Depot’s ‘Strung Out’ leaves students in peaceful state after weeks of school work

The Depot gave students a stage to flex their musical talent this Thursday at Strung Out, one of the venue’s mixed-artist shows this month.

The Sept. 11 show catered to relaxation. The posters around campus boast “chill vibes” and free music in a place where students can bring a friend and ease into the weekend.

Eric Alban 23-years-old an Alumni of SF State performs at Strung Out at The Depot in the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Amanda Peterson / Xpress

Eric Alban 23-years-old an Alumni of SF State performs at Strung Out at The Depot in the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Amanda Peterson / Xpress

Those interested do not have to be in a band or have an established sound to play and many of the performers are one-man groups who love learning to play new instruments or jamming for fun in their spare time.

“I’ve been (to The Depot) multiple times and it’s always loads of fun,” said Silver Friedline, 20, a cinema major. “I’d like to see more big names, as I’m sure many people say, but I also love the student bands that play there.”

The crowd at the venue was enthusiastic about each new set and milled around freely, some clustering to the front to pay solid attention while others hang back against the wall with a beer. The performers set up and took down their sets with ease and joked freely with the crowd.

“I’ve been playing horns (trumpet and french horn) for 14 years now, classically,” said Ashlee Pootok, a performer who brought a crowd-pleasing remix of Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” into her lineup.“I’ve been playing guitar for a few months and suck at it, but it’s impossible to sing and play a horn so I’m making do.”

Pootok has been working on her music for years, but said she is just starting to perform in front of crowds as a solo act.

“Music is a hobby that takes up a lot of my time,” Pootok said. “I’m a BECA major, and I’ve played at The Depot a few times with dot Vom. This is the second time I’ve ever performed live, alone.”

The audience got to hear a range of styles at the event, as talent and experience differed from performer to performer. Sean Thompson, a music major and another one of the night’s performers, is a self-taught guitar player.

“Acoustic guitar is my main instrument, although I can pick up a stringed instrument and pick it up after a few plays,” Thompson said. “I suck at piano and the sax, though.”

Thompson said he is comfortable performing live and has been debuting his acoustic stylings throughout the Bay Area.

“I’ve performed at a lot of different places, from small music festivals in the woods up north, as a lead guitarist in a band, in talent shows, open mics, secret shows and house parties,” Thompson said. “I’ve been playing around for a little while.”

The Depot presents its next band showcase at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, and features a lineup of four small local bands: Everyone is Dirty, Fish Breath, Dinosaurs, and Five Eyes.

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