Tiny Desk

Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/161152883/161238037" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Language Advisory: This performance contains language that some listeners may find offensive.

A primal, turbulent and artful slice of pop, the new Amanda Palmer record has won my heart. Theatre Is Evil's first song is a wall of well-defined noise that, I'll admit, had me throwing my fist in the air when no one else was around. It was the same feeling I had hearing David Bowie's "It's No Game" from Scary Monsters more than 30 years ago.

With the highest money-raising musical Kickstarter project ever, Palmer — and her fabulous new band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, with producer John Congleton — captured lightning in a bottle. The result will do more than just energize the almost 25,000 fans who helped make it possible. To be honest, I've admired Palmer but was never in the class of dedicated followers, until now: Theatre Is Evil is genius, savvy pop filled with smart storytelling that won't let go.

So how does this monster sound translate to the Tiny Desk — without the strings, the horns, the big drums and studio alchemy? The answer turned out to be simple: As all good songs do when stripped naked, they worked perfectly. Palmer pulls off just the right proportion of being in your face without being didactic. There isn't the sort of vagueness I hear in so much pop prose; these songs' fervor is the product of a singer armed with intensity and musicians who can match it.

Set List
  • "The Killing Type"
  • "Want It Back"
  • "Ukulele Anthem"
Credits

Producer and editor: Bob Boilen; Audio engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers; Christopher Parks and Mito Habe-Evans; photo by Kainaz Amaria/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Little Simz performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Little Simz

Little Simz has been compared to Lauryn Hill for her self-reflective wordplay. And though the British lyricist is a relative new-comer, her Tiny Desk performance was poised and confident.

Agnes Obel performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 9, 2016. (Raquel Zaldivar/NPR) Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Tiny Desk

Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel brings the Tiny Desk three alluring and powerful songs.

Esme Patterson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 1, 2017. (NPR) NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Esmé Patterson

Esmé Patterson has dropped the banjos and folk from her previous project Paper Bird, and in their place are electric guitars and a backing band worth getting behind.

Run the Jewels perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 12, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Run The Jewels

Killer Mike and El-P continue to out-muse each other in a supergroup that somehow seems to get better, louder, and more pertinent since their start in 2013.

Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ben Folds

Performing solo, Folds performs three songs from his new album and two old favorites.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chelsea Wolfe. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chelsea Wolfe

Wolfe takes three songs from the metallic Abyss and makes them howl by their lonesome.

Tiny Desk Concert with Car Seat Headrest. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo is a wordsmith with a vision, as well as a DIY sound that's still finely crafted.

Tiny Desk Concert with EL VY. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

EL VY

The National's Matt Berninger and Menomena's Brent Knopf team up in an intimate setting.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Arcs. Jessica Mowery/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jessica Mowery/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Arcs

It's our 500th show at the Tiny Desk, featuring The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and his new band.

Tiny Desk Concert with Wolf Alice. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

Wolf Alice

The band's music can be noisy and primal, but at the Tiny Desk it showed a different side.

Back To Top