The Dragon's Den
November 28, 2004
Bandleader/guitarist Dr. Jimbo Walsh announced Sexahol's motto as "thinking with the little head." With their aggressive approach and the way they tried to be elemental, his description was appropriate. "Free-metal," he also called it. This worked too. Every member of the band approached the material from their jazz backgrounds, and there were enough shredded solos to make Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett blush. It was funny how the long length of their songs is often seen in jazz AND the epic songs of metal. Walsh was joined by drummer Dave Sobel, guitarist Mark Fowler, percussionist Anthony Cuccia, and bassist Josef Butts.
Butts tried to get out of his normal jazz atmosphere and into the rock mood by wearing his Lollapalooza '94 shirt. He told the band before they started that a kid had approached Butts with envy since Butts "was there!" The punchline to everyone listening, all over 25, was that events in the '90's were starting to be seen as landmarks. Damn, we're getting old. Anyway, Butts had trouble getting out of his jazz mode. When a straightforward or bombastic part called for lead-footed, root bass playing, Butts was playing a superfluous amout of notes. Sobel did this as well, but his excursions(fills) were proper and enjoyable because he didn't forget to accent on the snare. Actually, at one point, he kept the beat so solid that he could have given Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts a run for his money. Cuccia complemented well, as usual, with tambourine, bongos, wood blocks, metal coil, and the recently SNL-culturefied cowbell.
Man, Walsh and Fowler used their classical guitar backgrounds well. When the song called for it or didn't, either of them played solos that were so fast and colorful that they seemed more like parodies than appreciative nods. Considering the outer space and out-of-the-box sounds they create with the Improvisational Arts Council, it'd be kind of funny and nice if Walsh and Fowler listened to Pantera in their free time. The best was when a one minute solo by Walsh was followed directly by a Fowler solo. Overload, in a good way.
The band played covers like "All Along the Watchtower" and "Sympathy for the Devil." They broke rank when they invited Davis Rogan on stage to do a spoken word/rap that was about how he's been screwed over in life. Something like: Fuck all you bitches...I quit. It was funny, especially when Davis criticized WWOZ. The song was compact and curt, the way only Davis can be. He made sure to remind everyone he was the original singer of Sexahol.
A band from Quebec City called The Easy Riders ended up at The Den after walking around town trying to pick up gigs, so Sexahol invited vocalist Lily Thobodeau on stage to do a blues song. She had a beautiful voice.
Keep the irreverence and creativity coming.