String Cheese Incident Tickets for Sale

The bluegrass-based jam band the String Cheese Incident comprised mandolinist/violinist Michael Kang, guitarist Bill Nershi, bassist Keith Moseley, pianist Kyle Hollingsworth and percussionist Michael Travis. Formed in Boulder, Colorado in 1993, the group's self-described "sacreligious mix of bluegrass, calypso, salsa, Afro-pop, funk, rock and jazz" quickly built up a following on the local club circuit, and within six months of their formation they earned an invitation to open the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

The String Cheese Incident, one of the forefront bands of the jam movement of the mid-to-late 90s, formed in Crested Butte, Colorado in 1993, originally playing local gigs at ski resorts in exchange for free lift tickets. The band is comprised of Michael Kang (acoustic and electric mandolin and fiddle; born 13 May 1971), Michael Travis (drums; born 20 April 1965), Bill Nershi (acoustic guitar, and more recently electric guitar on select songs; born 16 September 1961), Kyle Hollingsworth (piano, organ, Rhodes, and accordion; born 2 March 1968), and Keith Moseley (bass guitar; born 5 February 1965).

Their music is strongly influenced by bluegrass sounds, as well as forays into rock, funk, jazz, Latin, reggae, psychedelia, and even rap from time to time. The String Cheese Incident (often abbreviated to SCI) has often been described as a democratic ensemble rather than a band, since all of the members contribute their own original compositions to the group's burgeoning library and share the vocal burden on a number of cover versions as well as their own songs. If a de facto leader had to be named, such a title would probably fall upon Nershi, who is responsible for the bulk of the group's original song library.

After a few years of playing local ski resorts and private functions, the band agreed that it was time to get serious with regards to their music, and formed the independent record label SCI Fidelity, on which they released their first album, Born on the Wrong Planet. At this point in their careers, the band displayed the motivation to play strong, melody-driven music that allowed room for live expansion and improvisation, but the twelve tracks on the disc constituted an almost anarchic mix of genres that fit awkwardly together. Instrumentals and covers constituted half of the album, allowing much room to display musical virtuosity but very little in the way of lyrical chops. Many time-tested fan favorites that were spawned from this disc are still in the band's regular live rotation, including "Black Clouds", "Land's End", "Johnny Cash", "Texas", and "Jellyfish".

Less than a year later, SCI released a compilation of ten songs, including "Land's End", on their self-titled live album A String Cheese Incident, which chronicles a single concert from the Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado and adds pianist Hollingsworth to the ensemble (he was not in the band during the recording of BotWP). Despite spanning only one disc and containing only ten tracks, the album clocks in at 72 minutes even (thus, with an average track length of 7:12, displaying their propensity for extended jams), and is widely considered the best CD for new converts to listen to in order to become acquainted to the band's live sound.

Round the Wheel, released in 1998, refined the band's sound and displayed a marked increase in both musical and lyrical maturity, and added Paul McCandless as a guest player on soprano and tenor saxophone, but did not earn them quite the level of notoriety that they would achieve in the next millennium. They remained fairly quiet until 2001 when, with the help of guest producer and Los Lobos front man Steve Berlin, they released their third studio effort, Outside Inside. This album marked a shift from the band's traditional bluegrass leanings to a more standard rock sound, thus making it the most accessible album to a mainstream audience to that point. The band did not completely abandon its bluegrass roots, however, sneaking in the short 3-minute track "Up the Canyon" at the end of the disc, which has become one of many live favorites.
The band started promoting Outside Inside through extensive touring in late 2001 and early 2002. Then, during the summer of 2002, in a move of unprecedented scope and magnitude, the band released live 3-CD sets of all 19 shows that they played in April of 2002 on their spring tour. In this regard, they are believed to have taken a cue from Phish's Live Phish series and stepped up the formula a notch by releasing every show instead of just select concerts. Not stopping with the spring tour, SCI has released nearly every song from every concert from every tour through the present, barring those where technical difficulties or contractual guest artist complications are involved. Christening the series On the Road, the shows are released on the SCI Fidelity label for fans who do not have the time or means to engage in active tape trading.

Amazingly, the band has done nothing but profited from this risky venture thanks to its strong, loyal, and rapidly growing fan base. Originally, the discs were packaged in folding cardboard cases with black-and-white photographs of fuzzy, dubious quality. Beginning with the summer 2003 tour, the band made the switch to the industry-standard jewel case, which also allowed for color photos of higher quality. To cut production costs further, SCI Fidelity recently made the decision to stop producing shows on the CD medium altogether and is offering shows on the mid-winter and spring 2004 tours as downloads only in both MP3 and FLAC formats.

In October 2003, SCI released their fourth studio album, Untying the Not, to their greatest critical acclaim yet but to mixed reactions from fans who feel that this album is an even more significant falling out from their bluegrass tradition than was Outside Inside. UtN is indeed a strong deviation from their previous rock and bluegrass sounds and shows heavy influence from guest producer Youth, formerly of the band the Killing Joke. Untying the Not is much darker than the band's previous lighthearted studio releases, full of minor keys and introspection on topics such as death, which are most clearly evidenced in the tracks "Elijah" and "Mountain Girl." It also shows significant evidence of the band's recent habit of introducing techno and trance elements into the mix, such as on the track entitled "Valley of the Jig", which is a successful fusion of techno and bluegrass stylings.

SCI continues to play several hundred venues a year and unveil new songs on the road, with a recent spate of new original material debuting during their mid-winter 2004 tour and the beginning of their spring 2004 tour. They also recently received the honor of being the first jam band to be invited to tour with the Lollapalooza caravan by Jane's Addiction bandleader Perry Farrell, sharing high billing with other popular groups and artists such as Morrissey, Sonic Youth, and Modest Mouse.


Born on the Wrong Planet (1996)
A String Cheese Incident (1997)
Round the Wheel (1998)
Carnival '99 (2000)
Outside Inside (2001)
Untying the Not (2003)
On the Road live series (2002-present)

Pura Vida (2001, VHS)
Evolution (2001, VHS & DVD)
Bonnaroo Live (2002, DVD)
Waiting For the Snow to Fall (2003, DVD)
Live at the Fillmore Auditorium, Denver: March 23, 2002 (2003, 2-disc DVD)
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