Blue Man Group is one of those rare acts that lives up to the hype. The first time I saw them in Las Vegas, I was surprised that the act included plenty of humor, impressive messiness, feats of dexterity, and actually good music. That last one was the biggest news for me, since I had never actually thought of Blue Man Group as a band...but of course they are. They've released a bunch of albums. They also happen to be into performance art.

Blue Man Group dropped by NPR recently for a Tiny Desk Concert. Using a variety of instruments, both custom-made and off-the-shelf, the concert is a delight. NPR's Bob Boilen writes:

Every band that plays the Tiny Desk must work within the restrictions of the space. So instead of installing their entire signature PVC instrument, what ended up behind the desk was about a third of it. On the right side of the desk, their Shred Mill makes its internet debut: It's a drum machine triggered by magnets that changes rhythm depending where they are placed on the home-made variable-speed conveyor belt. They also invented something called a Spinulum, whose rhythmic tempo is controlled by rotating a wheel that plucks steel guitar strings. ...

Read the rest for more details on the instruments involved, including a nice writeup of the Chapman Stick. The Stick is usually the weirdest instrument onstage when it appears, but for Blue Man Group it's probably the most conventional. Enjoy: