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The String Cheese Incident: A Triumphant Return to Montana

first_imgGolden hills rolled gently behind the stage. In the opposite direction, an expansive range of mountainous peaks sprawled in a breathtaking panorama. The legendary big sky of Montana extended into infinity – a phenomenon one must witness to realize how the state truly lives up to its title. In the center of all this splendor, an intimate audience glowed with jubilation, welcoming The String Cheese Incident back to Missoula for the first time in fourteen years. Throughout their two nights in a lush field behind the Big Sky Brewing Company, the band made it very clear how pleased they were in returning to Montana. Hailing from Crested Butte, Colorado, they always have conveyed a heightened sense of comfort when playing mountain towns. The relaxed atmosphere set the tone for a pair of shows revealing The String Cheese Incident at the apex of its powers. Timing often proves to be an overriding factor in life’s finest moments and such was the case for me in making a triumphant return to the realm of the Cheese. From 1997 – 2002, I was head-over-heels for this band and saw them as many times as possible. The passion began to fade and Cheese shows no longer ranked on my priority scale. Over the past two years, I’ve heard friends rant and rave about how well the band is playing. Occasional listening didn’t seem to back this up and my skepticism persisted. It took an alignment of the stars, circumstances and a bit of subtle nudging to magnetize me to Missoula.The majority of my doubt didn’t lie so much with the band’s musical prowess, but more so the selection of new material they’ve been focusing on. Perhaps receiving the subconscious memo that a retro focus was just what the doctor ordered, the band dropped jaws midway through the first set with a shocking bust out. On the shelf since 2007, “Bigger Isn’t Better” adopted a fresh identity as a piece of slow-burning, bluesy reggae psychedelia. The lyrics could not have been more apropos considering the sparsely-attended concert and the simplistic spirit of Montana. Patience is a virtue with this band as they never rushed any of the songs, allowing their potential to fully blossom.The old school momentum continued in the second set when the band used “Rhythm of the Road” as a springboard for dynamic exploration. This 18-minute version soared on the wings of a sinister melodic theme spearheaded by Michael Kang’s mandolin wizardry. Bill Nershi’s newfound (at least to me) propensity for playing electric hollow body or Telecaster is an exciting addition to the band’s arsenal. Both Kang and Nershi’s manipulation of tones creates layers of intrigue within any given song. The kinetic energy collided in the set-closing climax, “Roll Over.” This song’s glorious intro continues to offer one of the most euphoric moments across the jam band landscape.If the first night in Missoula was great, then the second has to be considered an instant classic. From start to finish, the show oozed with swagger, continuity and creativity. The band vocalized its exuberance in having spent the day on the nearby Clark Fork River. Their state of bliss was infectious, permeating every aspect of their performance. “Little Hands” galloped onto the scene like a beloved, old friend. The lyrics carried extra poignancy and weight delivered in these timeless surroundings.He’s been with them for awhile now, but Jason Hann is still the new guy. His addition was a stroke of genius, as Michael Travis is left to channel the full scope of his rhythmic mastery into pacing the Jaguar as it roars around the track. His ninja-like agility and field of vision guide him to put the pedal to the metal at just the right time. Hann is enraptured with his many toys (his expertise on the talking drum is worthy of universal renown), applying tribal nuances which do more than just complement the whole. He is an entity of his own, repeatedly standing out with both his playing and rainbow unicorn smile.String Cheese covers a vast range of styles, all of which they make their own. They were founded on bluegrass and still draw from that well. However, it’s the jazzy, tropical, Cheesy twist on this discipline which is even more compelling. Following a seamless, riveting transition from “Little Hands,” “Indian Creek” was a definitive example of how “on” the band is right now. The synchronicity of all their moving parts is remarkable. This spritely, instrumental journey encapsulated so much of what makes anyone love them. But it wasn’t just oldies paying dividends. New material like bassist Keith Moseley’s bouncy “Sweet Spot” and Kang’s “Believe” fit gracefully into the repertoire.Funk aficionados were gleefully satiated after a relentless ride through “Pack It Up.” The Herbie Hancock-esque instrumental saw Moseley bully his way through the mix, gurgling like a river rapid while an animated Hollingsworth explored his whole bag of tricks. Moseley continued his tear in the second set, belting out The Beatles deep cut, “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.” Coming out of left field and starting on a dime, the Abbey Road track ended up being the improvisational centerpiece of both nights.String Cheese jamming is defined by intricate, yet organic calculation. There is no meandering. They know each other so intuitively, they are the definition of symbiosis. Blazing new trails under the big sky, this transcended any casual assessment of spontaneous sonic creation. The magic continued with a march through the inevitable “Rivertrance” which, when presented in open air, is utterly massive, primal and spiritual. Combined with the sacred geometrical projections on the screen, this can be perceived as aural therapy. Speaking volumes to the band’s feelings about their fresh crop of compositions, they culminated the masterpiece of a set with Kang’s hauntingly seductive, rhythmically complex ode to his wife – “Beautiful.” He has achieved a maturity and precision in his vocal delivery which sounds better than ever.I don’t know if it’s always like this; it’s hard to imagine how that would be possible. But for these couple days in Montana, we bore witness to a band plugged in to a powerful source of inspiration. A band devoid of ego and totally in tune with each other. Six men who emanate a sense of reverence with their past and contentment with the present. A group which honors where it comes from and relishes where it’s going. Most importantly perhaps, over 20 years in to a roller coaster of a career, having as much fun as ever.last_img read more

Gavitt wins pentathlon for Lakers at ESM Invitational

first_imgOver five events, Gavitt picked up 2,135 points, just enough to hold off Cicero-North Syracuse’s Liliana Klemanski (2,075 points) for that top spot, posting the fastest 100 hurdles time of 17.56 seconds.Elsewhere at ESM, Claire Edwards was third in the discus with a throw of 92 feet 1 inch, her best of the season by nearly two feet. Maddy Gavitt got fourth place in the triple jump with 33’6 ¼” and was sixth in the 100 hurdles in 17.42 seconds as Paige Hunt tied for fourth in the pole vault, clearing 8’6”.The Lakers were fifth in the 4×800 relay in a season-best 10:56.87 and seventh in the 4×400, with Molly Hart fifth in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in 8:27.10. Against ITC, Cazenovia won 15 of 17 events including sweeps in seven of them and all three relays. Twenty-two different girls scored for the Lakers as members of the team achieved 54 season best performances during the meet.The key to the decisive win was Cazenovia’s ability to match ITC’s strengths, most notably in the sprints, where they are known to be among the best in Section III.Chloe Smith ran a season best of 12.8 seconds in the 100 meter dash to break up ITC’s powerful duo of Karizma Brathaire (12.7) and Fanny Kumeh (13.0). Savannah Johnson and Grace Dolan also ran season bests in the heat.Smith, Johnson and Dolan then teamed up with Hunt to win the 4×100 in their fastest time of the spring (53.4 seconds) Johnson returned to win the 200 in 28.3 seconds, a career best time, with Peyton Basic picking up third in 28.7.ITC tried to counter Cazenovia’s strength in the hurdles by using Brathwaire in both events, but the Lakers still outscored them 12 to 7. Melanie Michael ran a career best of 16.9 seconds to win the 100 hurdles, with Lili Gavitt second in 17.2 seconds. Michael returned to take second in the 400 hurdles in 1:16.5 with Caryn Gagnon third in 1:19.7.Cazenovia’s depth in the distance events was too much for IT as Hart, Isla Stover, and Eleanor Wester swept both the 1500 and 3000 meter runs with Stover achieving season bests in both first place finishes. Claire Braaten, Mary Williams and Mia Chesbrough finished 1-2-3 in the 800 with Kelly Frost joining them to win the 4×800 as well.The outcome was similar in the 400 with Peyton Basic, Grace Dolan and Ella Huftalen sweeping the 400 and Cavy Monahan joining in to capture the 4×400 relay.Cazenovia won all six field events to round out the decisive team victory with Maddy Gavitt scoring four times to lead the way. Gavitt won the triple jump with 34’6 ½”, with with Ava Gavitt and Tessa Hankenecht in support, and cleared 4’8” in the high jump, with Paige Hunt matching her height for second.Chloe Smith won the long jump with 15’6”, while Maddy Gavitt (15’4 ½”) and Lili Gavitt (14’1”) were close behind for the sweep. Hunt, Maddy Gavitt (8 feet) and Christina Brown (6 feet) swept the pole vault.Edwards paced the Lakers in the throws with victories in both the discus with 84’7” and the shot put with 27’10”. (Hunt earned second in the shot while Hanskenecht threw a personal best of 73’9” for third in the discus.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: Cazenoviagirls track and fieldcenter_img The Cazenovia girls track team moved one stop closer to another league title last Wednesday as it crushed visiting Syracuse Institute of Technology Central 121-20 to remain undefeated.The victory sets up a showdown between the 4-0 Cazenovia Lakers and their rivals from Skaneateles for the OHSL Liberty National championship this Wednesday at Buckley-Volo Field.Just two days after it beat ITC, the Lakers competed at the East Syracuse Minoa Invitational, achieving 23 new season-best performances and tied seventh in the 26-team field with 27 points, highlighted by Lili Gavitt’s first-place finish in the pentathlon.last_img read more

Clayton Kershaw set to pitch in Double-A then join Dodgers rotation

first_imgWith Kershaw recovered from the shoulder inflammation that put a hole in his spring training, Roberts looked for the bright side in having the left-hander’s season start a little late.“I don’t think he’ll feel that way. But as an organization, it’s not the worst thing,” Roberts said. “As long as he comes back healthy, which he is … if you look at the entire season, to shorten his season just a tick, it’s not the worst thing.”ALSOLeft-hander Rich Hill is expected to throw off a mound again Tuesday, adding to his pitch count. Hill threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday, testing his injured left knee on the slope of the pitcher’s mound for the first time since injuring it during spring training. He hopes to extend that to 35-40 pitches Tuesday.UP NEXTDodgers (RHP Ross Stripling, 0-0, 2.31 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Dakota Hudson, 0-1, 5.40 ERA), Tuesday, 4:45 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ST. LOUIS — Clayton Kershaw’s final step before rejoining the Dodgers rotation will be taken in Tulsa, Okla.Kershaw is scheduled to make his second minor-league rehab start for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers on Tuesday night. The choice between Tulsa or another start with Triple-A Oklahoma City came down to a more favorable weather forecast and better facilities at home with the Drillers than on the road with OKC (which plays in Omaha).If everything goes well Tuesday, Kershaw could make his season debut with the Dodgers either Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers or Monday against the Cincinnati Reds (both are home games).“That’s the plan. … Sunday or Monday,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ll see. We’ll leave it open.center_img “We’ll let him get through his start then we’ll plug him in where it makes the most sense.”Kershaw threw 61 pitches in 4-1/3 innings for OKC on Thursday. He is expected to extend that into a sixth inning and possibly as many as 90 pitches, including a simulated inning in the bullpen after he leaves the game.“With that, we expect when he does make his start with us for him to be a full go,” Roberts said.Kershaw’s insertion into the rotation means young left-hander Julio Urias will go to the bullpen after making his third start Friday against the Brewers.“That will strengthen our bullpen,” Roberts said.last_img read more