The Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre provided the setting for the first ever West Australian show for Nashville’s finest exponents of progressive bluegrass, Punch Brothers. Having heard great things about this band, to experience the act live was an opportunity too good to miss for this excited reviewer.

Punch Brothers effortlessly steer and shift between traditional bluegrass, indie, folk, classical and soul genres. They push the boundaries, yet produce authentic music relatable to any fan of sound – and do a damn good job in the process. The combination of banjo, mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar and double bass make for a truly jaw-dropping show. 

Another New World and Rye Whiskey were exquisitely delivered to the Monday evening masses, the latter track containing some breathtaking solo cameos on each member’s respective instruments. My word these guys can play. A bunch of skilful bluegrass numbers entertained in the middle section of the set, while the delicate beauty of Julep showcased Chris Thile’s vocals as he reminisced: “A grandfather clock / is tick-tick-tocking to the time.”

One could understand a level of arrogance from musicians with such skill, but the down-to-earth nature and humorous manner in which they related to the audience, and each other, was wonderful. Thile’s entertaining stage antics were a treat, as each marathon solo was complemented with animated facial expressions and bodily gyrations. After closing out the main set to an ecstatic crowd, the band returned with a brief encore of The Phosporescent Blues, an uplifting track taken from the group’s most recent release of the same name.

The legendary T Bone Burnett once labelled Punch Brothers as “one of the most incredible bands (America) has ever produced.” As we walked away with some mighty fine August memories, hundreds of content Perth punters would find it hard to disagree with the man. Add this to your bucket list: you need to see Punch Brothers live.

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