Dante's Presents

SGT SPLENDOR (featuring Eric McFadden & Kate Vargas)

350 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR
Fri February 17, 2023
Doors: 8:00 pm / SHOW: 8:30 pm PST
Ages 21 and Up

Sgt. Splendor feat. Kate Vargas & Eric McFadden

Occasions for Self-Congratulations 


An intentionally bipolar affair, Occasions for Self-Congratulations teeters from carefully constructed escapism to head-on collisions with madness. 

Before joining forces, the duo behind Sgt. Splendor were already formidable solo artists, Kate Vargas chalking up acclaim at outlets like NPR, HuffPost and Vice (including praise from the “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau); and Eric McFadden amassing an impressive resume including stints on guitar with George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, and Eric Burdon & The Animals, plus a slew of solo albums, and session work with everyone from Jackson Browne to The Clash’s Joe Strummer. 

Sgt. Splendor made excellent use of its rolodex on Occasions, calling in the dream rhythm section of drummer Paulo Baldi (CAKE, The Claypool Lennon Delirium) and Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools. The sessions took place at Lucky Recording in Brisbane, Calif., with Mikel Ross and former Butch Vig protégé Travis Kasperbauer, who engineered and also co-produced with McFadden and Vargas. Sgt. Splendor’s intoxicating chemistry on the new album has its roots not just in enduring friendships, but also in the love and connection of its creative partners, Vargas and McFadden. After circling each other’s orbits for a time, they finally met at a songwriting retreat hosted by Pat McDonald (of Timbuk 3 / “Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades” fame) and have been together for three years now. 

Music has always been a point of connection for me & Kate. While our musical approaches differ, they’re also kindred and share a lot of common elements. Our Southwestern upbringing comes through—that sort of mysterioso desert thing—but also a carnivalesque Waits-ian vibe. Our styles have always been complementary, and Occasions represents a great meeting of the two.”

Vargas concurs: “Sgt. Splendor really feels like a combination of both of us—equally.”

SGT SPLENDOR (featuring Eric McFadden & Kate Vargas)