemerr stood at the tip of the stage in front of a sold-out venue as if to say, “Worship us, motherfuckers.” With top hat-wearing, mad hatter-esque vocalist Lee-la Baum slithering around the stage as she sung with a sensually heavy whisper, I was already so mesmerized by what I was seeing that I could barely put my head down to take notes. There was so much energy emitting from the stage; so much love from the band’s hometown audience; so much hair! I was speechless.
Before kicking into “Leave It in the Dark,” drummer Dave Traina pointed his stick into the air, directed at the audience as if he was saying, “We’re about to bang you right in your ear-buttholes.” – and they totally did! At times it felt like one long song was being played, not because the songs sounded the same or anything, but because the transitions from one song to the next were so smooth (like Santana). Even though it was a sold-out show, the performance still felt really intimate because of how much Baum engaged the audience and sincerely thanked us for supporting their awesomeness. Her tears were real. The sully in my undies was real. It was all incredibly moving. It’s as if when they fired out their latest hit “Heart Is Cold,” regardless of how kickass of a song it is, it didn’t have that much of an effect on the crowd’s reaction and emotions because everyone was already so revved up!
After giving their phony goodbyes upon “closing” with “Get With You,” the rooting from the audience happily brought the ass-kickers back on the stage, where eventually the two lovers, Lee-la and Tom, (who were quite sexual on stage, I must add) closed the set with “Montreal” almost as a shout out to us and a recognition of their fans’ dedication and devotion to them. Hell, donating over $12k to pay for the damages caused by their tour van catching fire, killing five innocent pedestrians and a puppy (just kidding…thankfully nobody was injured) while on tour in October in promotion of their new album Devilish Folk, is in itself indicative of the solid relationship DT shares with its fans. And – you bet I’m gonna say it – that’s the daaamn truth!
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson