Tripping on Cheese down memory lane
“This is a valuable community that’s growing here,” said Carolyn Garcia, “Mountain Girl,” during an interview before a show, “and I think what String Cheese communicates is an open heart. They really do. And, plus, a fabulous boogie groove.”
The film follows the band during its Winter Carnival tour as they visit familiar ski resort-towns and the small venues of their past. And Warren Miller’s patented mountainscapes and gorgeous slow-motion footage of the band members skiing, telemarking and riding captures the joy and freedom the band exudes through its music.
“Musicians are not happy when they’re stuck playing the same set every night,” says band member Kyle Hollingsworth.
As a jamband, String Cheese leaves a lot of room for experimentation, and, as a result, no two shows are ever alike. Their music draws on countless influences and diverse genres including funk, folk and bluegrass.
“We try and make one night of music feel like an entire weekend festival,” says guitarist Billy Nershi.
Before the tour starts, Miller takes us backstage during the band’s rehearsal sessions for a rare look at how the band prepares for a show fraught with improvisational harmonies. We learn that String Cheese’s songwriting is a democratic process; that there is no prevalent leader of the band.
“When we’re all five together, and the magic starts happening, it’s something bigger than all of us,” says percussionist Michael Travis.
Much of the film is spent on String Cheese’s old touring bus, “Bussy,” which they brought out of retirement, inspired by the nostalgic properties of the Winter Carnival tour. The resurrection of their old wheels opens the floodgates for lighthearted stories and goofy behavior, which ensues throughout the film. In fact, during the entire 55 minutes of the documentary there isn’t a moment of conflict – aside from the occasional wipeout.
However, folks who are not familiar with The String Cheese Incident, who see them only as trust-fund leeches with hula-hoops or as neo-hippies bent on distracting America from ambition, will probably not get much out of this movie, unless they wish to learn about the band and the roots of their phenomenon. This film targets true fans who are already familiar with the band members, and it will undoubtedly strengthen The String Cheese Incident’s following.
“Waiting for the Snow to Fall” is available on DVD at local stores. It retails for $24.99.
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