By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
Pittsburgh-based jazz band Eastend Mile are scheduled to perform at Venue of Merging Arts, or VOMA, on Oct. 8.
The “alternative jazz” group was formed in 2013 and includes Roger Romero on saxophone, Caleb Lombardi on the piano/keyboards, Christoffer Thygesen on bass and Dhruva Krishna on drums. Eastend Mile fuses jazz with other musical genres such as indie rock and hip-hop.
The band has performed in Johnstown once before, when they co-headlined a show with Memphis Hill.
“We are incredibly excited to be returning, and hope to become a staple of the Johnstown music scene,” said Krishna, who lists his influences as Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.
“Plus, we love VOMA. VOMA is so great because it truly embodies the intersection of art and community working together to create a better culture. We love how it has been a critical part of bringing some great regional bands to Johnstown, and the venue really acts as a great cultural hub for the city.”
Krishna said that even though the band has played in Johnstown only once before, he was impressed by audience members’ enthusiasm.
“Audiences in the city truly have an open mind when it comes to live entertainment,” he said. “As a band, Eastend Mile is dedicated to bringing a unique live experience to audiences through our music . . . we think that Johnstown is the perfect spot for it.”
Adam Mundok, property manager at VOMA, said that he’s thrilled to welcome Eastend Mile back to Johnstown.
“I love what Eastend Mile are doing musically and want to give Johnstowners an opportunity to hear great regional bands from Pittsburgh and elsewhere whenever possible,” Mundok said. “Also, to hear a unique band like this can be a very memorable experience for a local person because the event is rare, so it becomes, ‘Hey, remember when we saw Eastend Mile at VOMA in fall of 2016?’”
Eastend Mile has released two full-length albums: “City Limits” and “I Had a Wonderful Time.” The latter was released Sept. 10.
“As a band, I think we are most proud of how the new record is really a representation, and a blend of all our unique musical influences to create an innovative new sound,” Krishna said. “Our goal is to use the innovation and self-expression intrinsic to jazz, and fuse it with a plethora of different musical genres.
“For example, one of our singles, ‘Twisted,’ is a slow jazz/ R&B ballad, compared to our other single, ‘Blood Moon,’ which is one of our heaviest and most fusion-influenced tracks. We believe that, on the album, we blended all these influences together, while still maintaining our own cohesive and unified sound.”
Band members are planning to play a diverse setlist in Johnstown.
“Our setlist will primarily feature songs from our newest album, songs from our first album, and a few covers to showcase our diverse interests in music,” Krishna said. “We love to explore our sonic range live, especially since each of our members come from such distinct musical backgrounds.
“For anyone who doesn’t know, this is actually the first album featuring myself, Dhruva, and our bassist, Tiggy, as the rhythm section. We love bringing our own flair to the band and revitalizing some of the older material in a new way.”
After the show, band members plan to sell and sign copies of their new album. Stickers and T-shirts will also be available for purchase.
Doors for the BYOB (with valid ID) will open at 7:30 p.m. A nominal admission fee is charged at the door, and VOMA members will receive a discount.
Mundok said that he hopes people in the community will take advantage of this opportunity.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of really cool events where the cost of admission is low for the quality of the experience,” he said.
VOMA’s kitchen will be open throughout the event for those interested in purchasing food or beverages.
Eastend Mile is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m. that evening.
“We hope all of Johnstown is at our show,” Krishna said. “As much as we love the studio, performing live is our passion and where we excel. We love interacting with the audience, which is just as important to our shows as the music.
“Be there! We promise to deliver something new for all your ears.”
For more information about Eastend Mile, and to sample to their music, visit http://eastendmile.com. For more information about VOMA, visit www.thevoma.com.