Editor’s Note: This is a recap of the first day of Suwannee Hulaween. We couldn’t get sufficient internet to upload photos so we are a tad behind on coverage. Thanks for the patience!
The Suwannee Hulaween kicked off yesterday with three sets of String Cheese Incident. Two regular sets and a spectacular Halloween celebratory set highlighted Thursday here at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Cheese wasted no time and kicked off their triple set night with “Desert Dawn.” The recently dubbed “Desert Dubstep” has been the discussion of some controversy, but this version saw a toned down version of the bass wobbles the band has been using over the past couple years. “Rhythm of the Road” was up next and jammed wonderfully in to “Let’s Go Outside,” a tune that was teased long before it truly began. The electronic-heavy set hosted solid jams lead mostly by keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth and then guitarist Michael Kang. Hollingsworth teased the Halloween (movie) theme song multiple times toward the end of set 1, setting the tone for what’s to come. They broke for a set break and Billy promised a very spooky Halloween celebration set following a short break.
Set 1: Desert Dawn, Rhythm of The Road > Let’s Go Outside, Doin’ My Time, Betray The Dark, Valley Of The Jig > Texas
At this point, the band must have each went straight to a make-up artist because when they emerged for the Hulaween spectacular, they were all voodoo-ed out from head to toe! The haunting bells of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” ushered in the band before busting out in to the 1980 heavy rock anthem. While they were jamming in to “Spirits in the Material World,” the band teased Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” for about a solid minute, gettin’ in and out of the jam with ease, but not before everyone in the audience caught it. Their voodoo and monster theme continued as they did a rendition of “Monster” by Kanye West, an epic “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix straight in to Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” my personal favorite from the Cajun-flavored covers set.
Set 2: Hells Bells, Voodoo, Zombie, Spirits in the Material World, Monster, Voodoo Child > Black Magic Woman
The third and final set was a few headdresses lighter than the second one, but the gang clearly needed a little weight lifted for the jamming they were about to bless our eardrums with. “Rosie” may be an opposite opener, but was made extremely fresh with the help of the four-piece Antibalas horn section. The house tempo with the jazzy improv was incredible. Keith sang strong on “Black Clouds” and “It Is What It Is” was played properly, but the final three songs of the set were just phenomenal. The “Spirit of Suwannee” jam was something I’d never heard, into a “Joyful Sound” into a hyper “On The Road.” The band came out for a three song encore including “Miss Brown’s Teahouse” and “Sledgehammer” with the live horn section, with the gospel-turned-bluegrass “I Saw The Light” sandwiched in between.
Set 3: Rosie1, Black Clouds > Big Mon > Black Clouds, It Is What It Is, Spirit of Suwannee Jam > Joyful Sound > On The Road
Encore: Miss Brown’s Teahouse1, I Saw The Light, Sledgehammer1
Notes: 1 with Antibalas horns
This was a great three set display of what String Cheese Incident is capable of. Funkified electronica meets Colorado jamgrass that completely transcends age. I saw a 60-or-so year old man totally digging the electronic jam in “Valley of the Jig,” and younger kids jamming to “Doin’ My Time.” That was a great sight to see. Suwannee Hulaween continues today with more String Cheese Incident, Big Gigantic, Conspirator, Moon Taxi and more.