|Photo by C. Taylor Crothers|
A wide range of covers made up most of the group's set, with artists ranging from The Beatles to Radiohead. Their version of Josh Ritter's "Another New World" was chilling It seems like they pull out a different Radiohead cover with each round of touring — this time, it was "2+2=5" off of Hail to the Thief.
Most of the band's original material came from their most recent release, Antifogmatic. The audience was also treated to a few favorites from How to Grow a Woman from the Ground, the album released as a solo effort by mandolin player and lead singer Chris Thile. The only song from Punch, the group's 2008 record, was the last half of the first movement of the forty-minute "Blind Leaving the Blind" suite.
The group used the Raleigh crowd to test out two new songs, "Flippant" and "The Full and Empty Hours." "Flippant" was exactly that —a quick, playful instrumental that managed to dance around yet stay incredibly tight. The band is set to begin recording the new material late this summer, and the brief samples they gave seem quite promising.
The band left the stage after performing their hit "Rye Whiskey," but the crowd coaxed them back with a significant bout of shouting and stomping from the audience. Thile returned to the stage by himself to let the audience vote on the first encore. He and the audience settled on Bach's "Prelude in G Minor." Unsurprisingly, he blew it away. The rest of the band returned to the stage to play The Stanley Brothers' "Lonesome River" and The Strokes' "Reptilia." It would have been the end of their set, but the crowd demanded more. The band returned to the stage once again to finish the night with The Band's "Ophelia" and a rousing more traditional bluegrass instrumental to finish the night.
Having seen Punch Brothers perform three times now, it's difficult to imagine them being anything less than stellar. They maintain an impressive level of showmanship and skill while still seeming relaxed and down-to-earth.
Wayside (Back in Time) (Gillian Welch)
Another New World (Josh Ritter)
Next to the Trash
Don't Need No
Brakeman's Blues (Bill Monroe)
The Blind Leaving the Blind, First Movement (second half)
New Chance Blues (Norman Blake)
Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
The Full and Empty Hours (new)
Watch 'At Breakdown
Prelude in G Minor (Bach, Chris Thile solo)
The Lonesome River (The Stanley Brothers)
Reptilia (The Strokes)
Ophelia (The Band)
? (bluegrass instrumental)