Microphone attracts UPJ band, crowd

Microphone attracts UPJ band, crowd

The Deep Vs perform for a large crowd at Windber Hotel Feb. 21.

Eric Kieta, Staff Writer

The beer was flowing, and the bar was packed Thursday night as many as 75 Pitt-Johnstown students gathered at the Windber Hotel to hear live music.

Every Thursday, Windber Hotel managers welcome musicians to display their talents on stage during their open-microphone night, according to Windber Hotel co-owner Tom Piscitella.

“Anyone can play,” Piscitella said. “All they have to do is show up.”

The open-microphone night is part of Windber Hotel’s college night.

Pitt-Johnstown senior Kelsey Jones said she is glad there are places where college-aged people can display their talents.

For the past few months, a Pitt-Johnstown band has participated at the open-microphone night.

The band, made up of mostly Sigma Tau Gamma brothers, is called the Deep Vs.

The band formed when Pitt-Johnstown junior Randall Penn collaborated with senior Mike Cerveris.

“We started freshman year (Spring 2011),” Penn said.

“We started playing acoustic at the Johnstown Inn,” Cerveris said.

Penn plays the guitar and sings for the band, while Cerveris also plays guitar.

Since formation, Pitt-Johnstown senior Drake Watters has joined the band as bassist, and Pitt-Johnstown junior Tony Raco has joined as a drummer.

The name the Deep Vs came from Cerveris’s former roommate, according to Penn.

“He was coming up with funny names, and that one took the cake,” Cerveris said.

Members of the band said they don’t agree on the style.

“We improvise every cover we do,” Raco said.

Cerveris said the band has a range of influences, such as punk rock, blues and reggae.

“It’s a hodgepodge mix of different backgrounds,” Watters said. “Somehow it all comes together, and it sounds original.”

As a whole, the band members said they can be classified as rock.

The band plays a variety of cover songs, as well as some originals.

They played their first booked show at the Windber Hotel Feb. 16. Penn said, for their set, they played 30 songs total, including 22 covers and eight originals.

Piscitella said a majority of the Deep Vs fan base is college students.

Piscitella said they are to play at the Winder Hotel two more times before May.

The Deep Vs have also been featured on Pitt-Oakland’s radio station WPTS-FM. The band played a set on the station earlier in February, according to Watters.