The String Cheese Incident is in the midst of hosting the first weekend of their beloved, fan-favorite music festival, Electric Forest, currently, which takes place each year in Rothbury, Michigan. The festival—though increasingly more electronic than the band that founded it—is one of the most popular music festivals in the country, in part due to its sprawling lineup of major players from the live music scene.
On Friday night, String Cheese Incident performed a headlining show at Electric Forest and held nothing back in making sure it was a night to remember. For the first set on the night, the band offered up a number of fan-favorites, opening with two songs off 2001’s Outside Inside: title track “Outside and Inside”, which was followed up by the second song on the album, “Joyful Sound”. After an extended transition into “Rumble”, the band offered up “You’ve Got The World” before debuting a brand-new song, “Manga”.
As percussionist Jason Hann explained on Facebook,
“Manga” [is] the last name of incredible Cameroonian musician Andre Manga. He played bass on Paul Simon’s “Rhythm of the Saints” record. I was in his band when I first got to Los Angeles around 1998. I learned so much during that time. He’s also an awesome producer and he had me record on a bunch of projects of famous African musicians like Soukous Stars, Andre Marie Tala, and Prince Eyongo. It’s pronounced “Mahn-gah”… I played [“Manga”] when I put together the band Rhythmatronix, which Andre played in. I was so stoked he wanted to play in this group I put together. I wrote that to say “thanks.”
On other note. In Cameroon, the popular music there is called “Bikutsi” and “Makossa”. “Manga” starts with a type of groove that I could picture Andre making up that doesn’t have a name, and then it goes into a style of music called “Soukous” – which is the popular music from the Congo. I was in a 9 piece Soukous band called Bitoto (rhymes with EOTO by coincidence) when I lived in San Diego in 1990—fronted by 2 singers from Congo, 1 singer from Kenya, and 1 singer from Rwanda. We all learned to write that style of music together, and that was a huge piece of my musical education.
Hann also added that he would love for Andre Manga to sit in with String Cheese Incident at some point in the future, though Manga still resides in Cameroon most of the time.
From there, the group laid out renditions of originals “Believe”, “Song In My Head”, and “Rollover”, plus a take on REM‘s “Superman”. While the first set of the day saw more traditional String Cheese fare for fans, the explosive nighttime performance featured an all-star cast of collaborators who sat in throughout set two and performed a range of unexpected covers.
A crowd-pleasing rendition of original “Miss Brown’s Teahouse” opened the set, which sandwiched a take on Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” featuring the famed DJ and saxophonist GRiZ. An Everyone Orchestra jam came next, led by the technicolor conductor himself, Matt Butler, before the Shook Twins came out for a cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” led in by “Sirens”.
String Cheese Incident with GRiZ > Everyone Orchestra Jam
String Cheese Incident with Shook Twins – “Sweet Dreams”
For Bob Marley’s “Exodus”, the band welcomed Xavier Rudd and Kevin Donohue of SunSquabi. “Valley of the Jig” moved into a take on Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night”, which featured Cory Henry and Natalie Cressman. To close out the show, after “Rosie”, String Cheese Incident ended their second set of the day with The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” featuring The Glitch Mob and Matt Quinn of Mt. Joy.
String Cheese Incident with The Glitch Mob & Matt Quinn – “Seven Nation Army”
Setlist: String Cheese Incident | Electric Forest | Rothbury, MI | 6/22/2018
Set One: Outside and Inside, Joyful Sound > Rumble, You’ve Got The World, Manga%, Believe, Song In My Head > Rollover > Superman* > Rollover
Set Two: Miss Browns Teahouse$ > Chameleon$ > Miss Browns Teahouse$, Everyone Orchestra Jam~, Sirens# > Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)#, Exodus@, Valley of the Jig > Workin’ Day and Night^, Rosie, Seven Nation Army&
% = SCI original, debut
* = REM cover
~ = w/ Matt Butler
$ = Herbie Hancock, w/ GRiZ
# = Eurythmics w/ Shook Twins
@ = Bob Marley w/ Xavier Rudd, Kevin Donohue (SunSquabi)
^ = Michael Jackson w/ Cory Henry & Natalie Cressman
& = White Stripes w/ The Glitch Mob & Matt Quinn (Mt. Joy)