Guest Post: Punch Brothers Concert {In Review}

6 06 2011

Hello fellow SIT fans! Becky asked me to share with you about a concert I went to recently and I am so excited to tell you all about it!  I borrowed a Garden and Gun Magazine (which I originally heard about right here on SIT!) from some newlywed friends of mine. The main article was on the new crop of bluegrass musicians that are gaining momentum in the music world, and the Punch Brothers were one of the featured bands. Being a huge Nickel Creek fan, I was already familiar with the uber talented and adorable mandolin player, Chris Thile. To my delight, I saw that they were coming through my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, so two friends, my cute bf, and I were off to the Florida Theatre for the event.

Let me first say that I love going to the Florida Theatre. It is a beautiful venue and I love staring up at the Mediterranean inspired interior before every show. The crowd was an eclectic mix of fans, which I always think makes for a great time. As I was not very familiar with the Punch Brothers music and my adventuring friends weren’t familiar with bluegrass (where have they been?), I knew it was going to be an experience for all of us.

The Punch Brothers are made up of guitarist Chris Eldridge, banjo player Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher, bassist Greg Garrison, and Chris Thile on the mandolin. They all entered the stage in their sharp suits. Men in suits? Check. Amazing musicians? Check. Great harmony? Check, Check. Throw in an upright bass, and I’m done. Let’s just say I was sold from the beginning.

Three selections I enjoyed the most were their “Blind leaving the Blind”, which is a four movement piece from their self-entitled first album. The song from their most recent album, How to Grow a Woman from the Ground, is a great, foot stomping “Rye Whiskey”. You can’t help but clap and tap your toes! Watching Chris’ moves onstage makes it even more enjoyable. He loves making music, and his rooster like strut is fantastic entertainment! My favorite piece of the night was from their upcoming album. The song was entitled, “Soon or Never.” Gabe on the violin lead, along with the beautiful harmony throughout the song, had me leaning so far forward I almost fell out of my chair. It epitomized so much of what I love about bluegrass music. There is a melancholy longing that runs through the genre. A soul twisting recognition that something is missing or lost.

Ok, I lied. There were four songs that I loved the most. The encore started with an unexpected solo of Bach’s 4th movement of the G minor sonata by Chris. Um, hello? Classical music on the mandolin? Yes please, and thank you very much. While Chris was the main draw for me, I so appreciated the camaraderie of the whole band. They seem to genuinely enjoy playing together, and respect each others’ musicality. The crowd loved them, and they seemed a little surprised by our enthusiasm. They promised to return to Jacksonville more often. Woo Hoo!

After the concert, my friends, bf, and I hopped across the street to Dos Catos for refreshments. (Chill atmosphere, fun drinks, and a good dj spinning on Thursday nights.) What sealed the evening was when Chris, Noam, and Gabe came in! Once I got over being star struck, I walked over and told Chris that they all did an incredible job.  I was tempted to road trip to see them the following evening at the Savannah Music festival, but, alas will have to wait for the next go around. If you haven’t gone by their site, picked up their music, and especially seen them live do it ASAP. Beck, thanks for having me on SIT!

{picture via PunchBrothers.com}

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