On Sunday May 12, at 7 p.m., a tiny audience gathered in front of the tiny box office next to the Stansbury Theater to watch Tiny Band perform a 30-minute set. The show was part of the Tiny Box Concert series—inspired by NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series—which is quickly becoming an adorable Lawrence tradition.
Tiny Band’s concept, as explained early in the show by senior Stephen Deeter, is “big people with tiny instruments and tiny clothes who play tiny music.” The band includes senior Lucas Meyers on a small drum set, senior Stuart Young playing a tiny bassoon, junior Rick Kubly on a mini guitar and Deeter as the band’s lead singer and tiny pianist.
The concert began when the door to the box office was opened and the band was revealed. All four members were sitting extremely close together and wielding their miniature instruments. They immediately went into the classic opening riff of “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes. Toward the end of the original song, there is a verse that is traditionally performed quietly to enhance the volume and impact of the final chorus; in Tiny Band’s cover, the verse was performed so quietly that it was practically inaudible…and then not so loud, as the band’s little instruments only had so much horsepower. This moment had the crowd in raucous laughter.
Next, the band played a rendition of “Simple Song” by The Shins, which faded seamlessly, with Deeter holding down the first note on his keyboard, into “Short Skirt Long Jacket” by Cake. The standout moment in the song was when Deeter held the note of the word “long” in the last chorus for well over ten seconds (when the original song only calls for about four seconds).
Opting for a slightly different vibe in their next cover, Tiny Band tackled the multi-part harmony of “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes—a lovely addition to their set which otherwise consisted of mostly 80s and 90s rock.
Deeter introduced their next song with a promising statement: “This one’s not gonna go very well.” Despite his pessimism, “The Underdog” by Spoon ended up being a wonderful, sweet cover. After, they moved onto the campy “Diner” by Martin Sexton. Deeter did an impressive job keeping up with the rapid-fire lyrics while the other band members sang background harmonies.
Following was “Old Bike” by Rob Cantor, after which Deeter said, “I’m losing my voice a little, but that’s okay because this next song doesn’t require any vocal agility whatsoever.” Then, as it was Mother’s Day, he proceeded to dedicate “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet “to all the mothers out there.” It was certainly a hilarious closer.
The Tiny Box Concert series is just getting started, with another performance coming May 19, at noon. The shows are a wonderful way to spend half an hour on a Sunday. There are truly no other concerts like these going on anywhere else at Lawrence, and it is a unique experience worth getting in on.