Colorado’s String Cheese Incident made their two-night debut at the newly renovated Kings Theatre in Brooklyn this past weekend to showcase their electronic fused jams rooted in Americana sounds and instruments. After months of not playing the big apple, the return was rewarding to fans in bust out covers and phenomenal playing across the board.
The first night’s first set started strong with “Johnny Cash,” and the energy would carry through as lead guitarist and violinist Michael Kang took the vocal duties from rhythm guitarist Bill Nershi. A favorite amongst the full room of fans came with “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance,” a song that lives up to its name. The first half of the first night came to a close with the SCI classic “Born On The Wrong Planet,” which flowed into an energetic rendition of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime,” and ending the set strong with “Colliding.”
The second set ignited with keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth’s gritty and groovy original “You’ve Got The World.” The electronic influence on this once stripped down group shined through on “Hi Ho No Show” where drummers Jason Hann and Michael Travis showcased their talents alongside Hollingsworth’s synth playing. Bassist Keith Moseley would take his turn at vocals during the uplifting song he wrote known as “Joyful Sound,” Perhaps the most favorable cover came with the encore of the classic folk song “I Know You Rider” that many in the crowd were familiarized with by the Grateful Dead.
Night two continued the theme of uplifting pockets of exploration and danceable music. The synthesizer and techno beat laced Irish trance opener “Valley of the Jig” picked right back up from the previous night and showed that the band was eager to put on a great performance. Moseley took the lead on “Sweet Spot” midway through the set, holding down the microphone and bass at the same time. To close out the set, the Cheese men reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out an age old classic known as “Round The Wheel.”
Set number two was filled with brilliant covers and SCI originals to close out the run. Hot off their performance at Peach Fest where they performed an Allman Brothers Band set, Nershi and the boys were joined by Greg Allman’s guitarist Scott Sharrad while they ran through the instrumental “Hot Lanta” followed by Cheese’s “On The Road,” and finally the Allman’s “Southbound.” The set ended with “Way Back Home,” the bluegrass standard “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” and the Led Zeppelin staple “Kashmir,” pushing the envelope on all three. A three-piece encore emerged featuring Nershi leading his bandmates through “Honky Tonk Heroes” and “Hobo Song,” and sharing the mic during “Rosie,” which was highlighted by Kyle Hollingsworth’s finger work.
After both nights were in the bag, the fun had been had, the music had been played, and there were positive memories to be cherished because of the music and the festive atmosphere that Cheese shows are notorious for. The only downside to having the String Cheese circus in town is the reminder that it doesn’t come to the New York market often enough.