The newly renamed Sextones debuted in Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room on Saturday, but nearly everyone in the crowd already was familiar with the band.
“We’ve been doing this since 2006 when we were getting kicked out of bars because we were 17,” the band leader joked.
The former Mark Sexton Band assumed its new name in December, strategizing that rebranding might give the band the boost it needs to break through to the next level.
“The Sextones feels like a British soul band and it explains our music,” Sexton said. “It’s the perfect balance of new and familiar.”
The Sextones played at Sacramento’s Torch Club on Thursday and South Shore’s Divided Sky on Friday. On Saturday, it opened for a very similar band, Con Brio, which is clearing the high hurdle that separates local-regional bands and nationally known bands. The San Francisco group had a pair of attention-getting performances at the 2015 High Sierra Music Festival and this year has been invited to the even more prestigious Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
“It’s cool to watch a band at a level you were at and and see them just blow up and do these great things,” Sexton said. “When you see it happen, I think, ‘We can do it too.’ ”
The founding members of the group are Sexton, who plays guitar and sings lead vocals, and Alex Korostinsky on bass and Dan Weiss on drums. They’ve been friends since attending together Swope Middle School in Reno. Sexton and Korostinsky studied music at University of Nevada, Reno, and Weiss went to a drumming school in Seattle. The band became a quartet a year ago with the addition of keyboardist Ryan Taylor.
For its bigger shows, the Sextones include a horn section, which was present for its hour-long set Saturday in the Crown Room, which Sexton said was “comfortably full.”
The Mark Sexton Band’s first album, “Listen Out,” was released in 2010, and it was followed up with an EP in 2013, “Young and Naïve,” which was produced by Alan Evans.
The Sextones are in the process of self-producing its first record under the new name, which Sexton hopes to have ready by early summer. The 10 to 11 songs on the yet-to-be-named album already have been recorded.
“Trying to find out what was missing from all the songs is labor intensive,” Sexton said. “It’s the finishing touches that make big differences. Since we are doing it ourselves, there are a lot of chances to be indecisive.”
Korostinsky recently produced an album by Reno’s The John Whites, “Beautiful Strangers.”
In March, the Sextones will tour the entire West Coast, opening most of its shows for the Asheville, North Carolina, funksters Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band.