String Cheese Invades UVM

On October 8, 2003, The String Cheese Incident came to UVM to spread their lighthearted grooves to a student body awaiting them with open arms. While surprisingly tickets were still available at the door, they managed to come very to close to reaching Patrick Gymnasium’s full capacity.

The Cheese took the stage at approximately 8:00 p.m, and played until roughly 11:30, with a set break in the middle. The band opened with a solid version of Mona Boa, which I thought would be a platform for greater and grander things to come. After Mona Boa, however, the show never got much better. String Cheese never climaxed. While Cheese provided an atmosphere that was certainly fun, the music lacked in depth. The sounds being produced on the stage of Patrick almost felt forced.

String Cheese’s biggest problem was that it did not stick to its bluegrass roots. Only one or two bluegrass tunes were played, while for the most part String Cheese was attempting to rock out. For most of the night I waited for Michael Kang, the mandolin player, to cut away, but that is not Kang’s or Cheese’s style in general. Instead the band provided light jams packed with lots of notes, and seemed constantly to show hints of Trey Anastasio.

For the most part, the night was filled with fun sing-alongs. Even the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” was worth a smile and a hip shake, although it in no way did the Led Zeppelin tune its real justice. Kang’s voice is too pretty to cover Robert Plant, and the band as a whole simply lacks the distorted, soulful Zeppelin sound.

Someone should tell String Cheese that there is no shame in being a great bluegrass band. All in all, there is not a doubt that String Cheese consists of very talented musicians. Just because the band decided to come to Vermont, however, it does not mean it has to sound like Phish.