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The SCENE Magazine

Local Music Spotlight: Nick and the Groove!

Nick and the Groove – does the name sound familiar? If it doesn’t, prepare to be blown away soon and instantly turned into a fan! What started as a few teenagers first jamming together at the School of Rock in Clear Lake has quickly turned into band not to be missed. Perhaps what might be even more striking? All members are between 16 and 19, and in less than a year have garnered the attention of major area events, radio and television outlets, not to mention hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and beyond.

Nick and the Groove’s lineup currently includes Nick Connors and his wicked lead vocals heading up the band, along with Erich Niekamp (lead guitar/backing vocals), Emily Klang (bass/backing vocals), Raine McClane (keyboard/guitar/backing vocals), and Caeden Breneman (drums).

Breneman said, “It sort of all started when I wanted to put a band together, and wanted my friend Erich in it as well. There were three of us at first, including Nick, and eventually Emily and Raine joined us, too. We first played at my graduation party last June, and the ‘Barracuda’ video went crazy,”  referring to the band’s cover of “Barracuda” by Heart that has gone viral, catching the attention of popular Houston morning radio host Rod Ryan of The Rod Ryan Show on 94.5 The Buzz, the lead page of Reddit, several news stations, and to date over 600,000 views on YouTube, with a flurry of comments that reflect what those who have attended a Nick and the Groove performance can attest to: Connor’s powerhouse vocals flawlessly transition from Whitney Houston to Prince to Rush, in tandem with Niekamp’s shredding skills on the guitar, and rounded out by Klang’s, McClane’s, and Breneman’s stellar musicianship and arrangements on their respective instruments. 

“A month or two after our first gig in June, I would say people really started to notice us,” said Breneman. “They started asking us to play their venues, and different parties, and from there started really getting a lot of support.” 

It was in this time that their cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” also went viral, a video that today, through strong fan support shown through a daily voting process, helped to advance them as one of only five semifinalists—beating out dozens of other submissions—  in the Houston Rodeo Rockstar Finals competition, which will take place in March as part of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. 

“We are extremely happy! We were all really hoping to make it,” said Breneman. 
Success of this kind didn’t just happen overnight, however. Though all members are in high school or just recently graduated, they have all poured their hearts into music for many years.

“I’ve played drums my whole life, and Erich has been playing guitar forever as well. Nick has been singing so long that he’s done gigs and National Anthems for the Astros, the Rockets, and the Texans, even before the band started. Emily has played bass for over ten years, and Raine has been playing keys for a long time as well,” he said. 

And the years of hard work and dedication is certainly now paying off, landing gig upon gig around the Houston area and beyond to a wildly growing fan base.

“We are extremely excited to open for KISS Alike this month at Jackie’s Brickhouse. We’re also looking forward to performing on the Pleasure Pier in Galveston, and the 2019 Alvin Music Festival,” he said, noting there are several other dates scheduled around Houston in March as well.

With this newfound attention and numerous upcoming dates, the future of Nick and the Groove is looking brighter than ever.

“We are writing our own original music right now and taking a more creative route, with everything really going in the direction of original music. We realize we have the opportunity of a lifetime here, to do what we love to do, and we don’t take that for granted,” Breneman said.

So what can those who haven’t attended a Nick and the Groove performance expect?

“You can expect to be wowed. That’s what I thought when I listened to Nick for the first time! His voice is unique and really powerful, and we all bring something different, actually. And that’s what I like about it – we’re a unique group of individuals coming together to show everyone a great time,” he said.

Nick and the Groove performs next at Jackie’s Brickhouse in Kemah on March 16 at 9 p.m., followed by a show at the Pleasure Pier in Galveston on the 17th (and the 30th), 2-A-Days in Pearland on the 22nd, and the 2019 Alvin Music Festival on the 23rd. 

For future dates and updates on the band, make sure to give their Facebook page a “like,” and whatever you do—do not miss one of their upcoming shows!