Incidental Contact - More String Cheese Please!

report filed 2/8/00, 6:51 am - Ah yeee! Or somethin' like that. Anyone who's had the privilege of catching the String Cheese Incident in concert knows the Rocky mountain grass battle cry. Always a little hootin' and hollerin' when SCI's on stage.

As a San Diego newbee, this was my first visit to the 4th and B. Nice club. The first thing that hit me was the size. Pretty darn big. Big stage, big dance floor and two big areas with seats. One at the rear of the dance floor, pitched on an incline for better visuals, and a balcony off to the left if you are facing the stage.

As I was wandering around the venue before the show, I saw a guy sporting a Relix 25th Anniversary T-shirt. We chatted for a while. Turns out his wife used to work for a company that distributed Relix, and of course, they are both fans of the mag. Dave and Sandy. Very cool couple.

Here's the weird part. As Dave and I are talking, one of his friends saunters up to our table and pulls up a chair. Turns out the guy is a writer. When I told him my name he couldn't believe it... and when he told me his, I knew why.

Mark Sherry and I had been played e-mail tag for awhile. Ever since the David Nelson Band show at Winstons in early December. Sherry wrote a review of that show for, and after reading it, I sent him an -e-. Thought I'd share a little positive energy. Let him know I read it. And liked it.

So anyway, after the initial e-xchange, we'd been doing this very half-assed, let's-get-together-for-a-brewsky routine. I mean, the guy literally lives two blocks from the Anytime/Anywhere studio... bottom line - after almost two months of talking about getting together, it just happened! Hoy hoy!

Dave and Mark during the break

String Cheese started a little late, but there was no opening band, so when they did hit the stage, the energy was fresh and focused. When someone onstage asked, "Are you ready for an incident, San Diego?," the packed house at the 4th and B roared. Ahhh YeeEEEE!!!

Powerful stuff, this string cheese. And oh-so-tasty! Jamming new and old material with a graceful ferocity that blends traditional Americana with melodic psychedelia, SCI had the crowd mesmerized, slipping from one seamless groove to another. That's how it went all night long...

SCI's new album, Carnival '99, is a good representation of their unique and hard-not-to-love music. Check out our review of Carnival '99 for more info on the SCI's music.

Nothing like a two set show from a killer band! A little fresh air break after an hour and half first set is a wonderful thing... also makes the second set, well, the second set!

Carlos Washington, local trumpet phenom who just left Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, was on hand for the show as SCI's 'Special Guest.' Washington only played a short solo during the first set, but came back a couple of times after the break for more extended jams.

Sporting red tinted glasses and dressed dapper as he bopped to the groove, Washington's horn painted jazzy brass textures over the cheese's already compelling string and percussion soundscapes. Art in sound if you will...

Just a great night of top notch music and kind hearted folks - can't wait to do it again....

Let's see, what else do we have going on? The Relix interviews continue... Had the pleasure of speaking with some heavyweights last week: Merl Saunders, Wavy Gravy and Paul Kantner. Each was kind enough to take some time to chat with me about Relix. They each had their own angle on the magazine, it's early years, how it affected their careers, and also how in their view, Relix continues to evolve as a legitimate voice for an ever growing community of music freaks.

We've also had a busy week at the mail box. Thanks to all the bands that have submitted CDs for review! Look for a batch of those reviews next time we do an update.

Also, don't forget about the two WMO Winter Tour 2000 contests that are currently in process.

Over the past few days, the scuttlebutt around the old Anytime/Anywhere coffee dripper has turned to Government Grown, a jam happy, reggae tinged quartet from Santa Cruz. Not only will we be posting a review of their CD, Live on the Coast, as well as a full feature -artist profile-, Government Grown is scheduled to play Winstons on Thursday. If all goes according to plan, we'll have some shots from that show too!

'Til then...