Mmm’ing With Crash Test Dummies
Crash Test Dummies in Cape Town 2018
Ask any fan of Crash Test Dummies what their favourite song from the Canadian rock band is and they’ll quickly sing-say “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”.
Crash Test Dummies formed 30 years ago, in 1988, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band rose to fame, especially in Canada, thanks to the remarkable voice of Brad Roberts. They’re best known internationally for their 1991 single ‘Superman’s Song’ and, of course, the 1993 hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”.
It was also this very song that made me vow to not miss them on their tour to South Africa, with a show in both Cape Town and Pretoria. I had to see their biggest hit performed live by mister Brad Roberts himself.
The Cape Town show took place on a scorching day at the beautiful Hillcrest Quarry, in the heart of the Durbanville Wine Valley. A perfect day for a picnic (if you remembered to bring a decent-sized umbrella).
Three local bands were on the line up to open. WONDERboom was up first and gave an energetic performance despite the sun shining full blast into the stage. Vocalist, Cito, simply put his shades on and continued the set. It’s easy to see why they came out top at the Silk Road Indie Festival in China last year, they’re experience shows on stage. Of course, their performance of ‘Africa’ was the highlight of their set.
AKING was up next and brought all their most well-known songs, old and newer, as the sun slowly set. Even though I enjoyed seeing them live again after some time, I missed their usual energy. Something was missing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Bed on Bricks took over the stage shortly after and showed why they, too, have survived the industry for so long. They gave an explosive performance to a crowd that seemed as excited to watch them as they were to perform. Their sound is not easily defined, but definitely easy to party to.
As Hillcrest Quarry filled up slowly but surely, a guy next to me told me that never, in his wildest dreams, had he thought that Crash Test Dummies would come to South Africa, and that he used to listen to them throughout his teenage years. And as the night went by, I heard that quite a lot. Little-known fact, though: Crash Test Dummies actually visited our shores back in the 90s! I guess everyone was still broke teenagers back then…
With no long set up times between any of the sets, it was quickly time for the Canadian rockers perform. Brad didn’t bring the original band along with him to South Africa, but a couple of top local musicians joined him on stage along with the rest of his touring band.
I know that everyone in the crowd was probably eagerly waiting for that one hit to be played, but Brad had other plans for us. Instead, he took us on a marvelous musical journey with that voice that made the Dummies famous. From swing to hard rock, I knew Brad was talented, but not like this! And besides his vocal ability and diversity, the man is also a really nice guy (well from what I could make out from his interaction with the crowd between songs).
Between jokes and short stories, he took us through a set made up of old and newer songs. I had no idea the band had such big fans in South Africa and was astonished at the crowd singing along.
Eventually, right at the end, as the cherry on top, Brad gave us “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”. And it was all worth it. Everyone sang along with either lighters or phones in the air, as Brad took the crowd, well probably most of them, back to their teenage years. A beautiful, nostalgic performance.
Well done to Melos and Rachelle Crous Publicity for organising a great event! Looking forward to more shows in 2018.