On 11/3/06, String Cheese Incident's website announced that guitarist Billy Nershi will be leaving the band in the summer of 2007 "to pursue other musical projects." There are no plans for SCI after next summer. The weekend before they played in Las Vegas for what are now some of their last shows. On Saturday, they played at Vegoose with Keller Williams as Keller Williams Incident and then had a late night a show of their own on Sunday night/Monday morning.
I was scheduled to review the SCI show, but after two long days of partying at the festival, my wife was wiped out. She wouldn't let me go alone, but I felt guilty about dragging her out of our room at Sam's Town and taking her across town to the Orleans Arena, where she would have been dead on her feet, and most likely fallen asleep in a seat. Since the show went until almost six in the morning, I question whether I could have made it through the evening without gorging myself on energy drinks and whatever amphetamines were being passed around the audience.
Luckily, SCI, like many bands, embrace The Grateful Dead model and allow tapers into their shows. One of the many glorious things about the Internet is that bootlegs are easier to find. A special thanks goes to Joe Billerbeck for making this review possible by posting such a quality recording online. The clarity is very good.
From what I've read the band came out dressed like monkeys and set the tone for a fun and playful evening by starting their set with "(Theme from) The Monkees." "Black Clouds" starts off as a jaunty, freewheeling bluegrass number with some nice picking on the guitar. The song slows down when the piano takes the lead, but ramps back for a breakdown as the guitar reasserts itself with the rest of the band closely following behind.
SCI reveals another facet to their sound with "Bam," a funky instrumental number with occasional shouts of the title. After some gentle bass work, the keyboards deliver some great lead work. There is no doubt that an audience dancing after one in the morning is likely to have some assistance through artificial means. "Piece Of Mine" acknowledges those revelers with lyrics, "now you're feeling low/ got the drug to help you go/ can't sleep, up all night/ just take half you'll feel all right." The guitar is rocking.