CONCERT RECAP: The Punch Brothers @ The Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA 2/15/2013

When I became interested in covering Punch Brothers performance, it wasn’t because I was in love with their music. In fact, I hadn’t even heard much of it. Based solely on the fact that it was a string quintet, there was really no way I wouldn’t fall hard and fast for this group. A mandolin, a fiddle, a banjo, a guitar, an upright bass and five sharply dressed young lads always speaks to this girls heart. And the music they made? It was incredible.

The stunning and quaint Calvin Theatre in Northampton was warm and cozy on this cold winter evening. It had been a long time since I have literally sat down at a performance and really let it take me in; it was nice to give my feet a little rest. Each performer had solitary moments in the show where they shared their individual talents. And throughout the performance, they also worked together to create unique sounds one does not normally attribute to the strings. To think outside the box enough to cover a song such as “Kid A” by the ever amazing Radiohead is something I never thought to find in a progressive bluegrass band.

The audience was so focused on the performers gasping with joy at all the moments of dueling strings and exquisite harmonies. The band must have had six (very likely more) standing ovations amid the show. The boys came to town with witty commentary and heartfelt lyrics that made us all laugh and likely made some cry. The feelings you feel when you are at a live performance like this can sometimes take over your mind and for those that need it, the music can really sooth the deepest parts of your soul.

Concluding the show, Chris Thile took stage with his banjo and didn’t bother to plug it in. He swooned us with a solo serenade. The band followed him back on stage and they cruised to the end of the show all unplugged. The power came from within them to project the beautiful sounds they created. It was perfection all around.

Their tour came to an end on February 18th, but you will be able to see the members of the band on some of their side-projects starting in the spring!