Nickel Creek | 10.23.07

nickelcreek1007.jpg In between songs, you got a feel for their chemistry as they joked around onstage and told anecdotes from the past, at one point, mandolinist Chris Thile taking a slight diversion into a discourse about cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

A packed house filled the Pageant to come see Nickel Creek, but it felt like they were on your back porch jamming; an intimate gathering of friends getting together for a good time. Their down to earth charm seemed to warm up the audience’s hearts and the passion for their music came through in their performance to keep peoples toes a-tappin’ all night.

It is amazing to me how much drive Nickel Creek can get out of their acoustic lineup considering there was no percussion of any kind, save for the rhythms they tapped out on their instruments. It was a new experience for me to see a capacity crowd in a rock venue without any drums of any kind; yet they were still able to keep the energy of the show flowing. In between songs, you got a feel for their chemistry as they joked around onstage and told anecdotes from the past, at one point, mandolinist Chris Thile taking a slight diversion into a discourse about cheese.

Their arrangements weave in and out of complex forms to somehow arrive at a simple result. Some parts have tight unison lines that are synchronized with the whole group effortlessly, while at other points they seem completely free to improvise. The vocal harmonies are the key to the sound of Nickel Creek, and the guys blended their voices beautifully behind violinist Sara Watkins, who has the voice of an angel.

They played a complete range of songs from their three albums, Nickel Creek, This Side and Why must the Fire Die? (Sugar Hill), but my favorite had to be "The Lighthouse Tale," which is the song that first drew me to the band. They did a raucous version of "The Fox," in which guitarist Sean Watkins got to display some of his virtuosity. They seamlessly blend many different styles into their modern bluegrass sound with tidbits thrown in from everything from Dylan to Bach. Make sure you pick up the recent compilation disc Reasons Why (Sugar Hill), which contains the greatest hits from their career as well as some live performance and a disc of videos.

Nickel Creek has an appeal that comes out of their open, honest and humble approach. It is an unpretentious presentation of music that seems so natural to the human spirit that you feel that you are witnessing something from another place or time. Though they are touting this as their farewell tour after seven straight years on the road, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will seem them again at another place and time. | Derek Lauer

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply