The String Cheese Incident capped off the inaugural Waterloo Festival with a tribute to the Austin-based event’s home state of Texas on Sunday night. After treating the fest to a set that featured staples like “Let’s Go Outside”, “Restless Wing”, and “It Is What It Is”, the Colorado jam band closed out their three-night run with encore renditions of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Live Forever” and their own classic “Texas”. The Shaver tune—a debut for the band—was introduced by guitarist Bill Nershi, who told a story about the first meeting between Shaver and country legend Waylon Jennings before diving into the song.



[Video: PhatBeats 420]

Sunday’s show marked the String Cheese Incident’s third offering of the weekend, as the band headlined each night of the festival with a one-set show. Friday’s performance saw the six-piece bust out “Texas Town” for the first time since their 2013 stop in Austin, while the rest of the show included takes on favorites like “Dudley’s Kitchen,” “Close Your Eyes”, “Sirens”, “Desert Dawn” and “Black Clouds”. Things got even more interesting on Saturday night when the band invited The Motet’s Lyle Divinsky to join them for their new collaborative single “Get To You” before dropping their first-ever cover of Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” into the middle of “Rosie”.

“Short Skirt, Long Jacket”

[Video: PhatBeats 420]

“Joyful Sound” > “Rumble”

[Video: PhatBeats 420]

It’s fitting that Cheese served up “Black Clouds” early in the weekend because the threat of bad weather loomed large over the festival, with literal black clouds hanging in the sky on Friday and Saturday. So it was no surprise when the rain finally came on Sunday morning, turning the charming Carson Creek Ranch into a delightfully muddy mess that left no one unscathed on the fest’s final day.

Of course, the String Cheese Incident wasn’t the only act on the bill at Waterloo. The gathering featured a top-notch assortment of jam-oriented performers like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Oteil & Friends, Railroad Earth, Perpetual Groove, Leftover Salmon, Easy Star All-Stars, TAUK, and The Motet, among many others.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead was, rather unsurprisingly, one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. Led by former Furthur drummer Joe Russo, the five-piece got the crowd boogying with their signature brand of up-tempo Grateful Dead classics. Among them was soaring “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot! > “Throwing Stones” segment that was littered with “Reuben & “Cerise” teases. (The entire set was bookended by a “Not Fade Away” as well).

Attendees got an additional Grateful Dead fix on Friday evening from Oteil & Friends, though the set was lighter on Dead material than one would expect considering the lineup consisted of Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company,) Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company/Furthur), John Kadlecik (Furthur), Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), Jay Lane (RatDog), and vocalist Alfreda Gerald. Instead of focusing on the Dead canon, the group worked through covers of Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and The Band in addition to Jerry Garcia Band staples like “Cats Under The Stars” and a full “Reuben & Cerise”.

Waterloo also showcased a series of late-night acts on its small, creek-adjacent stage, which was set at the base of a small-scale amphitheater that had been carved into the hillside. TAUK put on an energetic display of instrumental rock following String Cheese Incident’s Friday night set, while The Motet kept things funky on Saturday night and BoomBox closed out Sunday with the festival’s deepest foray into the world of EDM. All in all, it was successful first run for Waterloo, which will hopefully return in 2019 to satiate the woefully underserved Texas jam band scene.

Setlist: String Cheese Incident | Waterloo Festival | Austin, TX | 9/7/18

Set: Dudley’s Kitchen > Close Your Eyes > Betray The Dark, Manga, Texas Town*, You’ve Got The World, Vertigo > Sirens > Desert Dawn

Encore: Nothing But Flowers, Black Clouds

* = LTP 7/4/13 @ The Backyard in Austin

Setlist: String Cheese Incident | Waterloo Festival | Austin, TX | 9/8/18

Set: Hi Ho No Show, Best Feeling > Song In My Head > Windy Mountain, Get To You^, The Big Reveal, Joyful Sound > Rumble, Rosie > Short Skirt Long Jacket* > Rosie

Encore: Shaking The Tree, Colorado Bluebird Sky

* = Cake cover
^ = w/ Lyle Divinsky

Setlist: String Cheese Incident | Waterloo Festival | Austin, TX | 9/9/18

Set: Sweet Spot, Let’s Go Outside > Restless Wind > Pygmy Pony, Illegal > It Is What It Is

Encore: Live Forever* > Texas

* = FTP – Billy Joe Shaver

Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Waterloo Festival | Austin, TX | 9/8/18

Set: Not Fade Away Jam / Intro @ -> Ruben & Cerise # -> Feel Like Stranger Help On The Way -> Slipknot! % -> Throwing Stones ^ > He’s Gone & -> Truckin’ -> The Other One Jam -> Truckin’ Reprise -> The Other One * -> Not Fade Away +

@ – With a Dark Star Tease (Band)
# – With a Feel Like Stranger Tease (TH)
$ – With a Ruben & Cerise Tease (TH)
% – With Ruben & Cerise Teases (TH, MB, Band) & an I Know You Rider Esque Jam
^ – With an Unknown Tease (TH), multiple Ruben & Cerise Teases (MB, TH, Band), a Slipknot! Tease (Band), and a Feel Like Stranger Tease (TH)
& – With a Black Throated Wind Tease (SM) and a Ruben & Cerise Tease (MB)
* – With an MB & TH Duo Jam
+ – Started at the exact point where the Not Fade Away Jam / Intro opener left off. With a GDTRFB Tease (TH)