The Halloween carnival-frenzy that Madison is so well known for will be amplified this year when the String Cheese Incident circus comes to town Sunday. With a fall tour that winds its way through the Midwest, the Cheese will hit up Chicago’s UIC Pavilion for two nights before stopping in Madison. Having toured relentlessly all year long, the band is sure to roll into town with plenty of momentum.

Halloween is an infamously special event in the jam band community, second only to New Year’s Eve. Instituted as a time for “musical costumes” by the notorious Phish, many bands take it upon themselves to undertake a host of cover songs. SCI’s previous Halloween antics ventured into a Spiderman themed 2000 show, a “Subway Tour” of New York City in 2001, an “All Star Dead Rock Star Band” show in 2002 and a “Freaker’s Ball” show in 2003. With covers ranging from the Beastie Boys to Frank Sinatra, to Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, the band certainly provides for a rousing escapade.

Untying the Not, String Cheese Incident’s most recent studio album, was released in January of this year and showcases the band’s maturity and their ability to keep fresh. The album features more rock-driven songs than their previous studio efforts, with songs such as “Wake Up” and “Tinder Box.” “Lonesome Road Blues” brings home that classic acoustic sound that Cheese stems from, while “Sirens” and “Looking Glass” present a provocative element. It is “Valley of the Jig,” however, that brings the heat to the disc and demonstrates the bands recently increasing penchant for delving into the electronica realm.

This year’s Halloween theme is titled the “2004 WePubliCan National Convention”, which aims to creatively address the political issues that have been so stressful as of late, as well as to celebrate the festivity that is Halloween. More information can be found at the band’s website,

String Cheese’s last visit to Madison was five years ago, a two-night run at the Barrymore Theater in 1999. Their most recent trip to Wisconsin was in Milwaukee this past August, and if that show was any indication of what’s to come this Sunday night, then we’re in for a treat.