The String Cheese Incident hosted one hell of a Halloween party over the weekend with the tenth-anniversary Suwannee Hulaween. There was no shortage of musical tricks and treats at the music festival in Live Oak, FL, including a healthy helping of six sets from the host band. Culminating Saturday night’s stretch of three interspersed sets, The String Cheese Incident executed its coveted “Shebang” set which encouraged the sold-out crowd to howl at the full moon overhead with a bevy of relevant covers.

As the packed crowd filed into the natural bowl in front of The Meadow stage, fitting selections like “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas played through the PA. The palpable excitement came to a head as the men of The String Cheese Incident—now dressed as wolfmen—took the stage, with frontman Bill Nershi leading one of his triumphant group hoots as the werewolves and tens of thousands of fans turned their attention skyward.

There was only one way to start this “Full Moon Family Affair” themed set, and that was with Warren Zevon‘s “Werewolves of London”. Bringing the cover to domestic shores, Nershi altered the lyrics to “Werewolves of Hula” as if the cover wasn’t already relevant enough. The following version of Sly And The Family Stone‘s “Family Affair” jived with the moon theme as well; however, it was a harbinger of things to come as the lineup continued to expand throughout the cover-fueled set.

The String Cheese Incident – “Werewolves Of London” (Warren Zevon) – 10/28/23 – Partial

Vocalist/trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick was one of the first to join the fray on Pharell Williams‘ “Happy”, furthering her case for MVP of the festival thanks to her many sit-ins throughout the weekend and sets with Trey Anastasio Band, The Nth Power, and her own namesake group. Cheese led the growing lineup through other favorites like “Dancing in the Moonlight”, Talking Heads‘ “Moon Rocks”, a highlight pairing of Little Feat‘s “Spanish Moon”, Allman Brothers Band‘s “Revival”, and much more.

The String Cheese Incident – “Dancing In The Moonlight” (King Harvest) – 10/28/23 – Partial

[Video: steve pearl]

The String Cheese Incident – “Spanish Moon” (Little Feat) – 10/28/23 – Partial

Helping fill out the growing sound were Hartswick’s TAB bandmate Natalie Cressman on trumpet, Jonathon Mones on saxophone, and backing vocalists Cleveland P Jones and Rhonda Thomas. Cape-clad percussionist Jason Hann even got his turn in the spotlight as he sprinted around the stage in an impassioned invocation of Van Morrison on “Moondance”. The special guests dressed their spookiest for the occasion, while SCI’s theatrical team involved the crowd with billowing clouds of smoke, giant marionettes of cats and haunting creatures, and human-sized inflatable balls that bounced among the dozens of glowing totems.

Related: Meet Nova Han, The Secret Weapon For String Cheese’s Wildest “Incidents” [Interview]

While the set was certainly heavy on classic rock tributes, Cheese made sure to keep the set a lively dance party—fitting given the Shebang’s position ahead of Pretty Lights‘ headlining performance on the same stage. The group of middle-aged men showed their pop-cultural literacy by peppering in songs from Mary J. Blige (“Family Affair”) and the incendiary conclusion that sandwiched Justin Timberlake‘s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” between Dua Lipa‘s “Levitating” to close the books on another Shebang.

The String Cheese Incident – “Levitating” (Dua Lipa) > “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (Justin Timberlake) – 10/28/23

Check out some photos below from The String Cheese Incident Shebang, and dive into Live For Live Music‘s complete Hulaween coverage here.


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Setlist: The String Cheese Incident | Suwannee Hulaween | Live Oak, FL | 10/28/23

S1: Let’s Go Outside, Lend Me A Hand, Miss Brown’s Teahouse, Suntan, Black Clouds, BollyMunster, Best Feeling > Birdland

S2: Can’t Wait Another Day, Just One Story, Restless Wind, All We Got, The Big Reveal, Sirens > Hi Ho No Show

S3: Werewolves of Hula (Warren Zevon), Family Affair (Sly And The Family Stone), Happy (Pharrell Williams, Jen on lead vocals), Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest), Moon Rocks (Talking Heads), Spanish Moon (Little Feat) > Revival (Allman Brothers Band), Yellow Moon (Neville Brothers), Family Affair (Mary J Blige), Walking On The Moon (The Police), Moondance (Van Morrison, Jason on lead vocals), Levitating (Dua Lipa) > Can’t Stop The Feeling (Justin Timberlake) > Levitating

Cleveland P Jones and Rhonda Thomas on vocals
Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet
Natalie Cressman on trombone
Jonathan Mones on sax