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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

Kudzu-eating pest

first_imgResearchers from the University of Georgia and Dow AgroSciences have identified a kudzu-eating pest in northeast Georgia that has never been found in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the bug also eats legume crops, especially soybeans.The bug has tentatively been identified as the bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria), a native to India and China. It is pea-sized and brownish in color with a wide posterior, said Dan Suiter, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.“It kind of waddles when it walks on a surface, but it flies really well,” he said.Related to the stink bugIt’s also commonly called lablab bug and globular stink bug. Like its distant cousin the stink bug, when threatened, it releases a chemical that stinks.Suiter and CAES diagnostician Lisa Ames first saw the pest when samples were sent to them in mid-October from UGA Cooperative Extension agents and pest control professionals in Barrow, Gwinnett and Jackson counties. Samples have since arrived from Clarke, Hall, Greene, Oconee and Walton counties. Homeowners first reported the pest after finding large groups of the bugs lighting on their homes. “At one home in Hoschton, Ga., we found the bugs all over the side of a lady’s house,” Suiter said. “There is a kudzu patch behind her home that provides food, and they were attracted to the light color of the siding. At this time of year, the insects are most active in the afternoon when it gets warm.”In addition to homes, the bug is attracted to light-colored vehicles. Identified and verifiedThe week the bug samples arrived at Suiter’s lab, Joe Eger was visiting. The Dow AgroSciences field biologist has 35 years of experience studying the bean plataspid insect and has named new genera and species and identified the insect for museums across the world.Eger’s identification was confirmed by David Rider at North Dakota State University and Tom Henry at the Smithsonian Institution.Suiter believes the bug arrived here by accident. “We do have the world’s busiest airport here, but we’ll never know how the bug first got here,” he said. “When it found kudzu here, it found a food source, and it doesn’t have any natural enemies here that we are aware of.” A non-native feeding on a non-nativeSuiter says the pest’s populations are, for now, contained to northeast Georgia. It’s an “invasive species feeding on an invasive species.” Introduced to the U.S. in 1876 from Japan, kudzu was planted in the 1930s to control soil erosion. It now tops the nation’s invasive species list. “We have no idea what the long-term impact on kudzu will be, but we also have to consider the fact that it feeds on crops, too,” he said. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. It eats kudzu, which is good, but it also stinks and gets on homes. And the ominous threat is that it eats soybeans and other legume crops.”“We will be working with the University of Georgia and USDA to find the best way of dealing with this insect,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin. “At this time, there is not enough information to determine its current range and what its potential as a pest may be.”Planning, scouting and reportingRepresentatives of each agency met this week to form an action plan. Information has been sent to Extension agents and pest control companies across the state. County agents are asked to look for the bug, scout kudzu patches and report any findings to Suiter. Homeowners who find the pest should call their local Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1. “We’re still trying to get a handle on what its distribution is in the state,” Suiter said. center_img How to control the pest in Georgia is a mystery that scientists will have to solve, Eger said. In India and China, manually removing them is the most common way.“Kudzu is its preferred host. So, it might be helpful by controlling kudzu,” Eger said. “It is a significant pest of soybeans and other types of beans in its native countries. My guess is that it has the potential to be an important pest of all types of beans.”last_img read more

Kicker Joe Houston is a man of character

first_img“Spittin’ Sports” runs every Thursday. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Kenny at [email protected] Even though the Trojans lost, I saw something impressive in the Coliseum Saturday.It wasn’t Washington quarterback Jake Locker.On-field struggles · Senior kicker Joe Houston has struggled on the field, going 2-for-6 this year, but he carries himself well off it. – Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan It was USC senior kicker Joe Houston.When USC fans think of Houston, they probably want to march onto the Trojans’ practice field, line up and attempt a field goal right in front of USC coach Lane Kiffin.The last time USC fans saw Houston, there was 2:34 left in the fourth quarter against Washington last weekend. With USC up 31-29, sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley had just missed a pass to senior tight end Jordan Cameron that would’ve given the Trojans a first down inside the Washington 20-yard line. So, on fourth-and-four, Kiffin sent Houston out to attempt a 40-yard field goal that would give USC a five-point lead, thus forcing Washington to score a touchdown to win.This is Houston’s first season as a full-time kicker for the Trojans. At the start of the year, Kiffin awarded Houston a scholarship for his dedication and hard work. For Houston, it was a dream come true knowing his hard work had paid off.But the senior hasn’t performed to his or his coach’s expectations. As he lined up for the 40-yard field goal, Houston was just 2-for-5 kicking the ball between the uprights during the year, but he did make his last kick, a 27-yarder earlier in the quarter to give the Trojans the 31-29 lead.The ball was snapped, and Houston made clean contact with it. He followed through and looked up at the most important kick of his life.His heart sank as it trailed off to the right and hit the upright.Washington got the ball back, converted a fourth-and-11 opportunity and ripped off a 26-yard run before kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired.As the Huskies danced and shouted on the Coliseum floor, the Trojans sprinted off into the locker room, including Houston, who still had his helmet on.Instead of making a quick exit while all the reporters were in the press conference room, Houston stuck around. About an hour after the game ended, just about all the players were on the bus when Houston came out of the locker room.He wasn’t wearing big headphones or walking up the tunnel with his head down. He could’ve sprinted past the reporters like Locker sprinted past USC’s secondary, and nobody would have blamed him. When a reporter asked if he could talk to him, he said, “hold on,” and continued up the ramp. Apparently, he wanted to be left alone and who could fault him for that?Except then, he put his bags down and stood there like a man knowing the gallows wait for him. He crossed his arms, straightened his back and put a brave look on his face.The reporters closed in, and for about three minutes, he stood there and answered all questions, almost coming to tears at one point. Here’s a guy who’s never been in the spotlight before and all of the sudden he’s saying he’s “responsible” for USC’s loss.I don’t agree with his assessment. The defense played awful, and Barkley missed two passes he should have completed that would’ve most likely won the game. What stood out to me was Houston’s character.To stand in front of a dozen reporters — just an hour after missing the biggest kick of his life — and to relive that moment takes more courage than the Wizard of Oz granted the Cowardly Lion. Some people might say that it’s the athlete’s responsibility to answer questions in the good times and the bad, and for the most part, I agree with that.But this is different. Houston is not an every-down star player used to media attention and who makes mistakes more often simply because he is on the field more. As a field goal kicker, Houston is almost expected to make every field goal, and many fans don’t even take notice unless those kicks start to miss. That’s a tough way to live.Imagine if you failed your first midterm or wrecked your parent’s car and then had reporters show up and grill you about it. I know I wouldn’t want a microphone thrust in my face.Still, Houston stood in there and shared his true feelings. He said he was hurt and felt terrible.Say what you want about Houston’s kicking abilities. He’s now 2-for-6 and his coach has lost faith in him, opening up his position. Kiffin is giving senior punter Jacob Harfman a chance at kicking field goals this week, and whoever does better will play Saturday.But don’t question his character. He’s about as mentally tough as they come. His teammates were behind him, chanting his name and encouraging him while he kicked against Harfman in practice Tuesday.Houston may or may not have lost the game Saturday — that is up for debate. But he won over the respect of at least one reporter.last_img read more

Irish soccer team to train this morning

first_imgThe Republic of Ireland squad will return to training this morning as they step-up their preparations for this week’s friendly internationals against Switzerland and Slovakia.Kevin Doyle is expected to take part in today’s work-out after the Colorado Rapids striker only returned to Dublin on Monday morning.last_img

Leipzig has not received offers or contacts by Timo Werner

first_imgAmong the possible destinations of Werner is Liverpool English, who would have intensified his claim to sign him. To the forward, on the other hand, he would be attracted to the possibility of playing in the Premier League and being under the command of his compatriot Jürgen Klopp.Krösche also announced that Leipzig wants to extend the contract with the German international Lukas Klostermann, which extends until 2021, preferably before the celebration of the next Eurocup.“That is our goal. This is not an ultimatum, the player has to decide for himself “, he warned, adding that there was a good exchange with the player’s representative and that they hoped to find an agreement. Leipzig sports director Markus Krösche confirmed that they have not received any offers or consult officially by his star player, the German striker Timo Werner.“Nothing at all, but It is normal for Timo to be in the spotlight of other clubs. The boy is playing a very, very good season and he scores very, very often, “Krösche said in statements published Wednesday by the newspaper ‘Bild’.Nevertheless, He admitted that in the club they are prepared in the event that someone contacted the 23-year-old intern, whose contract extends until 2023, although it includes the option of being able to sign for another club in the next market. Your termination clause, according to the information, It would be around 60 million euros.last_img read more