Belle and Sebastian: Tiny Desk Concert


Now that we’re back filming the Tiny Desk gigs behind my desk at NPR, I witness that nervous energy that surrounds most artists who are about to perform in an office, in the light of day, with fans a few yards away. That was surely the case for the eight members of Belle and Sebastian when they kicked off their warm-up with “Unnecessary Drama.” It’s the title of a track from the group’s fabulous new album A bit of precedent and not my description of what was about to unfold. Although I can’t deny the tension.

You see, we don’t amplify the singer’s voice in the room and we don’t use monitor speakers. This all adds to the intimacy of the performance, but it also made it difficult for Stuart Murdoch to hear himself sing. In fact, he started wondering if having a set of drums, keyboards, guitars, bass, etc. was good for the Tiny Desk and considered giving it all up in favor of him and a guitar and maybe another player. But with a little work on the overall band volume, a few rehearsals and the comfort of a handheld microphone, the Glasgow band sounded lovely and beautiful.

Belle and Sebastian performed three songs from A bit of precedent his ninth album excluding two soundtracks. The band ended their delightful set with their classic track “Judy and the Dream of Horses” from If you feel sinister, an album which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. With questioning lyrics and youthful imagery, a guest trumpeter and a gallop in the beat, Belle and Sébastien gloriously made their dramatic mark at the Tiny Desk.

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  • “Unnecessary Drama”
  • “Boy Who Works in New York”
  • “Reclaim the Night”
  • “Judy and the Dream of Horses”


  • Stuart Murdoch: vocals, guitar
  • Stevie Jackson: guitar, harmonica, vocals
  • Bob Kildea: guitar, vocals
  • Richard Colburn: drums
  • Sarah Martin: keyboards, flute, recorder
  • Chris Geddes: Keys
  • Dave McGowan: bass, vocals
  • Sarah Wilson: keyboards, vocals
  • Jason Covey: trumpet


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Sound engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Director: Michael Zamora
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Publisher: Michel Zamora
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora, Pierre Kattar, Alanté Serene
  • Production Assistants: Jill Britton, Joby Tanseco
  • Small Office Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Maia Stern
  • Vice President, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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