Going to a String Cheese Incident (SCI) show is like stepping into a different world. They’re the type of band that doesn’t inspire just a following, but an entire community.
Take the band to a venue like Red Rocks, where tailgaiting is all but encouraged, and you have the recipe for an entirely different concert experience. This is exactly what happened Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, and before the show, fans were drinking beer, playing games, blasting music and dancing all over Red Rocks’ scenic parking lots, dressed up like they were at a theme party and all eager to see SCI’s first Colorado show since last year.
The most popular costume was the jellyfish, a reference to the last song on SCI’s landmark 1997 CD, Born on the Wrong Planet. People got creative with their costumes— glowstick chains as tentacles, shower caps spray-painted silver as bodies — but it was by far not the only costume present. There was a runaway bride — half wedding dress, half sports bra — and, inexplicably, a woman dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element. It was a wild scene, with more hula hoops than a Walmart toy section.
There was also the usual smattering of people too drugged out to enter the show. (“Got any sugar?” asked a tie-dye-garbed man propping up a glassy-eyed, dazed friend. “He’s having a bad K [ketamine] trip.”) Stand around in the parking lot for long enough, and you’ll have the opportunity to buy just about every party drug out there. Jam band concerts are the entrepreneurial drug dealer’s dream — anyone with enough gumption and elbow grease (and drugs) will find themselves in a buyer’s market.
The band brought its most impressive chops to the stage and was a blast to watch. Bill Nershi and Michael Kang traded impressive licks on acoustic guitar and mandolin, respectively, with keys whiz Kyle Hollingsworth adding his own impressive runs to the mix. The two drummers weaved a tapestry of background rhythm that kept the crowd stomping and twirling all night. One of them added an impressive talking drum solo.
All in all, the concert was great, with classics like “Jellyfish,” “Johnny Cash,” “Black Clouds” and others standing out. Here’s hoping String Cheese plays another show soon in Colorado. They’re just too electric and exciting on stage to miss.