The first thing you can expect when going out to see “NTO,” a dynamic and new Kaua‘i rock band, is a warm greeting at the door from Jimmy Jasper of JJ’s Broiler. Jasper will direct you upstairs where friendly staff takes you to a table to enjoy drinks and pupus as the big sounds of “NTO” play for a night of full-hearted rock infused with jazz, folk and blues.
Moonlit Kalapaki Bay created a surreal background as “NTO” band members captivated the audience with powerful performances and great musical chemistry onstage. “NTO” band members consist of seasoned and talented studio musicians, songwriters and producers who came together following Lynn and Thayne Taylor’s Songwriter’s Showcase in October 2010, which was also hosted by JJ’s Broiler.
Seven band members graced the stage with electricity that ran from their instruments and voices all the way through the soles of the audience. Paul Christi, sound engineer of “NTO,” provided the audience with a first-rate musical experience which lent itself well to dancing. Several people shook a leg as the band inspired movement. One dancer with enough energy to light up the house was “NTO” singer Lynn Taylor, who swayed on and off stage the entire evening.
During a break from the stage, Taylor said, “If I’m having fun I hope the audience does.” When speaking about the songwriting experience, Taylor said, “I think they’re all gifts. I love the songs. It’s such a magical thing that happens and I love being part of the creative process.” Taylor said her husband, Thayne Taylor, encouraged her to sing and to perform on stage. Thayne Taylor plays guitar and is also a singer and songwriter.
Lynn and Thayne Taylor had most members of “NTO” accompany them on their first album, “Watercolor Dreams.” The album was produced by Chris Birkett, who also produced the first album for acclaimed international artists Sinead O’Conor and Buffy Saint-Marie. Birkett will be relocating to Kaua‘i and joining “NTO” in early spring.
Drummer Marty Leonard said he is really enjoying playing with “NTO” because it is a band with a lot of experience. “A lot of times a drummer holds a band together; however, in this band I am allowed more opportunity for creativity because all band members are so talented,” said Leonard. In addition to playing with “NTO,” Leonard is a music teacher at Ele‘ele School and offers private lessons after school. Leonard is also President of the Board of “Live Music Kaua‘i,” a non-profit organization created to bring more musical experiences to Kaua‘i’s youth and encourage live music for all ages.
Jerry Brockelhurst plays keyboard and is a songwriter as well. Brockelhurst’s song, “Jackie”, was played with fervor and a synergy amongst band members of “NTO.” Brockelhurst is the current director of the Kaua‘i Music Festival.
Dave Greenberg plays bass and performs his original songs with “NTO.” His songs, “I Stole Coconuts” and “Old Guys Hat” are crowd pleasers with playful lyrics and upbeat rhythms. Greenberg is also owner of Kaua‘i Sound and Music in Kapa’a.
Rich Evans plays guitar with “NTO” and also plays in a duo known as “String Theory” with Greenberg. The duo becomes a trio on occasion when Leonard is able to join them. Evans, a former counselor at Kaua‘i High School, also performs original music as a singer/songwriter.
Adding a unique dimension to the band is fiddle player Bill Dick. Dick enjoys playing a variety of music and can be seen playing with other bands and musicians on the island such as “The Happy Enchalata.” Dick plays fiddle for “NTO” and can also be seen playing guitar at Hanapepe’s Art Night.
“NTO” is guaranteed to put some soul in your soles. Join the band for a charismatic, lively musical experience at JJ’s Broiler Saturday nights from 8-11 p.m. You’re in for a treat!