By Kellen M. Quigley
Those stopping into Balloons Restaurant & Night Club this Friday should prepare for a night of diverse rock with “a little bit of an edge” as Rusty Nickel will be performing in Ellicottville for the first time.
Formed in August of 2017, Rusty Nickel is made up of Joe Marciniak, Steve Mineo, Sal Barone, Chris Lepovich and Jim Couch, all from the north towns of Buffalo.
“We all live in different towns and villages. Kenmore, Tonawanda, Amherst, Wheatfield and North Tonawanda,” said Couch, the group’s lead guitar player and one of the vocalists. “But we all went to school together growing up”
Couch said the group started out jamming together once a week for fun, hanging out and having a beer or two. As they got better, the band decided to play out and see what happened.
“It was a benefit for domestic violence if I recall, and everyone loved us, dancing through our whole set!” he said. “We were hooked! Started giving on a regular basis after that.”
The bandmates all like different eras of music and different genres, playing originals and some covers, which Couch says they call “the Rusty Nickel Twist.”
“We love taking cover songs and changing them just a bit to make them our own,” he explained. “Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve is an excellent example of this.” Back in the USSR by The Beatles and It’s Been Awhile by Stained are others they have tweaked and are crowd-pleasers.
Rusty Nickel has had a very busy year, Couch said, playing every weekend and sometimes twice a week for months now. They recently nominated Best New Group by Night Life Magazine’s Music Awards.
“Some huge gigs for us recently are the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls, the Niagara County Peach Festival in Lewiston and, of course, Balloons Night Club in Ellicottville,” Couch said. “In the coming months we have backed off bookings so we can focus on learning some new material. We have already started booking shows in 2020.”
Although this is will be the first time the band will play in Ellicottville, Couch said the bandmembers have visited the village before and really enjoyed the area. When Rusty Nickel received the call for Balloons, they were excited to branch out to the Southern Tier.
“It’s just beautiful!” he said of Ellicottville. “We are looking forward to performing for a crowd that most likely will be seeing us for the first time. Excited to see their reaction and hopefully add some new Rusty Nickel fans!”
Couch said the setlist is diverse with something for everyone, from classic rock to current rock and alternative rock to country rock, with lots of songs to dance and sing along to.
“We have so much fun and that usually translates to the crowd having fun too,” he added. “We like to involve the audience throughout the night.”
The band has some new material, Couch said, but they plan on adding many more songs over the next couple months. “We have been so busy it’s been hard to focus on new material.”
Rusty Nickel really loves performing together, Couch said, and the members all genuinely like each other since many of them have known each other since high school. “We are close friends,” he said.
“But mostly we love seeing the audience dancing and singing and clapping along. That is just awesome!” Couch continued. “Makes you feel connected to the people who came to see you. There is no better feeling when that happens!”
The band’s line-up has Joe Marciniak on drums and vocals, Steve Mineo on lead vocals and guitar, Sal Barone on guitar and vocals, Chris Lepovich on bass guitar and Couch on lead guitar and vocals.
Rusty Nickel will perform live at Balloons, 20 Monroe St. in Ellicottville, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. For more information, follow the band on Facebook at “RUSTYNICKELWNY.”