A Powerful Tiny Desk (Home) Concert From Austin: Black Pumas
The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Dec. 7, 2020 | Felix Contreras — The Austin-based rock band Black Pumas is having a good 2020. The group, led by singer Eric Burton and guitarist Adrian Quesada, was just nominated for three Grammys, including album of the year for Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition), and both record of the year and best American roots performance for the track “Colors.” The band’s turn behind a tiny desk (and chair) shows why its debut album — now more than a year old — is receiving so much recognition right now.
Black Pumas’ gritty, retro-soul groove is on full display, while the intensity level builds gradually throughout this four-song set. It’s clear why the band’s live shows have won over fans. From the opening strains of “Red Rover,” Burton digs deep and by the time we get to the ballad “OCT 33,” he’s burning with old-school soul heartbreak.
Quesada’s guitar is the perfect call-and-response foil, while the entire band — complete with two powerful back-up singers — calls to mind soul classics, but with a groovy new sheen.
I’ve seen some of Black Pumas’ shows in recent years and the band gets better every time out. The power of this Tiny Desk (home) concert shows that they always bring it, no matter the size of the audience.
Eric Burton: vocals, guitar
Adrian Quesada: guitar
Lauren Cervantes: vocals
Angela Miller: vocals
JaRon Marshall: keys
Brendan Bond: bass
Steve Bidwell: drums
Video: Amos David McKay / TWO HEADED BOY
Audio: Aaron Glemboski
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Felix Contreras
Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
Tiny Production Team: Bob Bolien, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann