There’s really only one word that can properly describe the latest release from Colorado new age hippies The String Cheese Incident, and it rarely escapes the lips of anyone who isn’t stoned. “Chill.” This three-disc live recording is as close to what the Cheese experience is all about as you can get without traveling to a patchouli-scented show. The Incident has had problems with lame lyrics and inadequacy in the vocal department, but this recording shows the group playing off each other’s masterful instrumental chops, making this the String Cheese album to own.
Though commonly lumped into the “jam band” category, String Cheese has a sound all its own. The most impressive sonic distinction is that their lead guitarist, Michael Kang doesn’t play a guitar. Instead, he plays an electric mandolin that follows the funky bluegrass-type jams just as easily as it leads, picking precisely with the speed of a whirling mountain blizzard. On percussion is Michael Travis, whose sound is both intricate and immense. The track “Drum Jam” features Travis leading a five-minute freakout while he throws all the force of his talent into roughly thirty different percussion instruments.
SCI is far more than merely a jam band. They are a band that jams to the beat of their own drummer. A solid funk sound that sweetly assimilates bluegrass, African drumming, and touches of Led Zeppelin, so that the Incident gets you on your feet. That is, if you’re not too stoned.
[Cory Anthony got it bad ’cause he’s brown]