The Iguanas: Not your average rock band

The Iguanas rock the house during Word of South.
Photo submitted by Evenson Decosse

For their first performance at Word of South, The Iguanas, a New Orleans rooted rock band, executed a phenomenal live show Sunday.

With  their groovy sound, they drew the crowd in for one of the best entertainment acts to perform at the festival, now in its fifth year. The four members of the band are Joe Cabral, Rod Hodges, Rene Coman and Doug Garrison. They formed in Louisiana and have been together for nearly 30 years.

Hodges, proud to have been able to tour together all over the country for so long, he is the band’s lead vocalist, main songwriter and bass player. He credits their success to the relationship they maintain outside of the music. “The crowd was really great and friendly, you know that always helps. The gig today was a lot of fun, maybe some of the most fun we’ve had all month because you never know what kind of crowd you might get. I had a good time on the mic earlier. I saw a lot of couples over in the corner dancing so I could tell they enjoyed my singing,” Hodges said.

Anyone close enough to hear the band quickly made their way over to join in on the contagious dancing as the free-spirited sound filled the venue.

Garrison, the drummer for The Iguanas, said, “The crowd was listening and we definitely responded to that. I think everyone had more fun than expected and honestly that’s all that counts to me.”

Garrison, who has been playing percussion since he was about 6 years old, also commented:  “It was great that Rene and I, the bass player, found each other back in the ’80s working each together for a guy named Alex Hitchen. They already had the group formed so when they were looking for a drummer, Rene said, ‘I’ll call Doug’ and the rest is history.”

The band performed a number of their top hits including “Boom, Boom, Boom, Nervous,” “Needle in a Hay Stack,” “Pelican Bay” and what seemed to be the crowd favorite, “Love Sucker.” Their sound and style can be described as a combination of Latin, R&B and rock.

Marry-Beth Silvan, a longtime fan of the band said, “Today was incredible! The last time I had the chance to see them preform was back in the ’90s when I used to live in New Orleans. They were really big with the college crowd back then. I wish they came to Tallahassee more often. This brought me back to the good ol’ days.”

Joe Cabral, the band’s saxophone player, stole the show with his amazing wind pipe skills. Cabral, who says he’s been playing the sax for over 40 years, had the spotlight for nearly the entire show.

“I started playing saxophone when I was just 10 years old.. That almost gave anyway my age, huh?” As he laughed, he added, “I got my start because my dad was a musician, so we always had a lot of music around the house. I got really good over the years and became more educated music wise.”