Although the weather gods could not be appeased Thursday night by the sounds of bluegrass (as banjo player Noam Pikelny joked), the crowds certainly were as the Punch Brothers put on a striking performance at Celebrate Brooklyn under heavy rain and lightning.
Playing selections from their latest album “The Phosphorescent Blues”, the band played with an incomparable warmth and energy, effortlessly weaving through flawless vocal harmonies and virtuoso instrumentals. Always-entertaining lead singer and mandolin player Chris Thile took every opportunity to dance around, most notably during “Next to the Trash” where Thile stumbled around on stage as if he were conducting an orchestra while drunk.
Thile’s singing was unsurprisingly brilliant, stretching the upper and lower limits of his range without ever compromising his intonation or personality; his voice, like his mandolin, was bright and vibrant. Especially beautiful was his take on Debussy’s “Passepied”, which the audience reacted to by wooing, cheering, and screaming - a reaction rarely heard during classical performances.