[ATTENDED: March 9, 2016] Crash Test Dummies
I thought and still think that God Shuffled His Feet is a great album. The lyrics to that disc are just fantastic. And while Brad Roberts’ voice might take some getting used to, it’s really an amazing instrument.
The one thing that has always bugged me though is that Roberts is treated as something of a novelty because of his voice. When someone like Johnny Cash has a very similar style of singing, yet he has never been thought of as a joke. Perhaps that’s because Roberts has a sense of humor.
I was pretty excited to see this show, having never seen him/them before. I wasn’t sure if it was a full band or just him. It turned out to be Roberts and guitarist Stewart Cameron. In preparation for this show I listened to his previous live album Crash Test Dude. On that one he played a bunch of covers and sang a few old songs.
I was really hoping to hear my favorite CTD songs, and would have liked a cover or two. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
Well, Roberts came out and the Stewart sat next to him. And they launched right into “God Shuffled His Feet,” and I was ecstatic.
And it turned out that the set was almost entirely taken from the Shuffled album. He played four songs from their last album Ooh La La, and one or two other songs. And it was an amazing evening.
Roberts’ voice sounds amazing. And especially so in the great acoustics of Sellersville Theater. His deep bass is just as powerful as ever (does a bass singer lose the ability to hit low notes as a tenor loses the ability to hit high notes?). He was resonate and really sounded perfect.
The only cover song they played was the Replacements’ “Androgynous” which doesn’t really count as CTD recorded it on their debut album.
All told, he played nine songs from Shuffled. Now, the orchestration of the album is amazing, so how did it work with one guitarist? Well, it turns out that Stewart Cameron is an amazing guitarist. He plays jazzy licks, beautiful solos and complex structures. While it wasn’t the same as the album, it worked really well to convey the fairly complex songs.
The only thing I missed the whole night was Ellen Reid’s harmonies. Cameron did sing a little, but he never tried to do her harmonies, which really do make the songs sound a wee bit better. But no matter, he sounded amazing enough by himself.
The newer songs are much more simple, and they allowed Cameron to open up a bit and play some fun licks. The last album, Ooh La la, which he autographed for me after the show is sadly overlooked. It’s a very simple album but with some of Roberts’ loveliest songs. Gone are the days of his baroque lyrics, but his gift for melody has returned.
He also played a couple of his darker, funny songs, like “Just Shoot Me, Baby” and “I Don’t Care If You Don’t Mind.” Which are “mature.” As is his banter. He told a bunch of stories (none as vulgar as the stories on his live CD), but they included tales of his botched vasectomy, and about vaporizing.
All in all it was a great night in a great venue with a great voice. And as I said, he signed things for us afterward and was very nice.
- God Shuffled His Feet
- Not Today Baby
- Here I Stand Before Me
- Just Shoot Me, Baby
- Swimming in Your Ocean
- You Said You’d Meet Me (In California)
- How Does a Duck Know?
- Afternoons & Coffeespoons
- In the Days of the Caveman
- Song Bird
- When I Go Out With Artists
- Heart of Stone
- Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
- I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind
- Two Knights and Maidens
- Superman’s Song