Band of teenagers rock Katy music scene

Nick and the Groove perform at Central Green’s Back to School Glow Party. From left, Erich Niekamp, Caeden Breneman, Nick Connors, Emily Klang and Raine McClane. Photo by Debi Beauregard.

Cover band Nick and the Groove is taking over the Katy live music scene. They’re playing for packed crowds at popular local venues like Mo’s Place, Mo’s Irish Pub and Central Green. And while it seems intuitive that such a successful band would have years of musical experience under their belts, four of the five band members are teenagers, and the band has only been playing together for a year.

Caeden Breneman recently turned 20, but the other members range from ages 16-19. When they came together as a band, they were all high school students.

Breneman, the band’s drummer started the band when he attended School of Rock with Emily Klang, 16, Nick Connors, 17, Raine McClane, 17 and Erich Niekamp, 19. The band is named for Connors, who is the lead vocalist.

On Aug. 10, Nick and the Groove performed live at Central Green for the Willow Fork Drainage District’s “Back to School Glow Party” which benefited local charities. Yvonne Arceneaux, director of Central Green, stated that she chose Nick and the Groove as the performing act because of their immense talent and growing reputation.

“We’re always trying to bring the best entertainment to Central Green,” said Arceneaux. “And I kept hearing about this band of teenagers. My kids thought it was so cool when I booked them.”

The band plays a mix of genres, but the band said that their favorite bands to cover are Stevie Wonder, Heart, Chris Stapleton, Rush, Led Zepplin John Mayer, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston,Tina Turner, Adele, Bruno Mars, Dolly Parton, Sia, Michael Jackson, Journey, Ed Sheeran, The Beatles, Prince, The Styx and Fleetwood Mac.

The band has not yet released any original music, but Connors said the group is working on some original songs. “We're not going to put anything out until we have something that people will actually really listen to,” he said.

As their popularity grows, the band is getting calls from all over Texas to perform. “On average, we’re playing about three gigs a week,” reported Niekamp, lead guitarist and backing vocals for the band.

However, as three of the members are still in school, the band will have to scale back to two performances a week when the academic year begins. The balance sounds challenging, but the high school members manage to do both.

Klang, who plays bass guitar and sings backing vocals said, “I always put school first. I get it done, and I learn the music.”

Connors added, laughing, “She learns music very fast, so she doesn’t have to practice that much.”

The band members call themselves “a family”, and performing together comes naturally to them because they’re all so close. “They’re basically my siblings,” said McClane, keyboardist, guitarist and backing vocalist.

None of the band members have anxiety about performing. The only struggle, according to Klang, is trying to keep up their verve for back-to-back performances. “This is our third performance in three days,” said Klang. “Keeping the energy up is hard.”

Niekamp laughed, “Especially when it’s over 100 degrees outside.”

Looking to the future, Nick and the Groove hopes to continue to expand their performances outside of Texas and plans to release their first original music before the end of the year. “We won’t release anything until we’re really happy with it and know it’s going to be a hit,” Niekamp said.