Monday, February 22, 2010

Punch Brothers leave sold out Durham crowd in a haze

The string quartet dubbed Punch Brothers, led by Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, rolled into Duke's Reynolds Theatre on Friday night for a sold out show.

They kicked things off with the instrumental "Watch 'at Breakdown" from Thile's 2006 album How To Grow a Woman From the Ground, before launching into a set heavy on new tunes from the band's forthcoming album Antifogmatic, due out in May.

The new songs have a little more pop flavor that Punch Brothers' debut album Punch lacked. The song "Don't Need No" starts off a bit spastic, and then launches into a funky groove and being led vocally by the deep baritone of fiddle player Gabe Witcher.

The somber ballad "Missy" features a haunting Thile melody and sweet harmonies by the rest of the group. Another beautiful ballad was "This Is the Song," which Thile prefaced by saying it is seasonal, combining the sentiments of Valentine's Day and the recession.

The band pulled out a few of their classic covers including The White Stripes' "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and Gillian Welch's "Wayside (Back In Time)," but it was the odder choices that really stood out. The band's rocking version of The Strokes' "Reptilla" likely had a few people scratching their heads and the spacey, yet amazing cover of "Kid A" by Radiohead definitely had them downright confused.

The band's amazing musicianship and honest love of their craft shine through the set. They are a band that stands on their own which no true peers to compare them to. They're doing their own thing and that's just fine.

[all photos by Kevin Norris]

Punch Brothers set list
Watch 'at Breakdown
You Are
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Don't Need No
The Blind Leaving The Blind: Third Movement
This Is the Song
Next To the Trash
The Blind Leaving The Blind: Fourth Movement
The Lonesome River
Rye Whiskey
Kid A
Wayside (Back In Time)

1 comment:

Allison said...

That was such a fantastic show. I was blown away at the quality of musicianship. I mean, I knew they were good, but they totally blew me away. I asked Chris Thile in the signing line if they would come back and he said "Oh, definitely. Everything here has been so great."Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later!