The String Cheese Incident finished their fall tour with a spectacle of genre-bending jams at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville, Florida. A sold out crowd of approximately 1,700 fans packed into the elegant theatre on the University of Florida campus and experienced Colorado’s finest on a cool Memorial Day evening.
SCI, featuring Michael Kang (mandolin and violin), Kyle Hollingsworth (keyboards), Bill Nershi (acoustic guitar), Keith Mosely (bass) and Michael Travis (drums and percussion), came to the sunshine state for the first time in almost a year to deliver their brand of original music that carries no stylistic limitations.
The first set opened with the Kang original, “Cedar,” that featured an explosive introduction and catchy chorus before heading into an extended jam that lead into the new Hollingsworth rocky-bluegrass tune “Down the Line.”
The set continued with another new Hollingsworth selection called “Bam” that kicked the crowd into a frenzy with a deep spacey funk instrumental with a pop tinge that has recently found a regular place in the band’s repertoire. Other highlights included Peter Rowan’s “Walls of Time” and Bob Marley’s “Bend Down Low,” which featured an extensive smooth reggae jam that eventually segued into the SCI bluegrass classic “Black Clouds” that would close the first set.
After a brief 15-minute intermission the band took the stage and jumped into the violin-based instrumental “Sand Dollar.” This Nershi original has a jazzy classical edge that showcases the proficiency and melodic appeal of Kang’s violin licks. The song abruptly segues into a gritty southern rock ‘n’ roll interlude that features some piercing slide guitar from Nershi.
The Latin-based “Come As You Are” featured classic salsa piano work from Hollingsworth and hard percussive drumming from Travis overlapped with shrieking licks from Kang’s electric mandolin. The melodic ballad “Little Hands” followed with a light percussive rhythm from Travis and a sweet acoustic guitar solo from Nershi before building into an extensive jam that segued into the SCI classic “Texas.” This anthem about an incident with the police on the way to New Orleans featured a three-verse wild narrative from Nershi that lead into a reggae interlude before concluding with an electric explosion from Kang to end the show.
For the encore SCI fittingly gave Florida some the of the South’s finest rock ’n’ roll with a faultless version of the Allman Brother's “Jessica.”
JamBase | Down South
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