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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Lord Vinheteiro has always impressed us with his piano playing (and deadpan staring) abilities. But can he maintain his composure as he plays a concert of classics from Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven, and others while his piano sits in the back of a moving pickup truck?
(PG-13: Language) Like the rest of us, the members of GWAR have been trapped here on earth since the pandemic took hold. The A.V. Club managed to score an intimate acoustic concert session with the legendary intergalactic metal band while quarantined. Incredibly, zero fake blood or guts were spilled during the performance.
Without an arena (or the NPR offices) to perform in, Lenny Kravitz and his bandmates turned in this intimate three-song concert from Lenny’s chill home setting in Eleuthera, Bahamas. The tracks include “Thinking Of You,” “What Did I Do With My Life?,” and the 2020-appropriate “We Can Get It All Together.”
Among his many talents, musician Jacob Collier is known for his multitrack music videos. While quarantined at home, he and his three identical (virtual) twins performed this stellar NPR Tiny Desk Concert that showcases his diverse musical skills through three smooth and enveloping tunes.
In a bold leaf of faith, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house staged its first concert since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown… to a full house of houseplants. The UceLi Quartet performed Giacomo Puccini’s “I Crisantemi” for 2,292 plants, one in every red velvet seat. Conceived by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia.
We were really looking forward to seeing Thom Yorke hit the road this Spring. Sadly, coronavirus caused much of the tour to be postponed. To help tide us over, Thom has released a hypnotic 16-minute mini concert featuring music from his 2014 album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.
(PG-13: Lyrics) With the NPR offices closed for now, their Tiny Desk Concert series is soldiering on without a live audience. In this intimate concert from The Roots’ singer and lyricist Black Thought, as he performs and tells stories about three new songs: Thought Vs. Everybody, Yellow, and Nature of the Beast f/Portugal. The Man.
To support the charity Playing for Change, musicians Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, joined amazingly talented artists from around the globe for a performance of The Band’s 1968 classic The Weight. Enjoy more from their Songs Around the World series here. (Thanks Jonathan!)
“We are isolating, but we are not isolated.” Musicians and performers around the globe continue to provide us with great bare-bones performances during the COVID-19 lockdown. Listen and enjoy as the members of Barenaked Ladies perform their 2000 hit “Pinch Me” from the comfort of their individual living rooms.
Shortly before the lockdowns began, Chris Robinson and his brother Rich dropped by the NPR offices to perform three of their soul-stirring 1990s tunes stripped down to their essence, including their hits “She Talks to Angels” and “Jealous Again,” along with a lesser-known track, “Wiser Time.”
(PG-13: Language) Alex O’Connor aka Rex Orange County performs a mini-concert of four soulful and heartfelt tunes, bringing a touch of much needed light into these dark days. We love how he embraces the vibe of 1970s adult contemporary music, but still makes it his own.
Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland dropped by the NPR offices with a nine-member gospel choir, who provided backing vocals for soulful performances of “Cry Cry Cry,” “Viva La Vida,” “Broken,” a cover of Prince’s “1999,” and their 2019 track “Champion of the World.”
German power metal band Rammstein is known for their over-the-top stage shows. In this time-lapse clip, watch as a crew spends more than 60 hours transforming an empty football field in Dresden into a complete concert venue, with a massive stage rigged with speaker stacks, lights, pyrotechnics, and musical instruments.