The String Cheese Incident at The Sylvee, Madison WI
In 1998, I was listening to Foo Fighters, Fastball, the Beastie Boys and Pearl Jam. The closest I came to the jamband scene in those days was Dave Matthews Band and a few leftover Dead CDs from college. Combine that with the lack of sleep, it wasn’t a great introduction to SCI.
Fast forward to today — I’ve experienced a lot of new and different music in the past 25 years, and I’ve gained a new appreciation for SCI’s ever-evolving mix of bluegrass, psychedelia and … well, just about every genre named or unnamed. It may well be their 25-plus years of melding and warping genres that now endears SCI to me.
Thursday’s show in Madison was the band’s 10th on the isthmus and its first at The Sylvee, which opened in 2018. Despite the fact that Madison hadn’t hosted the band since a two-night stint at The Orpheum in 2017, the show was not a sellout (likely because Bill Nershi and company played just 75 miles east on Interstate 94 at The Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee the night before). Those friends in attendance, however, were treated to a career-spanning night of older and more recent tunes.
Set 1 kicked off in the wayback machine with early songs “Johnny Cash” and “Close Your Eyes” before the popular cover of Old and In the Way’s “Midnight Moonlight.”
“Pirates” from 1997’s “A String Cheese Incident” was the only song that overlapped with my infamous SCI introduction show in Boulder. The band followed that with a medley of “Give Me The Love,” “Way Back Home” and “Outside and Inside” to end set 1.
The second set kept rolling where set 1 had left off with “Rollover” rolling right into “Shantytown.” The band then ventured into newer era songs with 2017’s “Get Tight” and 2022’s “World Gone Crazy,” before delving back into the archives with “Black Clouds” from their 1996 debut “Born on the Wrong Planet.” They closed set 2 with “Trip the Light Fantastic” blending back into a reprise of “Rollover” with the rollicking Irish-jig-funk of “BollyMunster.”
The Sylvee performance showed that with nearly two decades of constant touring this cheese continues to age well. The current lineup of Bill Nershi, Michael Kang, Michael Travis, Keith Moseley, Kyle Hollingsworth and Jason Hann have been jamming together since 2004. They somehow remain both tight and loose, with each member instinctively nourishing another’s groove.
SCI will continue to tour nationwide through the summer and into early fall. Find tour dates and more information here: https://www.stringcheeseincident.com
Close Your Eyes
Give Me The Love/Way Back Home/Outside And Inside
World Gone Crazy
Trip The Light Fantastic/Rollover