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Marshall Pierce
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Punch Brothers @ High Noon 11.17.11

I'm one of those people. I didn’t listen to Nickel Creek when they were an active band. What a shame! A friend introduced me to the mandolin wizard that is Chris Thile, and for that, I am grateful.

Saturday’s sold-out Punch Brothers show at High Noon was one not to miss. You might’ve expected rowdy dancing at a bluegrass show, but there was not much of the sort. The crowd largely stood in awe of the talent on stage. I found myself trying not to drool while listening to each musician shred on their respective stringed instrument. For the unfamiliar, the Punch Brothers line-up features a mandolin, guitar, upright bass, banjo, and fiddle – it’s an alt-country, modern bluegrass quintet of power.

Punch Brothers, who have been restricted to a shorter timeslot on their current tour as Paul Simon’s opener, were eager to expand their setlist (lucky for us!). We Madison folks were privileged to two hours of classics, covers, and new stuff, including the “world premiere” of their new song “Patchwork Girl.” This seemingly poppier (but still plently bluegrassy) song will be featured on their next album, “out some Tuesday in February.” Notorious for their covers, Punch Brothers didn’t disappoint. The boys in suits provided folk-infused, fun renditions of The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer,” Beck’s “Sexx Laws,” and for their second encore, The Band’s “Ophelia."

One of the beauties of this bluegrass quintet is their greater appeal; I found myself being annoyed, yet appreciative, of the bros standing next to me shouting desperate pleas for Radiohead covers. Kudos to Punch Brothers for having the ability to reach a new league of fans with this genre. Check out their crowd pleaser "Rye Whiskey" below.






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11/14/2011 9:38AM
Punch Brothers @ High Noon 11.17.11
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