Inside The String Cheese Incident’s Smokin’ Hot Oakland Finale [Review/Gallery]

first_imgA series of String Cheese Incidents took place in the Fox Theater of Oakland, CA last Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, 2016.The second and third dates of the March Madness Tour down the Pacific Coast, the Colorado-based quintet made a memorable impression on everyone in attendance and set the tone early with a special dedication to start.Introducing the band to the stage was Jack “Diamond” Mento, long time friend of the band, crew and family. The focus of his message was in memory of former rail-rider Evan Kimble, who passed away earlier this year. “We’re in this together to keep love alive,” said Diamond. “Dance until the music’s over!”SCI continued the hard groove previous night without missing a beat. Kyle Hollingsworth took lead on the jam early and carried it through the 12 minute opener, “Colliding”. Guitarist Bill Nershi stepped up to the microphone and offered some thanks and praise to the audience:“We’ve been having fun seeing friends out here all weekend, thanks for joining us, and carry on, you’re doing great.”A fitting praise that led into the end of a 395 day drought of “Born On The Wrong Planet” from the 1996 debut album of the same name. About ten minutes in, and after guitarist Michael Kang finished shredding through breaking waves on the visualizer behind him, the band segued into a cover of the 1975 funk classic “Get Down Tonight” by K.C. and The Sunshine Band for the first time since October 29, 2005, almost eleven years ago.The sunshine was definitely flowing throughout the crowd as the music continued into another uncommon cover, The New Grass Revival’s 1987 tune, “Can’t Stop Now.” The SCI classic “Windy Mountain Range” featured a super low-lit stage jam that twisted and turned through measures like a fish in the water before Kang elevated the pace with a wild guitar peak that segued into another rarity.“These Waves,” a Kang tune that makes less than four appearances a year (if any) brought the crescendo out of the depths of the ocean and to a gentle island cabana jam. Hollingsworth took over the groove with wet, muddy key work that might have passed as an over-wahed slap bass with a talk box effect.They ended the first set with a 13 minute blistering run through of “Round The Wheel,” the title track of the 1998 album of the same name. Following along with the lyrics, the crowd was “watching the moon” pass through its phases on the circular visualizer floating center stage.They opened the second set 50 minutes later, but as the band kept up with Kang’s immediate firestorm of fretwork, throughout a 20 minute rendition of “It Is What It Is,” it was obviously worth the recuperation.“Stop Drop Roll,” the get down and dirty party favorite debut from Electric Forest 2015 got The Fox floors shaking before one of the earliest Cheese tracks, “Rhythm Of The Road” followed.The show-stopping violin bust out of “Rivertrance” featured a Kang effect that sounded like Spanish horns before settling into an incredibly Western cowboy gallop. The group’s signature song, “Jellyfish,” followed.Often a highlight of many set lists that it appears on, “Jellyfish” got incredibly dubby. Even the circular visualizer was featuring a time slip effect, where an image was tripling in numbers and in various colors. The middle section jammed out into a spoken word/vocal rap with a delay effect that mimicked the visualizer.As the music built up, Nershi was exploring all of his space on the stage, bouncing, lunging and even running in place throughout the final tracks while the lighting cues accentuated all of the in-between notes as well.After 15 minutes, the music segued into “Sirens” from the 2003 album Untying The Knot. Featuring an array of electronic noises and pumping rhythm from bassist Keith Moseley and the percussion duo of Jason Hann and Michael Travis on drums, the tune sounded like a psychedelic newsroom and a short guitar tease of The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” and a crowd clap along into the crowd favorite “Just One Story” to close the second set.Returning to the stage minutes later, they closed the show with the rarity “Barstool” and a cover of Jesse Stone’s, “Don’t Let Go,” which they have only played once per year since debuting it late in 2014.March Madness continues with two nights in San Diego, one in Los Angeles and culminates with a three night stand at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. The band returns to the stage in the summer beginning with their annual appearance in Rothbury, MI for Electric Forest.Words and images by Joshua Huver, and a full gallery can be seen below.Setlist: The String Cheese Incident at The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA – 3/12/16Set 1: Colliding, Born On The Wrong Planet> Get Down Tonight> Can’t Stop Now, Windy Mountain> These Waves, Round The WheelSet 2: It Is What It Is, Stop Drop Roll, Rhythm of The Road, Rivertrance, Jellyfish> Sirens> Just One StoryEncore: Barstool, Don’t Let Go Load remaining imageslast_img