Chris Thile and company are quite the entertainers in every sense of the word. Being the host of the weekly radio show “Live From Here” obviously helps, but he and the rest of his Punch Brothers have been winning people over with their forward-thinking take on bluegrass music. With a Radiohead cover here and a Debussy cover there, their inspirations run the gamut, just like their audience’s demographics. And in support of their latest album All Ashore, mandolinist Thile and company continued their path towards world bluegrass domination with a stop at The Anthem.
It’s hard to make a place as massive as The Anthem feel like a family gathering, but Thile’s banter with his bandmates like banjoist Noam Pikelny on topics like cocktail recipes and squirrel cheek sizes brought everyone closer together in laughter, not to mention in music. It’s worth noting that in spite of the almost-cavernous ceilings of the venue, the clarity and volume of the instruments was as perfect as it can get there - getting to experience a show without needing earplugs is always a plus. All the better to sit in awe of each band member’s exceptional instrument proficiency. They treated the crowd to a captivating cover of Josh Ritter’s “Another New World” (also on their EP Ahoy!), favorites like “Julep” and “Rye Whiskey,” and instrument solos galore. Punch Brothers never fail to impress wherever they go, and even though they’re constantly on the move to larger venues, they always make fans feel like a part of the family.
Punch Brothers’ latest album All Ashore is out now through Nonesuch Records.
Opening for Punch Brothers was Madison Cunningham, a 21-year-old guitarist who has performed along Thile on his radio show “Live From Here.” Though usually accompanied with a band, her solo performance on guitar, especially in how she used the sparse setup to draw attention to her blues-inspired guitar riffs, would undoubtedly please fans of Margaret Glaspy. Cunningham’s latest release is the single “Last Boat to Freedom” through Verve Label Group and is currently at work on her next LP.