UCSB Arts & Lectures - The Punch Brothers. April 5, 2022 UCSB Campbell Hall | Credit: David Bazemore Photo

The Punch Brothers came roaring back to UCSB’s Campbell Hall for this show, a makeup of a
COVID-postponed February 2022 date. Chris Thile, Gabe Witcher, Noam Pikelny, Chris
Eldridge, and Paul Kowert have never sounded better than they did on Tuesday night. Although
their two-hour set drew heavily on their most recent release, Hell on Church Street, there was
plenty of time for them to dig into 2018’s All Ashore for tracks like “Jungle Bird” and the band’s
delicious ode to the pineapple tiki cocktail, “Three Dots and a Dash.”

Grouped tightly around a single condenser microphone, the players threw large shadows on the
walls of Campbell Hall, creating giant echoes of the energy they displayed on stage. Although
the new album pays tribute to guitarist Tony Rice, his music channels many songwriters, from
Jimmie Rodgers on “Any Old Time” to Gordon Lightfoot on a memorable “Wreck of the
Edmund Fitzgerald.” Thile and Eldridge kept a friendly kind of banter going throughout the
breaks in a set that ranged from bluegrass to French Impressionism. Few groups of any
configuration can compare to the Punch Brothers for infusing consummate musicianship with
elemental joy.

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