Crystal City, fronted by Dave Helmer and Sam Drella, is a Heartland rock band with blue-collar roots. Heavily influenced by Paul Westerberg, Tom Petty, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt, Helmer’s songs are approachable and relatable, touching on themes of love and loss, being good to each other, and celebrating life.
In 2009, Crystal City formed as a duo, recording their self-titled acoustic EP just three months after meeting. In the years to follow, the duo grew into a full band. In 2014, their full-length album Change was released. The album was met with positive reviews from around the country due to its blend of rock and acoustic songs.
Following the successful reception of Change, the band spent the year playing shows around the country, sharing the stage with national acts such as The Whigs, The Good Life, HoneyHoney and The Ike Reilly Assassination.
Taking on dual personalities, Crystal City regularly plays around the Midwest as a Rock ’n’ Roll outfit as well as a fingerstyle duo, rich with harmonies and melodic whistling, comparable to the likes of Andrew Bird. Crystal City’s classic songwriting can warm a weary heart and get bedraggled feet stomping.
Their sophomore full-length album is slated for release in 2017.
See Crystal City at Little BIG Fest on Saturday, November 5 at Wooly’s (504 E Locust St.) at 5:45pm
To learn more about Crystal City, check out their Facebook page
Little BIG Fest is an annual festival, featuring roots, country, singer-songwriter, bluegrass, jam, world, blues, jazz, and soul music. The festival traditionally takes place in November with the location changing from year to year. As with all DMMC events, local bands are heavily featured, though bands from around the U.S. also perform at the event. See the full line-up and details here.
Established in fall 2006, LBF has featured over a dozen bands each year, including Trampled by Turtles, Pieta Brown, The Soul Rebels, William Elliott Whitmore, Charlie Parr, and John Fullbright.
LBF is organized by the nonprofit the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC). Little BIG Fest 2016 is made possible with the support of Traveler Beer Company, Tallgrass Brewing Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Hy-Vee, Saturday Mfg., VolunteerLocal, Wooly’s, Lefty’s Live Music, Iowa Public Radio, and KFMG 98.9 FM.