The String Cheese Incident resumed their three-concert Thanksgiving weekend run at Denver’s Mission Ballroom on Friday. SCI welcomed fellow Colorado musician Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic, delivered cover debuts and dedicated the show to Madison House Entertainment’s Jesse Aratow.
Mandolinist/fiddler Michael Kang led the band through “Shine” to get the show underway before guitarist Bill Nershi addressed the audience and dedicated the show to Madison House’s Jesse Aratow who sadly died on October 29 from a sudden, unexpected illness. All of SCI wore “Keep The Dream Alive” shirts in honor of Aratow and Billy led the crowd in “Group Hoot” for Jesse as well. Aratow was SCI’s first road manager and represented the band for 23 years.
From the “Group Hoot,” Cheese continued with the vintage “Round The Wheel” followed by “Sweet Spot.” SCI then brought out Lalli for “Boo Boo’s Pik-a-Nik.” Dominic would stay on for a cover of Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance.” Next, Nershi led the group through his SCI classic “Black Clouds,” which flowed into “Dirk,” which in turn encompassed a cover of KC & The Sunshine Band’s “I’m Your Boogie Man.” SCI recently revived the song at Hulaween 2021 after playing it once in both 2015 and 2016. “Hi Ho No Show,” which Cheese recently gave the SCI Sound Lab treatment, closed out the first set.
Lalli then joined the band for the eclectic cover-filled second set which began with a relatively new original, “All We Got,” followed by “iBAM!” The collaborators then got into cover material with the SCI debut of Swedish electronic musician Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” penned by Aloe Blacc. Kang handled lead vocals while Lalli added sax. Cheese then busted out a cover of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti’s “Zombie” for the first time since June 23, 2017 with Dominic adding keys to the Mission version.
Next came just the second rendition of the Tupac/Dr. Dre hip hop classic “California Love,” which saw percussionist Jason Hann coming out from behind his rig and rapping. Lalli then led Cheese through Big Gigantic’s “Sky High,” marking the SCI debut of the song. The final cover of the second set came in the form of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” which segued into the electro and afrobeat influenced original “Rosie” to close out the set. The String Cheese Incident returned to the stage to encore with “Can’t Wait Another Day.” SCI wraps up their Mission run tonight. Head here for livestream info.
Watch fan-shot video of “Wake Me Up” and “Califonia Love” below:
Setlist (via Friends Of Cheese)
Set One: Shine, KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE Group Hoot > Round the Wheel, Sweet Spot, Boo Boo’s Pik-A-Nik, Freedom Jazz Dance, Black Clouds > Dirk > I’m Your Boogie Man > Dirk, Hi Ho No Show
Set Two (w/ Dominic Lalli): All We Got, iBAM!, Wake Me Up, Zombie, California Love, Sky High, Impressions > Rosie
Encore: Can’t Wait Another Day
- 1 with Dominic Lalli on sax
- 2 KC & Sunshine Band cover
- 3 Avicii cover
- 4 Fela Kuti cover
- 5 TuPac cover
- 6 Big Gigantic tune
- 7 John Coltrane