Material: Due to a pretty drab house mix, it was difficult to get a good sense of the lyrical and melodic quality of some of the songs. After checking over their recorded material to get a clearer picture, the heavy Rush influences were more obvious. The song structures are clear and distinct, punctuated by truly remarkable players. “Another Trip Around the Sun” and “She Said I Love the Rain” were standouts in the set. Particularly notable in the material are fairly sturdy arrangements—though some restraint could be interesting for song dynamics.
Musicianship: Guitarist and bassist Billy Alexander and Tim Starace, respectively, are clearly top-notch players—not a single note out of place. Drummer Kyle Brian Abbott held his own as well, and blended into the songs with formidable backing power. The trio set up the picture of a home-cooked rock band, each having individual moments to shine though not exactly interacting with each other. Rocky Kuner is a talented vocalist; her pitch is clean and she carries great support for powerful vocal lines. Not much is to be complained about in musicianship, as the band is clearly well rehearsed and well polished.
Performance: Small stages are tough for rock bands; there is less room for impactful movement, less room for crowd interactions, less room for showboating, all things that rock bands love to utilize for their shows. That being said, YYNOT did an excellent job maneuvering the difficult space—much to the delight of their audience. However, creating a cohesive image is very important for a band like this. Kuner is an asset: appealing to a younger demographic, as well as carrying pop tonalities that set this group apart from any other Rush tribute band. She needs to act like it and own the stage confidently. She is a rockstar after all.
Summary: YYNOT is doing a lot of things right. Talented players, solid songs and good arrangements make for a great start. What YYNOT needs to do now is, as they say, “turn it up to 11.” Make the live show more bombastic, make the arrangements dramatic and exciting, treat yourself as a legend in the making. All of these things are pieces of the puzzle; putting it all together, breaking free of your influences and cutting a path as more than just another rock band, will be the keys to the kingdom.
Players: Rocky Kuner, vocals; Billy Alexander, guitar, background vocals; Tim Starace, bass; Kyle Brian Abbott, drums