Cocorosie, Stephen Malkmus, Saul Williams and other indie all-stars performing in elevators

Netherlands Public Broadcasting digital channel 3VOOR12 for several years ran a segment called “(Behind) Closed Doors,” featuring homegrown and touring indie artists undertaking intimate performances in elevators. Here’s the amusing and clearly not entirely accurate Google translation from the Dutch language description on

Along with artists in a small space and sip what happens. Intimate one on one sessions behind closed doors. Began five years ago as a joke Gruff Rhys and now, nearly 300 sessions later promoted to gold format.

Any readers fluent in English and Dutch who can be more illuminating, I encourage you to please feel free to comment below at whatever length you see fit. I’d love to know more, myself, but I’ve been unable to find any significant trove of in-depth information in English.

The bulk of the videos available seem to date between 2005-2010, and, unsurprisingly given the circumstances, often feature stripped-down versions of a band’s material. While the offerings from the more twee likes of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Iron & Wine don’t exactly constitute eye-opening transformations, it’s neat to hear an ordinarily HUGE-sounding band like like We Were Promised Jetpacks forced to back off from the echo and bombast that typifies a lot of their work.

Cocorosie, I suppose, can’t help but be their usual idiosyncratic selves no matter where you have them play. This is wonderful:

To the surprise of exactly nobody who knows his work, Saul Williams refuses to stay confined.

Pavement/Jicks honcho Stephen Malkmus chose to record his segment a capella in a working elevator to amusing results.

Because I LOVED the confessional/TMI bad-love-and-worse-sex songs of Arab Strap, I have to include Malcom Middleton’s segment, though if you’re at work or in any public space where pottymouth will be frowned-upon, you might either plug in your earphones or just skip this video, as Middleton is abidingly fond of words like “fook” and “coont.”

Lastly, even though this one isn’t recorded in an elevator, thus blowing the entire point of this piece’s headline, I really want to share this acoustic performance by that great virtuoso of technical electric guitar playing Marnie Stern, whose Chronicles of Marnia was by far one of my favorite albums of 2013.

There’s a TON more of this and other great stuff to be had on 3VOOR12’s web site, from familiar names to obscure hopefuls. Should you choose to partake, I wish you an enjoyable dig.

Posted by Ron Kretsch



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