Unplanned late-night jam session brings crowd while spoken word Depot event canceled
While the scheduled open mic night ended early due to lack of audience, an impromptu band audition in Malcolm X Plaza brought crowd and connection
February 9, 2023
The Depot’s darkened stage reinforced the long-standing belief that SF State has trouble giving students the typical college experience. Wednesday’s spoken word open mic night, scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m., was canceled due to a lack of interest after just 45 minutes, according to The Depot’s Instagram story.
As a group of friends descend the stairs of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, they ask a couple of stragglers sitting at The Depot tables about the event, only to be met with disappointment.
Around the same time as The Depot’s event and just a few feet away, an impromptu jam session in Malcolm X Plaza began, which not only drew in a crowd of about 40 people, but kept their interest as well. Liberal Studies transfer student Marc Carranza, 25, watched despite the late hour, nodding his head in time to the music, a box of sugar-free Red Bull by his feet.
“I was just on my way back from the store and I cut through here because I live in the apartments down the way,” Carranza said, gesturing in the direction of Arellano Ave. “I was planning to use the Red Bull to stay up all night and study, but then I saw these guys.”
When asked if he knew about the school sponsored spoken word night, Carranza, originally from Huntington Beach, said he had no idea those kinds of things happened on-campus and that he would have attended if he knew those kinds of events were offered.
“As a transfer student, sometimes it’s hard to know what goes on around here,” Carranza said. “I’m fairly new to the area, and I’m still trying to find my people.”
Kai deJesus and Jeriah Vue, the plaza performers, are not SF State students, but deJesus’s girlfriend, Abby Villaverde, attends school here as a second year Business major. DeJesus, 20, and Vue, 20, are in the midst of a search for new members for their band, so, at the suggestion of Villaverde, 19, they came to SF State with a drum kit, a guitar and an amp in tow to see if they could spark some interest.
“I didn’t think I needed to ask permission to have them come here,” Villaverde said. “No one has stopped us yet, so I guess it’s okay.”
According to SFPD’s website, there are four ordinances for which students can be cited. None of them pertain to noise disturbances or requiring permits for music performances.
With deJesus on the drums and Vue, perched on the amp, playing a cherry red Fender electric guitar, the duo went through a couple beats of punk and surf rock songs as more and more people pulled out their phones and stopped in their tracks to listen.
Applied Mathematics major Ishmael Gravatt, 22, was just passing by when he heard deJesus and Vue, but gave the two his full attention, stowing away both his AirPods.
“What made me stop was that I thought I heard a song I recognized before,” Gravatt said. “I wanted to take my headphones out and record them because they sound pretty good.”
Gravatt also said he didn’t know about the event at The Depot.
After listening to the jam session for over an hour, Carranza, who said he has been playing music since he was six years old, got up and introduced himself to deJesus and Vue, eventually taking over the drumming role, where he and Vue ran through a couple songs to the delight of the crowd.
By 7:30 p.m., most of the crowd scattered and the jam session packed it in, and Carranza resumed his trek home. He had good news to share.
“I actually have an audition with them next week,” Carranza said.