Monday, November 08, 2010

Punch Brothers dazzle Carrboro crowd at the Cradle

All photos by Kevin Norris
The quintet of musical savants known as the Punch Brothers took the stage at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday night to a roar of cheers and applause that brought a smile to Chris Thile's face which would be a permanent fixture the whole night.

The band dazzled the crowd with their virtuosity and pop sensibility, playing a large number of songs from their latest album Antifogmatic. A cover of Fiona Apple's song "On the Bound" was an excellent inclusion in the set. Banjo player Noam Pikelny noted that the band recently recorded a song with Apple which will likely be on her new album that expected to be released in 2011.

Other great covers were scattered through the set including their standards of The Strokes' "Heart In a Cage" and Gillian Welch's "Wayside (Back In Time)." The band grooved out and got the crowd singing on The Band's classic "Ophelia" and showed off their instrumental chops on Radiohead's "Morning Bell."

The band's transition seamlessly during the set between "Me and Us" and "Alex," the latter of which created a massive singalong from the crowd. The main set closed with the barn-burner "Rye Whiskey."

Only moments latter, fiddle player Gabe Witcher and bassist Paul Kowert returned for a duet of the old Carter Family tune "You Are My Flower." Witcher's rich baritone suited the song nicely and Kowet's fluid bass made for a interesting arrangement.

The rest of the group returned to the stage for one of the most unlikely covers, "Icarus Smicarus" originally by the Welsh band Mclusky. The guys transformed the thrashing song into their own charming style of string band pop.

The band left the stage again, but the crowd wanted more, so they returned for two more songs. The somber Antifogmatic tune "This Is the Song" slowed things down a bit, but the band closed with a blistering traditional bluegrass which showcased each member of the band numerous times.

If the band's smiles and constant admiration of the crowd and the venue were any indication — Thile noted several times that the Cradle crowd was the best he'd ever played to — we'll be seeing Punch Brothers back at the Cat's Cradle again.

Set list
Next To the Trash
Don't Need No
On the Bound
Watch 'at Breakdown
Punch Bowl
Heart In a Cage
Miss You
You Are
Bailey/I Know You Know
Me and Us
Wayside (Back In Time)
The Blind Leaving the Blind 3rd movement (excerpt)
Morning Bell
Rye Whiskey
You Are My Flower (Gabe & Paul)
Icarus Smicarus
This Is the Song


Morgan said...

That first "?" is "Bailey/I Know You Know."

Morgan said...

Pardon me for another comment. You got "I know you know." They play "Bailey" into that song. My eyes glossed over it. The first ? is actually an excerpt from the 3rd movement of Blind Leaving the Blind. Sorry, boss.

Hilaria said...

The crowd was phenomenal. I didn't hear any chatterers at all. The performance was powerful and at times breath-taking. I spend all of my free time seeing bands locally, and I feel safe in saying that this show was the best I've seen in years. I kept chillbumps the entire time. I really hope they come back soon!