The Depot looks to bring in bigger and better talent

SF State usually isn’t on the list of stops for touring bands, but that may be starting to change this semester and students might be able to catch acts they missed at Outside Lands, right here on campus.

The Depot, Cesar Chavez Student Center’s designated performance venue, has received significantly more attention in the music scene during the last year according to the spot’s interim manager, Gio Acosta, who took over this semester.

“We just started pushing for better bands,” Acosta said. “And getting the bands on campus to come out, getting their friends to come out, that helped.”

This now allows the school to attract bigger acts, such as the Stone Foxes, a rising local band who opened up the third day of this year’s Outside Lands. They’ll be playing at The Depot Oct. 4.

“We wanted to get them before they became unreachable,” said Acosta, an anthropology major who graduated last year, but continues to take off-campus classes through SF State.

Negotiations are also in motion to bring the Swedish band Little Dragon to campus, another name from this year’s Outside Lands. The show at SF State depends on how her concerts at the Mezzanine sell on Oct. 8 and 9.

Last year, The Depot hosted the buzzing indie-band The Soft Pack in a heavily packed show. And earlier this year, the Rhythms Music Festival, the school’s first, hosted a pair of New York DJs known as Designer Drugs, and the respected Del the Funky Homosapien.

Franko Ali, an SF State student and publicity manager for the Student Center who started the festival, said the music festival should be back next April. Acosta promises more big names are in the works, though he can’t say who until next week.

There are many other factors that go into booking a band. Anything from having enough audio equipment to support the act’s live show to having a private room, or even having the ability to provide the group with free alcohol, can be a factor.

“Typical rock star things,” Acosta said.

For the most part, The Depot is student-run and student-funded, and so the quality of the acts is heavily dependent on the managers who run it. Although, in order to bring in the larger acts, the University will co-sponsor and contribute money to The Depot’s budget.

Most of the bands that play The Depot are paid anywhere between $50 and $100. Even on open mic nights money is often given out through raffles, both of which are funded by student fees.

Students can get involved by emailing comments and suggestions to The Depot or writing on their Facebook page.

“When I first came here I was glad my school provided me with shows,” said Stephanie Escoto, assistant interim manager at The Depot and third year business student. “Because that’s my hobby, I like going to shows every weekend.”