Crash Test Dummies - Celebrating 30 Years - 5.1.20Friday, May 01 2020 6pm Doors / 8pm Start
- Front Premier
- Bar Stool
Crash Test Dummies - Celebrating 30 Years - 5.1.20
at City Winery Washington DC
- Front Premier
- Bar Stool
With their clever lyrics and folk-tinged melodies, the Crash Test Dummies were a perfect rock band for affluent '90s college students and yuppies. Their first album was a multi-platinum hit in their native Canada, but only gained a small cult following in other parts of the world. Thanks to former Talking Head Jerry Harrison's clean, radio-friendly production, the follow-up album, God Shuffled His Feet (1993), broke big in the States and, in turn, Europe. The first single from the record, "MMM MMM MMM MMM," became a worldwide Top Ten hit, making the group a minor sensation with their self-consciously bizarre lyrics and singer/songwriter Brad Roberts' deep baritone. A Worm's Life followed in 1996, and three years later the Crash Test Dummies returned with Give Yourself a Hand, which found Roberts sharing vocal duties with bandmate Ellen Reid.
Frontman Brad Roberts resurfaced in fall 2000 with a solo album, Crash Test Dude, a collection of acoustic hits from the Crash Test Dummies and eclectic covers. It was also during this time that Roberts suffered a serious car crash, almost losing his arm. Seven months later, however, he returned to the Crash Test Dummies circuit to issue I Don't Care That You Don't Mind, a brand-new batch of songs written with lobster fishermen/musicians whom Roberts met during his rehabilitation. Late 2001 and early 2002 saw more solo albums from the band's members (Ellen Reid's Cinderellen and Mitch Dorge's As Trees Walking), and the Dummies gradually became more Brad Roberts' project than a traditional band. A new three-piece unit consisting of Reid, Brad Roberts and original bassist Dan Roberts released the Christmas album Jingle All the Way in late 2002, but limited distribution made the album hard to find. The album was reissued in late 2003 along with a new album, Puss 'n' Boots, with Reid and Dan Roberts adding to what was originally planned as a Brad Roberts solo album. The trio embraced a more stripped-down acoustic sound on their next album, 2004's Songs of the Unforgiven, while 2010's Ooh La La proved to be more symphonic.
In 2018 the band’s classic lineup reformed to tour for the 25th anniversary of God Shuffled His Feet and is on the road again in 2019 celebrating 30 years of music.
With a sultry and intoxicating voice, Elizabeth Moen lures you in. Paired with introspective lyrics that echo both bitter and sweet, her music will captivate you then stay with you. “Moen is one of those rare artists whose voice, from the first moment you hear it, consumes your entire being, doing away with all previous thoughts and concerns and leaving you short of breath (The Culture Trip).
On her sophomore LP A Million Miles Away, Moen tackles the complexities that coincide with the basic need for growth. At points lighthearted and somber, and even wry, her lyrics mirror what it’s like to be alive: to wake up each day and attempt to balance the myriad of emotions that go along with being human. In “Triple Scoop” this all perfectly comes together in relation to the age-old problem of sweet, melting ice cream meeting concrete (“Triple scoop sorbet splattered on the sidewalk / Bit of cherry pie hanging off your lip / Why wipe it away, it’s just you and me talking? You’re the cherry on top of my double chocolate chip”). Throughout the albums eight songs, you are reminded that it’s possible (and ok!) to feel broken and carefree, nostalgic and hopeful, to be utterly content but still have an incredible sense of longing.
Hailing from the small town of Vinton, Iowa, located in the middle of the heartland, Moen taught herself how to play guitar as a teenager. It was peer pressure that caused her to write her first song and shortly thereafter, she immersed herself in the writing community of Iowa City while finishing up her studies in French and Spanish at the University of Iowa. Inspired by a mix of modern artists such as Alabama Shakes, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen and Lake Street Dive (who she has supported), and older influences like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, Moen isn’t locked into a single style.
On A Million Miles Away her songs shift fluidly; Opener “Red” and “Best I Can Do” portray the soulful side of her voice while “Triple Scoop” and “Matilda” recall folky, summer pop. “Don’t Say I” and “Bad to Myself” pull in heavier tones, augmented by her 1968 Gibson ES-340, while the final tracks, “Time is a Shitty Friend” and “Planetarium,” act as closing arguments for the album. The two tracks encapsulate aspects of each preceding track, at times both heavy and soft equal parts whimsy (“Cuz I’m high and I’m reading about stars and shit”) and sadness (“...and it’s feeding / My thoughts about us together in some other universe”), while the echo of a longing to be “a million miles away” plays out.
A Million Miles Away follows Moen’s 2016 (self-titled EP) and 2017 (That’s All I Wanted LP) releases that took her on tour throughout the Midwest and Western United States alongside Europe. During this time she has acted as direct support for Lake Street Dive, Margaret Glaspy, Lucy Dacus, Becca Mancari, Houndmouth, William Elliott Whitmore (featured on her 2017 LP), Lissie, Buck Meek and has had her music placed in films including the Netflix original movie “Candy Jar.” In support of her new album, Moen embarked on her first national headlining tour with dates in major cities including Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and Nashville. Released September 1, Moen’s new album is a testament to its theme: growth.
A Million Miles Away is a moving, passionate exploration of internal and external change. In Moen’s own words, “the base of the eight tracks revolves around the idea that there needs to be and will be growth. That can be for someone you love, for yourself, for a new relationship, or for closure from an old one. I’ve grown a lot writing these. I hope that these songs will make you feel that way or another too.”