The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

Taking center stage

The Depot and KSFS collaborate to amplify SF State bands.
Andrew Fogel
A crowd waves glow sticks during DJ Mandy’s set at the KSFS @ Jack Adams Hall Halloween show, which was co-hosted by The Depot, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Andrew Fogel/Xpress Magazine)

Eager fans stand in Halloween costumes. Holding foam light sticks, they wait around the stage in Jack Adams Hall, located at the top of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The Depot and SF State radio station KSFS welcome the crowd while they wait for the two opening bands to start with song covers— Ilbie with “My Bloody Valentine” and Juniper with “The Cure” — before DJ Mandy can take the stage. Under the multi-colored flashing lights, Juniper begins to play.

DJ Mandy performs during her set at the KSFS @ Jack Adams Hall Halloween show, which was co-hosted by The Depot, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Mandy would blow up on TikTok for her creative mash-ups and purposefully flawed song transitions. (Andrew Fogel/Xpress Magazine) (Andrew Fogel)

The crowd of approximately 500 people chant “DJ Mandy” and absorb the new style of DJ and comedy show that DJ Mandy has gone viral for on TikTok. 

The Depot, a concert venue at SF State, is open to students Mondays through Thursdays 6-9 p.m., providing students and the public with live music, art events and open mics. Located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, the campus venue works together with KSFS for monthly Thursday night shows that help bands from SF State and the Bay Area grow.

“The goals of the Depot is just the students, and provide the students on campus with something to do on Thursday nights, or any of our nights, to provide entertainment and events,” said Depot manager Michelle Yang.

KSFS is a student-run radio station located on the second floor of the George and Judy Marcus Hall. The relationship between the Depot and KSFS is something that KSFS general manager Kyle Finelli-Bass has worked hard to maintain for the past year and a half. 

“We’ve made a lot of really good progress, both me and the Depot working together,” said Finelli-Bass. “Because now being in the local music scene, I’ll have people hit me up recognizing that SF State is an established music venue.”

Associated Students funds the Depot allowing the events to be free, along with all other programs. The Depot uses that budget to book bands and host events.

“We have a lot of different programs and a lot of different opportunities that not other CSUs might have, which I think makes our campus different and special,” said Lorena Mejia, a student organization representative for Associated Students. “I think it’s something really nice that our students are allowed to have: a space to provide music and have different shows.”

When the Depot and KSFS work together, they are able to put on a bigger show for SF State students. The last Thursday of each month is reserved for KSFS. The Depot gives them a budget to find bands and artists from all over the DIY music scene to come perform on campus.

Finelli-Bass was excited to bring this show to life for SF State students. Having DJ Mandy and two local cover bands would make this his biggest show to date. Finelli-Bass was proud of the hard work he put into the show, including details such as the playlists that would be played in between each set.

(L-R) Kyle Finelli-Bass, the general manager for KSFS, and Lukas Whipple, the lead singer of Juniper, speak to the crowd before Juniper’s performance at the KSFS @ Jack Adams Hall Halloween show, which was co-hosted by The Depot, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Andrew Fogel/Xpress Magazine)

Juniper was able to open the show after getting in contact with Finelli-Bass, who ended up giving them a performance spot at the Depot . It was the first time that the band from Tracy, California, had performed at the Depot, and they were thrilled to bring their music to SF State students.



“As much as we stay together, there seem to be more and more opportunities in the college scene and the DIY scene, which kind of intertwine together,” said Geovany Garcia, the drummer for Juniper. “Those scenes seem to take us in a lot more now, which is really nice because it’s what I’ve always wanted.”

The Depot gives small bands the opportunity to get their foot in the door, giving them the resources and experience they need to potentially get bigger gigs. Performing on the Depot’s stage is the first step for some SF State bands to jump-start their careers. 

Riley Taylor Drake, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in the band Wild Metanoia, is a second-year computer science major at SF State. Drake and his bandmates have performed on the Depot’s stage three times and won third place at the Depot’s Battle of the Bands last semester.

The Depot has helped Wild Metanoia grow as a band, with their first performance only having about 10 people in the audience, to now booking shows in the East and North Bay. The Depot has had an increase in attendance even with the enrollment decline. 

“I think that the Depot is a great platform, especially for the student-age artist trying to find their footing in a very competitive local music scene,” said Drake.

Being in a band and being a full-time student can be a lot to handle. Drake is the only member of the band that attends SF State and often has to drive back to the North Bay to meet the other members for practice. 

With midterms, Drake has to juggle more tests and projects, while also trying to fit in weekly band practice. Drake said he finds it easier to have a full schedule of things that he cares about to keep the momentum going. 

“You have to be kind to yourself when things start to get rough,” said Drake. “You always have to remember that there are going to be rough patches, but you’ve just got to get over it and work through that slump.”

People pose for a picture before DJ Mandy’s set at the KSFS @ Jack Adams Hall Halloween show, which was co-hosted by The Depot, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Andrew Fogel/Xpress Magazine) (Andrew Fogel)

The Depot has been operating for many years and in the past there have been some big bands that have performed on its stage such as The Growlers and Osees. Drake says it has been a goal to perform on the same stage as Osees, one of his favorite bands. 

Although the Depot has largely featured indie bands these past few years, events featuring bigger-name bands would still be free for students, according to Mejia.

Students are able to spend their weeknights at the Depot enjoying the live music and performances from their peers. 

Hannah Maaloul, a second-year criminal justice major, takes advantage of the free events that the Depot provides. Maaloul tries to go to the Depot about once a month, and if she has a friend who is performing there, then sometimes more. Having attended shows 10 or more times since her first year, Maaloul appreciates the Depot for giving her a space to make new friends and bond over a shared love for music.

“It gives students a platform to express themselves and be able to share their music without feeling so much pressure,” said Maaloul. “We are all students; we know they are students. We know things happen and people mess up. It’s more of a welcoming space.”

Maaloul doesn’t have many complaints about the Depot and how they run shows. However, she wishes moshing was allowed when the Depot and KSFS bring punk bands to the small venue. She hopes that the Depot gets more exposure to try and get more people to come to the events.  

The partnership between the Depot and KSFS has kickstarted local bands’ careers. They hope to continue giving local artists the space they need to share their art with SF State students.

“SFSU has had such historic shows, and I’m trying to make it like that and that part of history,” said Finelli-Bass. 

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About the Contributors
Sydney Williams, Social Media Editor
Sydney Williams (she/her) is the social media editor for Xpress Magazine. She is a transfer student at SF State majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. Sydney is originally from Bakersfield, California, and resides in San Francisco. She previously served as the opinions editor and lead page designer on CSU Bakersfield’s student-run paper, The Runner. Sydney hopes that she gets to learn and grow while being on Xpress magazine this semester. During her free time, Sydney enjoys listening to music, crocheting, and traveling.
Andrew Fogel, Managing Editor
Andrew Fogel is the Managing Editor for Xpress Magazine for the Spring 2024 semester. He's majoring in photojournalism and minoring in labor and employment studies. If he’s not taking photos, Andrew can be found rooting for the various Philadelphia sports teams. He aspires to be either a staff photographer or a sports photographer in the future.

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