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"

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

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


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.

Tiny Desk Concert with River Whyless. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

River Whyless

The North Carolina band fills its rootsy music with unexpected instruments and clever ideas.

Tiny Desk Concert with Benny Sings. Morgan Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Morgan Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Benny Sings

The Dutch singer layers R&B, jazz and pop over hip-hop beats in his first-ever U.S. appearance.

Tiny Desk Concert with Natalie Merchant Jun Tsuboike /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike /NPR

Tiny Desk

Natalie Merchant

The singer-songwriter gives a warmhearted performance of two new songs, an old favorite and a hymn.

Tiny Desk Concert with Mariachi Flor De Toloache Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Mariachi Flor De Toloache

While on tour with The Arcs, the powerhouse mariachi band performs live in the NPR Music offices.

Back To Top