Awesome Concerts

Masters of the Marimba

Masters of the Marimba

We’ve heard some pretty fantastic performances on the marimba over the years, but these guys from Zimbabwe’s Hillcrest College Marimba Band have got way more flair. Here’s a video of the spirited performance that won them the 2017 Marimba Cup Challenge. Here’s footage from another one of their shows.

The Cardboard Sessions

The Cardboard Sessions

The guys from Signal Snowboards teamed up with Ernest Packaging to create a custom electric guitar and drum kit made from cardboard. The Cardboard Sessions hands those instruments over to talented musicians to perform in impromptu jam sessions. Though they didn’t manage to make a cardboard brass section.

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The Audience Choir

The Audience Choir

Musician Jacob Collier is known for ending his concerts with singalongs. At the end of his performance at London’s O2 Academy, he turned his entire audience into a choir. He achieved this impressive result by dividing the audience into three sections, assigning them a note, and conducting them to raise and lower their pitch.

’80s Jams, Movie + TV Music on Synthesizers

’80s Jams, Movie + TV Music on Synthesizers

Musician Luke Million has an awesome collection of vintage synthesizers – and he knows how to get the most out of them. In the first video clip, he performs a series of classic 1980s jams with spot-on sounds, then does the same for movies and TV shows in the second video. His recreation of Running Up That Hill is perfect too.

Moonage Daydream (Trailer)

Moonage Daydream (Trailer)

Filmmaker Brett Morgen (Cobain: Montage of Heck) directed this visual and auditory spectacle about the late, great David Bowie. Rather than present his life as a documentary, the film celebrates Bowie and his personas through concert and archival footage, some of which has never been seen before. In theaters 9.2022.

Seven Nation Army @Glastonbury 2022

Seven Nation Army @Glastonbury 2022

During the 2022 Glastonbury Festival, Jack White performed one of his biggest hits, and blew the roof off of the place – despite it being an outdoor event. The White Stripes’ 2003 classic Seven Nation Army sounds as killer as ever, and is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.

AV Undercover Archive

AV Undercover Archive

From 2010 to 2017, The Onion’s A.V. Club invited musicians to cover songs from a list of diminishing choices as the season went on. This amazing collection vanished a few years back, but has resurfaced on the YouTube channel Alvin Untercover. Bands include TMBG, GWAR, Punch Brothers, and more. Watch ’em before they’re gone again!

Ron Carter Tiny Desk Concert

Ron Carter Tiny Desk Concert

Throughout his 60-year jazz career, double bass maestro Ron Carter has always been the coolest cat in the room. To celebrate his 85th birthday, the national treasure jams supreme in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert filmed onstage at the Blue Note Jazz Club. The jazz deity will be fêted at Carnegie Hall on 5.10.22.

Trombone in an Empty Swimming Pool

Trombone in an Empty Swimming Pool

As part of the 2022 Aberdeen Jazz Festival in Scotland, musician Michael Owers performed on trombone in the empty Bon Accord Baths, and the wonderful echoes that it produced are everything you could hope for. It turns out that strings also sound amazing in the same setting, as violinist Victoria Field demonstrated.

Calder Plays Theremin

Calder Plays Theremin

At NYC’s MoMA, composer Dorit Chrysler used the movements of iconic Calder mobiles to control Theremins, musical instruments played without physical contact. As the metal sculptures moved, they produced sounds by affecting the electromagnetic fields of the Theremins, resulting in a musical “collaboration.”

Turnstile Tiny Desk Concert

Turnstile Tiny Desk Concert

Modern hardcore punk band Turnstile cranks up the volume while surrounded by a sound-dampening wall of stuffed animals in this most excellent NPR Tiny Desk Concert. The seven-song sit-down offers a fresh take on their acclaimed 2021 album Glow On.

Man of Constant Sorrow Live

Man of Constant Sorrow Live

The Coen Brothers’ 2000 movie O, Brother Where Art Thou featured a fantastic bluegrass soundtrack, highlighted by George Clooney’s lip-syncing to Dan Tyminski’s version of Man of Constant Sorrow. Nearly two decades later, Tyminski stopped by the Paste Magazine offices for this flawless performance of the tune.

Iron Maiden Symphonic Medley

Iron Maiden Symphonic Medley

The talented musicians of Epic Symphonic Rock live up to their names yet again, this time with a live tribute to heavy metal maestros Iron Maiden. The medley includes big, orchestral versions of The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, and Fear of the Dark.

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Playing 6 Octaves on a Trumpet

Playing 6 Octaves on a Trumpet

Trumpets typically play notes across a three-octave range. But in the hands and lips of the great Arturo Sandoval, it’s possible to extract almost twice that range. Listen as he plays the lowest lows to the highest highs in this excerpt from Dizzy Gillespie’s Night in Tunisia, with the United States Air Force Band in 2011.

JAMBINAI Tiny Desk Concert

JAMBINAI Tiny Desk Concert

JAMBINAI combines elements of traditional Korean music with heavy metal. To achieve their unique sound, they perform using a mix of old-world and modern instruments. While the backdrop may look like NPR Music’s Tiny Desk office, it’s actually a projection, which changes to reflect the group’s rich and powerful sound.

Foo Fighters: Somebody to Love

Foo Fighters: Somebody to Love

(PG-13: Language) During an intimate concert at Agoura Hills, California’s The Canyon Club, Foo Fighters performed an unexpected cover of the Queen classic Somebody to Love. Taylor Hawkins takes on Freddie Mercury’s challenging lead vocals, while a choir of backup singers adds depth to the rock opera sound.

Tom Jones Tiny Desk Concert

Tom Jones Tiny Desk Concert

Singer Tom Jones has been performing since the early 1960s. In this intimate NPR Tiny Desk Concert, he proves he’s still got it. At age 81, his smooth and soulful voice gives us chills as he belts out three introspective songs: One More Cup of Coffee, There’s No Hole In My Head, and I’m Getting Old.

Line Them Up! A Paper Mario: The Origami King Concert

Line Them Up! A Paper Mario: The Origami King Concert

VGMtogether coordinated more than 160 musicians around the world to join in an online concert celebrating video game music. Their subject, the soundtrack from Paper Mario: The Origami King. Kudos to project director Laura Intravia and her team for putting it all together.

The White Stripes: From the Basement

The White Stripes: From the Basement

Back in 2005, UK series From the Basement featured an intimate mini-concert from Jack and Meg White. For the first time, the entire performance is available for viewing online and includes never-before-seen footage from the session. The six-song concert includes Blue Orchid, As Ugly As I Seem, Little Ghost, and Red Rain.

Concert Size Comparison

Concert Size Comparison

MetaBallStudios loves to compare the relative sizes of things, and in this clip, they explore the comparative audience sizes of some of the world’s largest concerts, from 1985’s Live Aid to the staggeringly-enormous Rod Stewart celebration on New Year’s Eve 1994 in Rio.

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The Flaming Lips Tiny Desk Concert

The Flaming Lips Tiny Desk Concert

One of The Flaming Lips’ trademark theatrics is for lead singer Wayne Coyne to crowdsurf the audience inside of a plastic sphere. Thanks to COVID, they decided to perform their entire NPR Tiny Desk concert inside of the bubbles as well. Next up, the band plans on performing for an entire audience inside of bubbles.

Tame Impala Empty Stadium Concert

Tame Impala Empty Stadium Concert

Before the scourge that is COVID-19, Tame Impala used to play to packed venues. But here they jam out to an audience of exactly none (except the camera crew). They staged this surreal and intimate mini-concert in an empty football stadium to promote the launch of FIFA ’21.

Goat Rodeo Tiny Desk Concert

Goat Rodeo Tiny Desk Concert

Performing under the name Goat Rodeo, musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile turn in a wonderfully stripped-down performance that combines elements of jazz, bluegrass, country, folk, and classical music. Vocalist Aoife O’Donovan accompanies the quartet for the final song “The Trappings.”

Billie Eilish Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Billie Eilish Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Despite having to perform from home, Billie and her brother Finneas sure look like they performed their Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices. It’s a powerfully intimate performance, with stripped back versions of the tracks “my future” and “everything i wanted.”

Tame Impala: Tiny Desk Concert

Tame Impala: Tiny Desk Concert

Kevin Parker and his Tame Impala bandmates fill our ears and minds with groovy electronic beats and mellifluous vocals in this mini-concert performed at the musician’s home studio in Australia. Tracks include “Breathe Deeper,” “Is It True,” and “Patience.”

How to Swap Guitars

How to Swap Guitars

Snapping a guitar string in the middle of a solo in front of a big audience must suck. Apparently, it didn’t phase the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Check out this classic bit of concert footage in which he and the guitar tech worked with the balletic smoothness of a Formula 1 pit stop to switch out guitars.

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