The String Cheese Incident on The Hill 4.28.14

Outside of The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Peter Coffan

The String Cheese Incident has a deep, and at times, profound connection with their fan base. In light of the fact that SCI would not be performing at Red Rocks this summer they choose instead to throw a ‘Free Incident’ on the Hill in Boulder. Harking back to the days of yore when things were a little simpler and the world of jam had not yet reached it’s full potential. Bands like SCI would set up on the corners or in the caf├ęs of Boulder before eventually evolving to the more elaborate productions we see from them today. This was a chance for Cheese and Cheese fans alike to experience that free show on campus or outside of the bar that we may never have had the opportunity to witness. Don Strasburg transported us back to that time with his introduction before the band filtered out at 5:45 PM.

Let me set the scene for you. The stage is positioned directly in the middle of the intersection at 13th and College with a wide-open perimeter. Nothing marked the entrance except for a few Road Closed signs in each direction. The concert area stretched the entire block of College giving ample room for eight to ten thousand of String Cheese’s closest freeloaders. There was a distinct lack of beer vendors because open consumption is not allowed on a public street in Boulder. This meant that the three bars in close proximity to the stage made a killing while others snuck sips from flasks or standard red Dixie cups. Boulder Police made the rounds, and occasionally wrote a ticket for drinking or smoking in public. However once the show began the crowd pushed in and it was an absolute free for all.

I witnessed countless bad decisions as fans eager to get a better glimpse climbed whatever signpost or marquee happened to be in the vicinity. A pair of Cheese heads actually broke part of the sign on the corner and fell, although I was not a witness to this. I did see kids in the alley scuttling up dumpsters and air conditioning units to get onto an unoccupied roof though. Despite a complete lack of room late arrivers continued to push toward the stage making movement around the tight perimeter of shops and restaurants treacherous. Other than that it was a completely normal street show. They opened with the title track to their first album in nine years and the reason for the celebration, Song In My Head.

String Cheese Incident Live on The Hill (Outside of the Fox Theater) on April 28, 2014.

Setlist: Song In My Head, Best Feeling> Colliding, Look At Where We Are, Outside Inside> Boogie On Reggae Woman, Betray The Dark> Drums, Rivertrance, Let’s Go Outside, So Far From Home> Colorado Bluebird Sky,

Encore: Bollymunster, Can’t Wait Another Day> Rosie

Nershi’s fingers tickled the strings as the band focused on their harmonies. Kang hopped up for a surprising “Best Feeling.” The set was a nice mix with SCI playing a total of six tracks off the new album as well as a nice spattering of classics. The irony is that since it’s been so long since their last album many of the songs chosen for the record fall into the category of classic Cheese already. Kyle Hollingsworth’s “Colliding” has really evolved into a full-fledged energy-drenched jam. They ventured into a trance vibe with Travis adding a snappy rhythm before returning to the refrain. Moseley provided the vocals brilliantly on “Look At Where We Are,” which seemed appropriate given the locale. “Outside Inside” into Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” was the early highlight of the two hour plus set. “Betray The Dark” was a dip in the energy, but the “Drums” featuring Jason Hann brought the crowd back to attention. The 11-minute plus “Rivertrace” saw some of the most experimental jamming of the night. After a sublime “Let’s Go Outside” the crowd clapped out the rhythm for Nershi on “I’m So Far From Home.” They closed the set with a huge “Colorado Bluebird Sky.” I continue to be impressed on how this once acoustic ditty has evolved into a nice vehicle for improvisation for Cheese.

“Tell you what I’m never going to forget this night.” – Bill Nershi

They gave us an incredible three song encore starting with a spacey but dark “Bollymunster.” Kyle came back to the microphone with the 1-2 punch on his ode the birth of his child, “Can’t Wait Another Day” and his electro-funk snap explosion, “Rosie.” They left the stage at 7:58 PM so as not to break any rules. This show was a commemoration of everything the String Cheese Incident has had to go through in order to continue performing live. Through years of uncertainty and ultimately their resurgence, Song In My Head marks a new page in this progression of SCI. I for one see a bright and Cheesy future for this humble band from Boulder.

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