Seeing The String Cheese Incident live is always an experience to behold. In a sea of shows where they are always adding lasers on lasers, another LED screen or multiple pyrotechnics, the paired down minimal stage setup somehow always curates a vibe. When you see a group of people (a few even barefoot) who look like they are just enjoying the company of each other, the attendee always gets something magical. By keeping it simple they keep it true to themselves. It is just amazing musicians playing amazing music.
One of the factors I enjoy most about String Cheese is the way they allow each member’s individuality to shine. Through the years they have created a sound that is undeniably what you think of when Jam bands get brought up. However, when you see them live you can absolutely get the feel for each member’s personal addition to the group. From song to song, you are allowed to see each artist shine and show the world his or her ability. The level of musicality of the people involved allows them to take each other’s concepts and find a way to work them together like a beautiful tapestry.
The level of inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance of the crowd are quite unlike any other. You can just look at the differences between the members of the band and see the wide range they attract. For instance, you have Bill Nershi, the amazing guitarist, who is in his 50’s. He is the epitome of Bluegrass and Jam-band grooves. In the crowd, you will find those tie-dye clad couples that met at a show and most likely followed the Grateful Dead when they were younger. On the other side of things, you have Jason Hahn, who is their percussionist that has worked on a Dr. Dre album and has a popular electronic side project, EOTO. Side by side with the older hippies you will find the young crowd that was probably at a Bass or Techno show the night before. Somehow in this collection of people, everyone not only gets along but also wants to interact with each other.
While some of the songs are old favorites, others are new loves you just haven’t discovered yet. Even if you don’t know a single song by them, they somehow keep you dancing the entire night. I have never been disappointed or bored at a Cheese show. I never find myself saying “Oh, now is a good time for a bathroom break,” instead, I find myself pushing the limitations of my waiting skills.
You have to admire a group that formed in the early nineties and still finds a way to remain relevant, yet keeps completely true to themselves and the sound they created. They have changed a few members but mostly because individuals chose to grow outside the band. They also find time to work on and curate side projects. Often this exploration allows them to learn and they bring these teachings back to the group. In my opinion, the ability to work in some electronic vibes into a Jam or Bluegrass setting is what makes String Cheese a can’t miss.
*Featured Image of String Cheese Incident Via Insomniac*