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Split Squad

SXSW day three: Warm Soda, The Split Squad and The Specials

Steve Says

March 22, 2013

...I didn’t realize that Patagonia was a clothing store and not a club until I arrived and was given a free slice of pizza and a bottle of sparkling cider on my way in to see garage rock’s new supergroup: The Split Squad. Bassist Michael Giblin from Parallax Project handles most of the lead vocals, and his peers have even more impressive resumes. Drummer Clem Burke is from Blondie, guitarist Keith Streng is from The Fleshtones, guitarist Eddie Munoz is from The Plimsouls, keyboardist Josh Kantor plays at Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park and Scott McCaughey plays in too many bands to remember, but they include R.E.M., Young Fresh Fellows and The Baseball Project.

This was The Split Squad’s first show, but you wouldn’t have known it by the performance. The group’s debut album (which includes contributions from R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Gang of Four's Hugo Burnham and The Figgs' Mike Gent) will be out this spring and you won’t get anything unexpected, considering the members’ pedigrees, and that’s alright. If you’ve ever seen The Fleshtones, you’d know what a dervish Streng is — spinning around, doing jumping scissor kicks, immersing himself in the audience and climbing on amplifiers, all while playing crisp guitar lines. Original power pop, garage and glam rock songs formed the backbone of the set and had people dancing, but covers including The Small Faces’ sparkling “Sorry She’s Mine” and a rawking encore run through Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” shone a spotlight on both the musicians’ skills and music knowledge...

by Steve Mclean, Steve Says