NiteCry
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NiteCry

Band Blues R&B

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"The South Bay's NiteCry rocks in a variety of grooves on 'Too Cool' new album"

SOME SAY THAT NITECRY is the hardest-rocking combo in the South Bay, but I wasn't convinced until I saw the band in performance. Fronted by guitarist René Solis, NiteCry laces its rock with large amounts of sweaty R&B and blues. Steve Siacotos' rough-and-tumble vocals are buoyed by Richard Palmer's keyboards. Too Cool to Be Blue, the band's second album, produced by respected blues player Joe Louis Walker, parades a variety of styles, ranging from the horn-heavy swagger of "Lesson in the Blues" to the juke-joint jump of "I May Be Crazy."

"No Right Way" bops along like a Tower of Power tune. Written by Richard Palmer, "No Right Way" showcases NiteCry's developing talent for harmony--and Palmer's honky-tonk piano embellishments are attention-grabbing without being ostentatious. What matters is that NiteCry's Too Cool to Be Blue avoids the sophomore doldrums by sticking to the basics. - San Jose Metro


"2003 Battle of the Blues Bands fun for Bands and Fans!"

In November 2003 ten bands competed in the 3rd Annual Monterey Bay Blues Festival's "Battle of the Blues Bands" at the Monterey Conference Center. At stake was a chance to open the 2004 Festivals Main Stage on Saturday afternoon.

A crowd in excess of 500 people watched, listened and danced for four and one-half hours as the Kay Bohler Blues Band, Terri Hiatt & Lori Hofer, Bishop Mayfield, Atomic Blues, Marvin Banks, Diva Ladee Chico, Pearl Alley, the Spencer Jarrett Band, Reno Jones and NiteCry all turned in stellar performances. Judges Ms Lottie Mayfield, owner of the Celebrity Ballroom in Daly City, Ms Lucy Cheshire, co-owner of the Monterey Coast Brewing Company in Salinas, Richard Bains, Director of the Music and Performing Arts Department at California State University, Monterey Bay and Karen Tyler, 2002 Battle of the Blues Bands winner, all agreed they had a tough job. Karen Tyler stated, "the music just keeps getting better every year. Choosing a winner is going to be extremely difficult". After a fun filled Sunday afternoon NiteCry was proclaimed the winner with Reno Jones and Marvin Banks in the runner-up positions.

The Battle was started as a way of giving up and coming bands a chance to play on the festivals mains stage with the many Blues Legends that headline the festival. Jim Claypool, the current Talent Committee and Battle of the Blues Bands chairman, stated that the Monterey Bay Blues Festival is dedicated to bringing the best in new talent to the festival. - Monterey Bay Blues Festival Website


"Big Blues Mix: The 2004 Monterey Bay Blues Fest features every variation on the blues."

With 56 acts over three days, this year’s Monterey Bay Blues Festival features all different sorts of takes on the blues. Performers like Nitecry play straight-ahead bar-band blues, Keb’ Mo’ puts his own spin on traditional acoustic blues, and Ashford & Simpson are primarily known for pop R&B numbers like their 1984 hit single “Solid.”

Though Nitecry has performed on the festival’s Garden Stage a couple of times during past years, this will be the first time that the San Jose blues band has ever played in the festival’s Main Arena. The band’s breakthrough came this past November when Nitecry won the 2003 Monterey Bay Blues Festival “Battle of the Blues Bands.”

Lead guitarist René Solis says the competition was the group’s first public performance in four years.

Originally formed in 1985, Nitecry was where Bay Area blues stalwart Tommy Castro got his start in the blues as the band’s lead singer. After Castro’s departure, the band gigged with a revolving group of vocalists, including Jackie Payne and Gary Smith, until Steve Siacotos joined the band in 1990. With Siacotos behind the microphone, the band recorded two albums, Run For Cover and Too Cool To Be Blue, and played around the Bay Area extensively.

In 1999, Siacotos’ doctor presented the singer with a dilemma: Keep singing and submit to throat surgery or avoid the operation by putting your music career on hold. “I basically didn’t sing for almost a year,” Siacotos says of his decision. The rest of the group threw in the towel a year and a half later.

A month before the Monterey Bay Blues Festival’s “Battle of the Blues Bands,” Solis and keyboard player Richard Palmer talked Siacotos into giving the band a second shot. Within a month, the group had written nine new songs and became adequately prepared for the competition. “We wanted to really move forward,” Siacotos says.

The group’s hard work has paid off. On Saturday, in addition to playing on the Main Arena Stage, the band will be performing later that day on the festival’s Garden Stage and that night at Sly McFly’s. Siacotos already has a plan to deal with Saturday’s hectic schedule. “I am going to get a lot of rest,” he says. “Also, I am going to get inspiration Friday night by seeing Solomon Burke.” - Monterey County Weekly


"Review: Too Cool to be Blue"

Well-known guitarist and bandleader Joe Louis Walker thought enough of the San Jose group NiteCry to man the production helm (and play blistering guitar on a couple of cuts) for Too Cool to Be Blue (NiteCry 2020971.) Led by the burning fretwork of René Solis and impassioned and solid-sender vocals of Steve Siacotos, Too Cool burns brightly with clever songwriting, versatile West Coast musical drive and thorough professionalism. That these boys obviously love to play is evident on every track. Stars in the making? Could well be. - Blues Access


"New Blues"

After this year’s Battle of the Blues Bands competition—where Paradise, California, blues artist Big Mo secured a spot on the Main Stage of the 2005 Monterey Bay Blues Festival—Nitecry took the stage. Just a few seconds into their three-song set, the 2003 Battle of the Blues Bands winners had the crowd on the dance floor for a new number titled “Midnight in Memphis,” which sounds like the sort of rock and blues fusion that was occurring in the ‘80s. Next up were two more new originals including “Back in Town,” an energetic tune with a chorus that sounds disco-drenched. Though the band does not expect the new tunes to be released until the release of their latest album in the summer of 2005, fans can get a sneak peek of some tracks tonight during Nitecry’s performance at Sly McFly’s. - Monterey County Weekly


"Kind of Blue: Nitecry finds inspiration in painful relationships and ice cream."

In some ways, San Jose’s Nitecry is a typical blues band. On songs like “If You Don’t Love Me,” “Run for Cover,” “Blue Night” and “Troubles,” the band addresses common blues themes like deteriorating relationships, bad women, and lonely, alcohol-filled evenings.

But, on numbers like “Step to Window ‘B,’” “Imitation Ice Cream Blues” and “Son-In-Law,” the group tackles unconventional, humorous subjects that are not readily identified with the blues genre. “Imitation Ice Cream Blues” is about a fellow hooked on all the different artificial flavors of ice cream, while the target of “Son-In-Law” is a loafer who announces to his mother-in-law and father-in-law that “I’ll be moving in with you all.”

“Step to Window ‘B’” describes the mood of an out-of-work family man waiting in line at the welfare office. For anyone who has spent an afternoon entangled in the bureaucracy of government offices— and who hasn’t?—the song nails the feelings of frustration.

René Solis, Nitecry’s guitar player, sees humor as another way to draw listeners to a song. “The main thing is that you are telling a story, and people can relate to humor,” he says.

He also believes that the band’s different takes on the blues is a result of having three songwriters in the band. “All three of us have completely different styles of writing,” he says.

The first version of the band came together in 1985. Solis says the group’s original band members were fixtures at JJ’s Blues, a San Jose club that the band describes in their song “Blues Party.”

Steve Siacotos became the band’s lead singer in 1990. When he left the band in 1999, the other musicians continued in Nitecry for another year and a half before calling it quits.

“We didn’t think [the band] was going to come back together,” Solis says.

Even though Solis had his own band, René Solis and the Persuaders, he missed the magic of playing with his former bandmates. So, at the start of this year, Solis and the rest of Nitecry talked Siacotos into rejoining the group.

One month after restarting the band, Nitecry won the Monterey Bay Blues Festival’s “Battle of the Bands” and secured a spot on the main stage at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.

“When we won the contest that was the seal of approval,” Solis says. “That kinda inked the deal.”

Next month, Nitecry plans on recording a dozen new songs for a new album. Let’s hope they bring their trademark sense of humor to the recording sessions. - Monterey County Weekly


"Review: Run for Cover"

Nitecry possesses an overwhelming command of everything hot to cool. This collection includes everything from the soulful lyin' and cheatin' blues of "Right by Me" to the boogie woogie of "When I’m Drinking" to the Gospel-tinged shouts of "Let the Music". With their debut release, "Run For Cover" , NiteCry is destined to become the inevitable standard to which many others will be compared. Just listen, You'll discover why. - Leslie Ann Knight, DJ, KKUP radio


"Review: Too Cool to be Blue"

Too cool? This band is hot, hot, hot. On their second release, NiteCry keeps the big beat alive with over an hour of high-octane R&B. The lead and backing vocals, often the downfall of groups aspiring to find a soulful groove, are smooth and swinging. Richard Palmer's keyboards make mighty contributions to the band’s full sound, and guitarist René Solis skillfully handles a full repertoire of solos, fills, and rhythm. Producer Joe Louis Walker turns this resourceful band loose to strut their stuff on a crisp recording with a killer bottom end, and rips through a couple of slick guitar performances himself. A massively funky album. - Living Blues


Discography

Albums:
"Run For Cover" (1993) - produced by Pat Ford
"Too Cool to be Blue" (1995) produced by Joe Louis Walker
"Back in Town" - (2006) produced by Steve Siacotos & NiteCry

Photos

Bio

“One sees a lot of blues bands around, but there aren’t enough groups that know how to kick in some backbeat, an extra chord or two, and create solid R & B. Fortunately there is NiteCry. Clear unadulterated instruments and unpretentious songwriting…”
– Steve Stolder, Bay Area Musician Magazine

Bands come and bands go, but the special ones endure. After an amicable break-up in 2001, Bay Area R&B mainstays NiteCry returned with a vengeance in 2004. Punctuating their return was a performance on the Main Stage of the 2004 Monterey Bay Blues Festival where they pretty much tore the house down. Said Lee Durley, Director of the MBBF “Their undisputed commitment, collective personalities and combination of super talents have earned them their due. They are at the top of their game.”

NiteCry is once again one of the most sought-after bands on the West Coast. Since their return, they have caused a wave of excitement from music fans, media insiders, and event producers everywhere. Tom Mazzolini, Producer of the prestigious San Francisco Blues Festival adds “Nitecry plays the blues like it was meant to be played. Tough in-the-pocket blues that distinguishes their professional status as one of the best ensembles to come out of a historically rich blues scene such as the San Francisco Bay Area. They are peerless."

Originally formed in 1985 at the legendary JJs Blues Club in San Jose, the current roster boasts four members from its classic mid-90s line-up; guitarist René Solis, keyboard player Richard Palmer, bassist Johnny Yu and lead vocalist Steve Siacotos. With their instrumental and songwriting core intact, they have also added powerhouse drummer Michael L. Jiggetts along with the slammin' horn section of Chris Marquis and Danny Sandoval.

NiteCry nails a high impact performance every time without forsaking virtuosity. They play blues, R & B and rockin’soul with a raw power and directness that speaks volumes. Their high energy, unique stage presence, and full-speed-ahead performance style keep festivals and nightclubs vibrating with energy and excitement. Whether it’s an original band composition or one of their carefully selected cover tunes, you can be sure that NiteCry will have the audience enraptured thoughout thier show.