Nickel Creek is back in action, after a nearly seven-year hiatus, and the reunion coincides with the band's 25th anniversary. The progressive bluegrass act, which features mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins and guitarist Sean Watkins, performs Monday at the beautiful Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

Nickel Creek was in excellent form during a sold-out show in May at Oakland's Fox Theater, delighting its fans with a superb set of nearly two dozen acoustic songs. The trio's sound was fleshed out by some expert bass work by virtuoso talent Mark Schatz, who also added some dance steps and a hambone routine to the mix.

One of the things that makes this reunion so special is that it was beginning to look like it might never happen. Seven years is a mighty long break, especially for an outfit that was formed by a bunch of preteens. (Sean, the band's oldest member, was just 12 when Nickel Creek started.) Plus, all of the players went on to experience success outside of the Creek — especially Thile, who collaborated with such instrumental titans as Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer.

The Southern California group, which first came to widespread fame with its platinum-selling eponymous effort in 2000, is offering more than just nostalgia on this trek. It's also pedaling a long-awaited new album, "A Dotted Line," which is Nickel Creek's first outing since 2005's ominously titled "Why Should the Fire Die?"


Advertisement

Show time is 7:30 p.m. The Secret Sisters are also on the bill. Tickets are $39.50-$69.50, www.mountainwinery.com.

***

Arcade Fire, one of the world's most popular modern-rock troupes, has been a regular presence in the Bay Area in recent months. The Canadian band performed an acoustic set at the Bridge School Benefit concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View in October. Then it quickly returned to headline one of radio station Live 105's Not So Silent Night gigs at Oracle Arena in Oakland in December. Now, Arcade Fire will support its most recent offering, "Reflektor," with a full-length headlining set on Wednesday at Shoreline. Show time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $30.50-$70.50, www.livenation.com.

***

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.


 Nickel Creek in an undated photograph.
Nickel Creek in an undated photograph. (Courtesy photo)