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Want to punch up your Thursday night?

Five-man bluegrass band Punch Brothers coming to Jorgensen with folk style and swagger

By Zarrin Ahmed
On October 2, 2012

  • The members of Punch Brothers, a five-man bluegrass outfit that has performed around the world and topped the US Grass Chart. Students may know them best as the performers of ‘Dark Days,’ a song featured on the soundtrack of ‘The Hunger Games.’. Photo courtesy of Danny Clinch


Headlining at the Jorgensen on Thursday night are Punch Brothers-a bluegrass, folk-rock, classical and jazz playing quintet.

Sounds like something you've never heard of, right?

The Punch Brothers pride themselves on forging their own musical territory with the use of instruments like the mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, and violin. Consisting of band members Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Paul Kowert, Noam Pikelny and Gabe Witcher, the band was formed in 2006 by Thile and three others. Formerly part of a band called Nickel Creek, Thile was backed up by Edlridge, Pikelny, and Witcher on a solo album titled "How to Grow a Woman." With the addition of a bassist, the band officially became Punch Brothers in 2008, releasing "Punch."

What's more, its members have won spectacular awards and done great things. On Monday, Thile was announced as a recipient of a MacArthur "genius grant" worth $500,000 for his music. TheNew York Daily News reported Tuesday that Thile plans to buy a rare mandolin worth between $100,000 and $200,000 before saving the rest of the prize. In 2010, Pikelny won the first-annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, and performed with the comedian/musician on "The Late Show With David Letterman." Witcher has played violin for film scores including "Toy Story" and "Brokeback Mountain."

Lending their name to a story by Mark Twain called "Punch, Brothers, Punch!" the band evolved to present the unified ideas of five guys, encouraging people to participate by bringing a sense of musical camaraderie. They have established their place among the most dynamic and talented presences across the full range of contemporary music-making. As performing and recording artists, composers and interpreters, technicians and stylists, they continue to push the boundaries of possibility while maintaining an unerring devotion to the basic audience experience.

They've visited a long list of venues including Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Somerville Theater in Boston, Old Town School in Chicago and many others. From small clubs to concert halls and even festivals, they've performed in a variety of spaces and places. Their shows include a mix of songs including original songs written by the band, a 4-movement chamber suite composed by Thile called "The Blind Leaving the Blind," traditional bluegrass and folk tunes, arrangements of classical music, and covers of Radiohead, The Beatles, The Strokes and many others. 

The Punch Brothers are the subject of an upcoming feature-length documentary called How to Grow a Band, and have appeared on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." With unmistakable talent and performances catered to audiences, the Punch Brothers constantly receive positive reviews from fans who have thrilling experiences at their concerts. 

In addition to their first album released in 2008 which topped the US Grass Chart, The Punch Brothers have released two albums since. In 2010 they created "Antifogmatic" which peaked at 2nd place for US Folk and US Grass charts, and "Who's Feeling Young Now?" in 2012, which also topped the US Grass chart. Their song "Dark Days" was used in the score of the blockbuster hit "The Hunger Games."

So if you're looking for a fun concert this week, The Punch Brothers will be performing at Jorgensen on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets are $10 as opposed to regular priced tickets at either $25 or $35. 

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