Student band opens rock concert

What at first seemed to be a no-show quickly turned around as The Depot filled up, drawing a crowd of 30 to 40 people as White Skies prepared for their show Thursday night.

White Skies, a five-member student band, performed as an opening act on Thursday night at The Depot in the Cesar Chavez Student Center for two other bands, Naked Walrus and The Gromble, who are both on tour.

This was the first alternative rock band show of the spring semester consisting of three bands, according to The Depot manager Lupita Uribe.

“It makes me feel really awesome – it’s always great to meet these guys and talk to them before and after the show,” said Adam Medina, White Skies’ guitarist. “They’ll listen to our set and tell us we did good, and to hear that coming from bands who are touring — it means a lot to us, and it means we are headed in the right direction.”

White Skies managed to book the gig through the connection of their guitarist and co-founder, Kendric Ganeko, a 21-year-old BECA major, who works as a photographer for the Associated Students, Inc. at SF State.

“(White Skies’) style is very reminiscent of like, (the band) Two Door Cinema Club,” said Ryan Tipton, a 22-year-old business major and Depot goer. “It reminds me of a local band I used to know – Naive Children, very indie dancing music – it’s really fun stuff.”

White Skies began in the summer of 2015, but Ganeko and Josh Nicholas, both from Los Angeles, first got together in 2013 and made mash-ups of rock and electronic music. The name White Skies originated after Ganeko first arrived in San Francisco.

“When I first saw how foggy it always is up here, I just sort of thought the combo of white and skies sounded like a potentially cool band name,” Ganeko said.

Following the creation of the band name, Ganeko and Nicholas felt like it was time to expand, leading to the now five-member band.

Blair Nishio, lead vocalist and 24-year-old vocal jazz major, currently sings for White Skies and Iridium, a ska band at SF State.

“It’s a great balance for me,” Nishio said. “It’s all about having fun with both, so it’s a good mixture for me.”

Blair Nishio, lead singer for his band White Skies, performs at The Depot on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (Pablo Caballero / Xpress)

Blair Nishio, lead singer for his band White Skies, performs at The Depot on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (Pablo Caballero / Xpress)

Adam Medina, a 21-year-old classical guitar major, lives next door to Geneko, and they have been friends for the past three years.

Mike Kelly, a 24-year-old Broadcast and Electronic Communications Arts major and drummer for the band, first met Geneko in class and was soon invited to play.

“I love how all of us come from different music backgrounds,” said Nicholas, who plays bass. “And what it is awesome is that all our different influences come together to make the White Skies sound.”

White Skies has performed in several venues aside from The Depot, including twice at the Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission, once at the Milk Bar in Haight-Ashbury and several house parties around SF State and Daly City, according to Ganeko.

“I like playing house shows because it’s a low stress situation, it’s a good playing experience,” Kelly said. “You don’t feel pressure.”

Each venue offers the band a compensation of around $50 to $60, which Ganeko said goes towards band rehearsals at Music City, an affordable recording studio open to artists in downtown San Francisco.

Uribe said unknown bands usually play for free, but if possible they try to compensate musicians. She also said an opening act is usually given 20 to 30 minutes of show time.

“Typically our starting point is $50,” Uribe said. “But it really depends. Since we are a non-profit venue, our price tends to be a little lower, depending on the band.”

White Skies will be playing in March at The Brick and Mortar Music Hall. Fans can reach their music on their soundcloud webpage or on Facebook.

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