About a week ago, I caught the band Split Single at the music venue SPACE in Evanston.
When it came time for a friend of mine and I to meet and catch up, he mentioned that Jason Narducy’s band, Split Single, would be playing that night, so we decided to check it out. My friend introduced me to Jason’s music, almost twenty years ago, as they both are local to Evanston, Illinois. I had become familiar with Jason’s work in the band Verbow, as well as his performances playing guitar with Bob Mould, which I caught at this year’s Riot Fest Chicago.
We arrived as the opening band, The Kickback, was playing and I enjoyed their indie rock sound, especially the creepy stalker-like song where the lead singer professed his admiration for Jason Narducy via numerous emails. I mean if Dave Grohl was inspired by Jason, why couldn’t Billy Yost – lead singer of The Kickback – be?
After The Kickback’s set, my friend and I maneuvered our way behind the audience who was sitting at tables to the left and waited for Split Single to start. We stood with pint glasses in hand as Jason and band began. Not being familiar with their songs, my friend helped with side commentary on which songs were his favorite from the band’s first release “Fragmented World”, and we both listened earnestly to songs from their new release “Metal Frames”, which this show happened to be a release party for.
The unique sound of Jason’s vocals along with his energetic guitar playing does not disappoint during a live set and especially in an intimate venue such as SPACE. As he reminded us that “we all have day jobs”, he engaged the audience with the fact that Billy Yost, who was on stage performing with Split Single, is also a substitute teacher at Lane Tech High School in Chicago, and that the other members playing with the band, each had their own bands. During the encore, each of them lead a song to showcase their talents as well. A highlight was Jason singing solo and leading the crowd in a sing along to a song he had written before the concert, titled Good Riddance ’16 (and additionally, fuck you), which he prefaced by mentioning musicians and celebrities who had passed away this year, as well as the recent election. You can watch this for yourself on Jason’s Instagram.
Alas, there were no Verbow songs to be played, but that didn’t seem to matter. Split Single had an inescapable presence when they performed, with their songs and lyrics bringing me to some moment (or moments) in my life, and for me, that’s when I know a band is worth the listen. They had the energy to keep the crowd moving and going through the entire set – and the way they were having fun performing on stage trascended to the listening crowd. I’m looking forward to watching another live show from them in the future.
From “Fragmented World”, my favorites include the title track as well as Waiting for the Sun, Last Goodbye, Love is You, Searches, and My Heart is Your Shadow.
From “Metal Frames”, check out Untry Love, Leave My Mind, Silences Mercy and Blank Ribbons which is reminiscent of U2 (yes…seriously…well, to me at least).