Posted: April 25, 2013 – 5:28pm
When local musician Riley Voth hosted open mic night at PT’s at College Hill on Tuesday, he got a firsthand look at the event started by fellow musician Chris Aytes.
Aytes and his band, Chris Aytes and The Good Ambition, usually start the night off with some tunes from their new album, “Just Wanna Rock ’N’ Roll,” along with a few cover songs. The night then transitions into an organized set list from other local talent with a wide range of backgrounds.
“Chris started this about a month to a month and a half ago and had a little bit of a different concept,” Voth said. “Instead of having just musicians, anyone with any creative input, from poetry to yo-yoing, just anything that you can do that has some entertainment value (can participate).”
Voth brought along his musician friend Megan Leigh, who opened the evening by singing and playing cover songs from The Band Perry, Katy Perry, Stevie Nicks and many more on her acoustic guitar. Leigh is a country pop artist from Topeka who recently recorded an EP in Nashville, Tenn. The EP has three tracks made up of one “party song” and two slower jams.
One of unique aspects of the cafe’s open mic night is the poetry read by Robin Pandey, a regular at the event. Pandey, whose books of poems are available on Amazon.com, uses his poetry as a way to connect with new people in the community.
“Since I am away from my family (in Dallas) right now — I am here working and I don’t know anybody here — this coffee shop gives me an opportunity to interact with people and express this gift I have,” Pandey said.
Pandey said he feels a connection with the coffee shop at 1625 S.W. Washburn and enjoys the positive response he gets from the audience and fellow artists.
“The first night I was here, I read my poems and I received applause,” Pandey said. “It was a great gift to receive applause from the audience.”
Voth feels that open mic nights are an excellent way to bring the community together — especially the talented musicians Topeka has to offer.
“The great thing about these jams in town is it’s a community-building thing for music,” Voth said.
Pandey can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nondual_Robin/.