INDIANAPOLIS — In 2024 the air surrounding a Nickel Creek concert always has a special type of feeling. Ever since their “Farewell (For Now)” tour in 2006-2007, fans have never known when or how much of this band they may ever see again. Their release of “A Dotted Line” in 2014 was followed by a tour and sporadic performances. Just shy of a decade later in 2023 the band released another new album “Celebrants” which would go on to top the Billboard Bluegrass charts, their fourth album to do so.
So with the release of this new album and their subsequent tours it is no surprise that anticipation for the band was palpable inside of the Old National Centre on Saturday, February 10th. So much so that when Chris Thile came out on to the stage to introduce the opening act the crowd erupted in cheers at the mere presence of the mandolin maestro.
“Do you have any idea how excited you are at your own punctuality?” Thile remarked as the cheers turned to laughter. “I have a feeling you do.”
Thile coming out to introduce their opening act, The Staves, was smart. Not just because it got the crowd excited, but it also commands a certain level of respect. A member of the band everyone was there to see has come out to share their anticipation over this group that several in the crowd had never heard before. To a certain degree it takes pressure off the band that is about to perform and puts it on the audience to pay attention to the performance.
The Staves came out and immediately won the crowd over after the conclusion of their first song. The sister duo not only harmonized beautifully with their singing, but the pair also had the comedic timing capable of handling the Hoosier crowd. While the comedy was certainly secondary to their music, it was impressive how fast they could form responses to the audience. Like when the sisters sarcastically informed the crowd that they were British, an audience member decided to chime in with the common English phrase of “Cheerio!” and Camilla Stavely-Taylor responded with “But I’ve only just got here.”
Throughout their set The Staves impressed with a variety of acoustic offerings like their songs “Good Woman” and “Eagle Song“. The two even managed to burn the name of their upcoming album “All Now” into the crowd’s brains through repetition. While the duo’s music was certainly more on the slow side, it did serve as the perfect appetizer to open up the crowd for what was to come.
Time between sets was brief. When Nickel Creek took the stage the Indianapolis crowd erupted in volcanic applause. The band responded in kind by bursting into a rowdy and raucous rendition of “Where The Long Line Leads” off their latest album.
From the start, you know what you’re getting with a Nickel Creek concert. Sara Watkins swaying and bopping with her violin at stage right while her brother Sean Watkins stoically strums his guitar stage left. In the center you have Chris Thile who could sell his energy as a fitness DVD since the man easily burns 2000 calories per show with all of the foot stomping, hip gyration, and head shaking that the mandolin player puts into his performance.
The band balanced three different sounds throughout the night, sprinkling in bluegrass instrumentals like “Scotch & Chocolate“, powerful folk songs in “Destination” and “21st of May“, and some of their more pop-centric songs like “This Side” or their cover of Mother Mother’s “Hayloft”.
As the night goes on you can see how in tune each member is with each other. Eye contact and co-ordination is apparent as the three float around the stage to keep in line with every verse, chorus, and solo. At one point in the night Chris and Sean stood next to each other as they admired a swift violin solo from Sara.
The Hoosier audience showed their appreciation for every song that the band provided. Loud applause followed every tune in the 23 song setlist. Sometimes the crowd couldn’t even wait for the end of the song as they took a slow point in the performance of “Scotch & Chocolate” to shower the trio in whistles and cheers.
The night ended with a standing ovation after a performance of “Holding Pattern” a slower and more emotional tune end the night. Those who missed this show should consider making the drive to Fort Wayne on February 16th, where the band will perform at the Clyde Theatre.
The story of Nickel Creek is a unique one in that it seems every time the band goes away they come back more powerful than before. Their 2014 reunion saw the band reach number 1 on the Billboard Folk/Americana chart for the first time with “A Dotted Line.” Since returning again in 2023 the band has sold out bigger and bigger venues across the country. The band keeps free from their own personal “Holding Pattern” as their popularity continues to grow. Just make sure to appreciate them while they are here as one can never be sure if it will be another month or another decade before the group chooses to wow you once again.
The post Who’s Playing Indy? – Nickel Creek at the Old National Centre appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM.
Who’s Playing Indy? – Nickel Creek at the Old National Centre was originally published on wibc.com
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