Band’s impromptu show a big hit in Malcolm X Plaza


SF State students Andrew Harley, Trevor Ramirez and Alec Kersenboom freestyle a mix of jazz, soul, funk, and R&B in the Malcolm X Plaza at SF State after they performed at the open mic in the Depot on Thursday Feb 5, 2015. Photo by: Emma Chiang

Psychedelic sounds reverberated through the air Thursday night as student passersby were drawn to Malcolm X Plaza where a musical trio spontaneously started to jam.

The unnamed group, comprised of freshman Alec Kersenboom, freshman Andrew Harley and junior Trevor Ramirez, played improvised psychedelic jam rock reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane after being cut short at The Depot’s open mic night.

“We were low on the list so we didn’t get to play long,” said bass player Andrew Harley. “(The Depot) gave us a show so they must have liked us, but we wanted to keep playing so we came up here.”

Once outside, the band set up their gear and drew a crowd of approximately 45 people at around 8:30 p.m.  The sound of Harley’s red Rickenbacker bass guitar rumbled the ground as Kersenboom’s blonde telecaster guitar cut through the brisk evening air and Ramirez’s drums thundered against the walls of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.  The crowd joyously danced along to the music as the band played improvisational songs without lyrics, as well as a Jimi Hendrix cover.

Kersenboom, who plays guitar, and bass player Harley met in Hermosa Beach, California during high school.  After moving up to San Francisco in August, the duo met Ramirez and the three started to play music together, according to Harley.

During the concert, freshman Andrew Sanders was the most animated of the group of onlookers, dancing as if he were a psychedelic flower child of the ’60s.

“I knew I had to shred everything into existence, and I did.” Sanders said of his dancing.

University Police Department drove past the scene but didn’t attempt to stop the music. The band stopped the performance at approximately 9:30 p.m. when Ramirez broke a drum stick while Harley hinted to the crowd that the song would be the last late-night jam session.

“I loved it,” said environmental science major Makena Guthrie. “Really good vibes.”

Despite pleas for an encore from onlookers, the crowd dispersed at the end of the set with smiles on their faces after being treated to the surprise session.