Nickel Creek does not let anything rain on their parade. Neither do the adoring fans who braved the elements to watch the spectacular, albeit rather damp, Thursday at the Square performance last week. Siblings Sara and Sean Watkins, on violin and guitar respectively, teamed up with mandolin demon Chris Thile to create the Southern California-based phenomenon.
Blasting a mix of bluegrass, country, jazz and rock, even the band members are hard-pressed to categorize their sound. Sara describes them as a "high-energy chamber band," but even that does not truly capture what Nickel Creek does. Thile writes on the official Web site: "When I meet someone on a plane, someone who sees the instrument and wants to know what I do I always say, 'It's acoustic.'" Whether familiar with the band or new to their refreshing sound, the brave souls who weathered the great outdoors seemed to enjoy the show.
Although Sean joked about feeling "a little melancholy," the Nickel Creek did not let the weather dampen their spirits. They alternated between fast-paced, danceable tunes and slower ballads, giving spectators a taste of their versatile repertoire. Playful banter with the audience between many songs kept the audience engaged, including trying to make fans guess what came next and providing thoughtful commentary on the meaning behind the melodies. This was beneficial both for more casual listeners as well as dedicated fans, as it provided a strong background to their intricate, harmonious tunes. Despite the weather, the sparse crowd was wildly enthusiastic, offering up hoots and applause after every song and dancing through the mud to several of the more upbeat songs.
Last week's Thursday at the Square proved the old maxim that "the show must go on." And go on it did, through a light drizzle, heavy downpour, and everything in between. A lesser city might have canceled, but this is the place that knows no rain dates. After all, as Sean pointed out: "This is Buffalo . . . it'll take more than a little water to get us down."
Lizz Schumer will be a junior at St. Bonaventure University.