Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Blow-by-Blow Account of Punch Brothers and Aoife O'Donovan at Liberty Hall

We're suckers for virtuoso musicianship and technical precision, so we found ourselves joining the young hippies and at least half of the bluegrass/Americana players in Larryville to witness the Punch Brothers at Liberty Hall last night, which was packed to the rafters despite very little press from the local scenester media (including this blog).

The Free State Maibock was flowing freely, but here are a few highlights as best we recall:

--Chris Thile emerging promptly at 9:00 to offer the crowd an update on the KU/Texas game and introduce Aoife O'Donovan, lead singer of Crooked Still. Her short solo set included a Springsteen cover ("Atlantic City") and a song inspired by an Anne Sexton poem (she apologized for being more into poetry than basketball, though politely wished our team well).

--Punch Brothers' barreling through "Rye Whiskey" (barrel...whiskey...get it?).

--Punch Brothers' wacky one-two punch (get it??) of cover songs (Radiohead followed by Gillian Welch's "Wayside/Back in Time," the latter sped up to six times it's usual speed). They should have covered Welch's cover of Radiohead's "Black Star," since covers of covers are pretty hip.

--a kind gentleman tossing his coonskin cap to Chris Thile, who happily wore it for a tune.

Observation: shows such as this always contain a small contingent of "Shhhhhh'ers," who shush their fellow concertgoers if anyone is talking during quiet moments. It's wonderfully pompous, and we're kind of fans it, but the "Shhhhhhhh'ers" were so vocal last night that they were louder than their chatty companions (who weren't even particularly loud). Strange.

Verdict: four out of four Maibocks (since access to beer was strangely easy all evening, presumably because most of the crowd was more into weed).

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