The award for most-impressive mandolin playing during Day 2 of Dave Matthews Caravan musicfest goes to Chris Thile, the leader of the progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers. His fingers flew across the fretboard of the small-necked instrument to the Boardwalk Stage crowd's delight.
As dazzling as his mandolin playing was, Thile's voice wasn't too shabby, either, as he hit falsetto notes throughout his set.
Three of five band members were wearing suits, and Thile made a comment from the stage about the cloud cover making it comfortable for him to dress up.
"I'm thrilled to be here at the Caravan. I expected more camels," said Thile, who smiled broadly throughout his time on stage with his band.
The Punch Brothers mixed up their set with originals, old-time tunes such as "Brakesman's Blues" by Jimmie Rodgers and covers of more recognizable tunes, such as The White Stripes' "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground."
They closed their set on a high note with a spirited version of "Rye Whiskey," a song from their latest CD, which praises the virtues of the liquor saying it "makes the sun set faster."