Well before arriving for this performance, the three guys in half•alive asked for the exact dimensions of the space behind Bob Boilen’s desk. Known for their live shows, with elaborate, synchronized dancing and costume changes, the group naturally wondered how they’d pull everything off in such a cozy space.
Their solution? Have the dancers sit for the performance. The choreography, now restricted to the width of two chairs, was incredible. You’ll see how it all works on the final song half•alive played, “ice cold.,” a new track from the band’s just-released debut full-length, Now, Not Yet. And, if you’re one of the 25-million people who’ve watched the band’s must-see video for the song “still feel,” you’ll likely recognize the dancers, Jordan Johnson and Aiden Carberry.
The band, fronted by singer and guitarist Josh Taylor, didn’t try to squeeze in any costume changes. But in addition to the sitting dancers, they also brought along cellist Callie Galvez and violinist Emiko Bankson for a beautiful but propulsive version of the song “RUNAWAY.”
Formed in Long Beach, Calif. in 2016, half•alive is a band with a clear vision and gift for design, not just in the earworms they write, but in their entire presentation, with often-matching outfits and carefully selected color schemes. It wasn’t at all surprising to see and hear the care they took to make their Tiny Desk debut a memorable one.
- “still feel.”
- “ice cold.”
Joshua Taylor: vocals, guitars; Brett Kramer: drums, Wurlitzer, Septavox, vocals; J Tyler Johnson: Wurlitzer, bass, vocals; Jordan Johnson: choreography; Aiden Carberry: choreography; Emiko Bankson: violin; Callie Galvez: cello
Producers: Robin Hilton, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Jeremiah Rhodes, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Paul Georgoulis; Photo: Shuran Huang/NPR