I remember the first time I heard of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. Three years ago, I happened upon Anderson .Paak’s legendary performance while scrolling on Twitter. Captivated by the raw sound of his unembellished voice, I watched the entire 15 minute video and then watched it again. The space that he and his band were performing in was so small it was almost comical, four musicians and their instruments were wedged into a corner between colorful bookshelves.
Just like NPR tiny desk concerts, Pitzer’s Tiny Dorm Concerts take place in comically small spaces that give student artists a platform to develop their style and perform in an intimate setting.
POV of someone entering a tiny dorm concert. Video by Samir Kothari PZ ’21
Pitzer TDC’s began with a casual concert/party on September 27th, thrown by Elena Breda PZ ‘21, and Kevin Woods PZ ‘22. They felt that student artists on campus were not getting enough opportunities to play, so the two decided to host an event in Breda’s Mead suite.
Although Breda made a Facebook event for it, most of the foot traffic was due to word of mouth or from people simply wandering in from hearing the music.
Woods, otherwise known as “Kevwoods,” started the night off by playing lofi hip hop, while other artists freestyled over them. When asked to describe the atmosphere, Woods said, “It was awesome. Super energetic and fun; a lot more intimate [than other events].”
Later in the night as more people came in, the energy in the room intensified and the music changed styles. The Lost Sock drummer Leo Menninger PZ ‘22 and guitarist Seth Husney, PZ ‘22 also performed at the event. They agreed that it felt very low-pressure.
Menniger said, “I barely thought of it as a concert. It felt like spontaneous creation of music. The vast majority of shit that got played that night wasn’t even planned.” Husney added, “It was a lot more casual than a lot of shows that we played, which was nice. We messed up a ton but it felt like it didn’t matter.”
Around 11 PM, soon after Seth and Leo took the stage, campus safety arrived and people quickly trickled out. Everyone was bummed, but the resourceful artists simply packed up their equipment and moved to another suite in the same tower. There, the concert continued until about 12:45 AM.
Since then, Samir Kothari PZ ‘21 has decided to make the events a regular occurence by creating a Tiny Dorm Concert Planning Committee. According to Kothari, the vision for the most recent event has changed significantly to align more closely with the spirit of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.
“A Mead concert/party is going to be more Pitzer people, it’s gonna be like whoever knows it’s happening is gonna come through. The point of a Tiny Dorm Concert is to get more awareness out there and have more people come and check out artists from this school playing live,” he said.
Kothari said that the improved vision would better serve as a promotional showcase artists potentially with a small audience and could be used to film promotional videos. He explained that this more intimate environment would also decrease the likelihood of them getting shut down by campus safety.
On November 1st, the most recent TDC took place in Mead Y300. The event featured an eclectic, genre-bending band called, “Queen Casper,” among other artists.
The video below features guitarist Zack Baum PZ ‘23, guitarist-vocalist Carson Barry PZ ‘22, drummer Graham Derzon PZ ‘22, and bassist Damina Ho CMC ‘23.
Charlotte Cowan-Ruth ‘22 is from Portland, OR. She wanted to make a Portlandia joke but wasn’t sure if it would land.