Review by Bokonon
Photographs by Timothy Raab
Punch Brothers have always been too intellectual for me. Until that Thursday night. Braniac Berklee bluegrass, all up in itself. Until that Thursday night. That Thursday night at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Punch Brothers gathered around a single mic and made mad musical magic.
Super Saratoga Springs singer Sharon Bolton sat in front of me, hooting righteously at the end of every number. I was right there with her.
Mandolinist Chris Thile is the point man of the band, and he’s been seen in the area in myriad permutations – solo, with Michael Daves, with Nickel Creek, with Edgar Meyer, with Brad Mehldau… But Punch Brothers is a band, and they functioned on that mic like an octopus, tentacles of sound weaving in and out. And it was clear from the first beat that the boys were as smitten with the room as the crowd was with them.
“We’ve made a lot of mistakes over the past 10 years,” banjo man Noam Pikleny deadpanned. “And one of the worst was not playing here before.”