That Crowded Bar Room Made a Lot of Noise; JBO Reviews the Recent SCI Shows at the Historic Georgia Theatre in Athens | JamBandsOnline.com

That Crowded Bar Room Made a Lot of Noise; JBO Reviews the Recent SCI Shows at the Historic Georgia Theatre in Athens

Review by Jamie KastrichesDSC_0613_new

Photos by Lori Sky Twohy

5/02/2014 Georgia Theatre

Night 1

If you were one of the lucky ones that scored tickets to see SCI, at the tiny Georgia Theatre, for their two night run last month, you’d likely agree that those were simply the most fiery, intimate, intense incidents ever seen.

DSC_0535_newFingers were held high everywhere you looked throughout downtown Athens, because extras were very scarce. In my opinion, this was the hardest ticket to obtain to see Cheese. Fans from all over drove to Georgia with nothing but high hopes to get in. Some scored big and got in, but most weren’t so lucky.

As I entered The Georgia Theatre, my mind was instantly blown. Seeing all their instruments packed onto this little stage, inside this little theatre, gave meDSC_0197_new goosebumps.

Smiling fans mingled, enjoyed their last drinks and breaths of fresh air from the rooftop bar before heading to the floor for a good spot (not that there was a bad one in the house).

Once the lights dimmed and the barefoot boys took the stage, I realized how loud this place already was, and louder it was going to get.

DSC_0431_newThey kicked off Night 1 with the instrumental ‘Lonesome Fiddle Blues’, a perfect tune to get us dancing. They sounded so tight, well practiced and just raw.

They play so much differently at shows like these, rather than festivals, they just seem to jam and jam and jam! 

Song in my head was up next. This song seems to get better and better each time I see, or listen to it. The place really erupted as they sang the verse “It’s getting louder, It’s getting louder, IT’S GETTING LOUDER.”

As it came to a close, Billy began a noteworthy “Search,” with a few DSC_0570_newvery nice solos from Kang on the fiddle. The energy was tangible in the room. Everywhere I looked I saw nothing but big smiles.

They then payed tribute to a dear friend of the band Sarah Gewald, who passed away not long ago, by playing the beautiful “Struggling Angel.”  I feel this song was the calm before the storm.

DSC_0589_newMr. Kang then picked up his fiddle and proceeded to put us in a psychedelic trance with a mind blowing “Bumpin’ Reel.” Not a soul was still in the building as Kang’s solos began to climb and climb.

The boys closed out Set 1 with Kyle’s song “Close your eyes,” a fan favorite. The band seemed to be having a blast as they took turns soloing back and fourth.

Set 2 was a whole different animal that just kept building,

They opened with “Give me the Love.”

We were treated with a spot on “Rhythm of the Road.” Their musicianship really comes out strong in this song. I feel like song DSC_0306_newcaptures Cheese’s distinctive sound so well. 

“Barstool” was probably my favorite of the night. It’s not too heavily played and it was so fitting when Billy sang all of ours favorite verse “Sorry, I don’t mean to shout, but a crowded bar room makes a lot of NOISE!”

Kyle’s new tune “Colliding” was up next. It was the 3rd song played from their new album. Always a pleasure to see that one.

I thought they were going to save it for Night 2, but they busted out a delicious “Jellyfish.” Billy barely had to sing because the crowd was singing along so well.

DSC_0445_newThey really came swingin’ on this song as they transitioned into “Rollover > Life During Wartime (kick ass Talking Heads cover) > Drums > Rollover”…Totally mind blowing, definitely the best version of “Rollover” that I’ve ever heard and, of course, the Talking Heads cover was fun and energetic.

When walked off the stage and the crowd never dulled. We kept roaring until they came back out for a double encore!

They started out with a lengthy “Looking Glass” Kang then played that oh, so familiar riff that we all instantly recognized as “Jessica,” the classic instrumental by The Allman Brothers Band.

I’d say that was the loudest the place got all weekend. It sounded so much like the real thing, I could closeDSC_0538_new my eyes and forget that I was at a Cheese show. After burning that one down they said,”see y’all tomorrow night,” and left us grinning ear to ear.

As we exited the building, it was hard to fathom a second night of that caliber…But we knew it was coming!

DSC_0540_new5/03/2014

Night 2

I awoke the next day still Cheesin’ from what I had just witnessed, hours earlier.

I wanted to get a good rail spot up front, so I arrived downtown early and their seemed to be even more people than the previous day in desperate search for their golden tickets, but not much was to be found. I witnessed people offering double, even triple face value to get in. 

Night 2 was the incident of all incidents, in my opinion. The first set was more slow paced, but kept getting DSC_0461_newbetter and better, and that’s what I love about Cheese so much. They know exactly how to control the crowd. They know when to slow things down and when to speed things up.

Anytime they start the show with “Come as you are,” you know it’s going to be a dance party.

DSC_0371_new“Little Hands” made an appearance, another SCI staple. Toward the end, I thought Kang was going to saw his fiddle in half, or set it ablaze! 

He didn’t have to put the Fiddle down as they played “Mouna Bowa” next, a Kang dominant song. Such a happy tune that just makes you want to dance.

We had a guest appearance on the next song. John Driskell Hopkins DSC_0260_newfrom the Zac Brown Band joined the boys on stage and provided Vocals/Guitar on the Hank Williams classic, “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” which was a cool cover; fitting for being in the good ol’ south.

“One Step Closer” followed by “You’ve Got The World” was a good back to back combo, but I think they saved the 2 best songs for the end of set. 

DSC_0237_new“Joyful Sound” is such an inspirational song that’s easy to sing along to, it has so many layers to it. Nershi and Kang dueled on some great solos.

Kang then picked up his electric guitar and Kyle started them off with his song (and one of my favorites) “Piece of Mine.” Kyle really shines in this one that closed out the set, leaving us once again, speechless.

I stayed in my spot, while most went for refreshments. 

Set 2 started out with the monstrous, fast paced, “Desert Dawn.”  It DSC_0276_newlooked as though the boys had a drunk some kind of secret potion that made them jam with even more intensity, making it look easy and fun to play.

“Missin Me,” the Jazzy/Bluesy Hollingsworth song was killer.

“Pack it Up” was jammin! It seems to evolve a little bit with each tour. 

DSC_0576_new“Way Back Home” is another widely accepted favorite, they were firing on all cylinders as they blazed through the song.

A Led Zeppelin cover made it onto the set. We were graced with a rocking cheesy version of “Kashmir!” Cheese really takes covers to different level adding such twists and flavor.

They transitioned into “Big Mon” into “Black Clouds,” which was the icing on the cake. Kang had so many ridiculous solos in this, one after another.

They clearly were having a blast and didn’t want to leave the stage, but unfortunately all things must come DSC_0246_newto an end. They walked off the stage for a quick intermission, then came out for one more double encore!

They kicked it off with “I’m still here” followed by “On the Road,”  which got rowdy! Everyone knew that this was the last song of the night, so the energy was super high and the place was LOUD!

As it ended, they thanked us for an amazing weekend and that they’d see some of us the next day at the Beale Street Festival, in Memphis Tennessee. 

I exited the building with a giant cheesy grin, beyond satisfied and once again fully reassured that Cheese is the baddest band on the planet.

 If you weren’t able to make it inside, I suggest going to Live Cheese and purchasing the 2 shows, but listening will hardly do it justice. It was simply a “you had to be there” set of shows. The most epic 2 night run I’ve encountered. But, we all know that Cheese always finds a way to outdo themselves. 

DSC_0180_newNight 1:

SET 1
Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Song In My Head, Search, Boo Boo’s Pik-A-Nik, Struggling Angel, Beautiful, Bumpin’ Reel > Close Your Eyes
SET 2
Give Me the Love, Rhythm of the Road, I Wish, Barstool, Colliding, Jellyfish, Rollover > Life During Wartime > Drums > Rollover
ENCORE
Looking Glass, Jessica

Night 2:

SET 1
Come As You Are, Little Hands > Mouna Bowa, Your Cheatin’ Heart 1, One Step Closer, You’ve Got the World, Joyful Sound > Piece of Mine
SET 2
Desert Dawn, Missin’ Me, Hotel Window, Pack it up, Way Back Home > Kashmir > Big Mon > Black Clouds
ENCORE
I’m Still Here, On the Road
NOTES
1 with John Driskell Hopkins on guitar and vocals. 

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