If Nickel Creek truly is calling it quits, they certainly know how to go out in style.
The trio, along with bassist Mark Schatz, played to a sold out crowd at UNC's Memorial Hall Tuesday, Sept. 19.
The set, which lasted more than two hours and encompassed a decade of material, was a prime example of how the group has grown over its years together. From the more traditional-leaning songs off their 2000 self-titled release, to last year's Why Should the Fire Die?, Nickel Creek has shared its coming of age with fans and listeners.
And while singer Chris Thile acknowledged Tuesday night that not everyone in the bluegrass community has appreciated their distinct ability to bend the rules, the 1,500 people in attendance didn't seem to mind — especially when the group launched into "Toxic," the mind-numbing pop song made popular by Britney Spears.
The song has become a standard in the group's live show, and as an audience member you don't know whether to bust out laughing or be amazed at how good they are at covering a song so far from their usual terrain.
The group also covered Gillian Welch's song "Wayside/Back in Time," which can be found on Thile's new solo album, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground.
During the encore, each band member took some time to showcase their individual talents, something quite relevant seeing as the group will be taking an indefinite hiatus at the end of next year. Both Thile and Sean Watkins have released solo albums this year, and Sara has said she plans to record her own. Even Schatz got in on the game, performing a song off his own solo album with the help of the band.
Nickel Creek closed the evening with a sing-a-long of "When You Come Back Down," a beautiful ballad befitting for a night of fantastic music.
The Mammals, a folk rock five piece from New York state, opened the show. While their style was all over the map, from bluegrass to alternative rock to Cuban, their musical competence at all genres added to their appeal and made it easy to see why Nickel Creek would be inclined to bring them out on the road.