Ten Depot is a restaurant/lounge conveniently located at Ten Depot St. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the campus. Just follow 5th St. down to its end where it intersects with Depot Street and it’s the squarish brick building in front of you.
The front door leads into the restaurant and the side door to the left leads directly into the lounge. Ten Depot has a fine mahogany bar and behind it is a large mirror with mahogany trim. It wouldn’t look out of place in a western or film noir.
I notice the bartender is a type I haven’t seen in awhile; he’s a guy with a long ponytail and dressed like a cowboy. He reminds me of a shorter and stockier version of Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers.
The music is played at the far end of the room. The microphones are set out and a few guitars are in evidence.
EOU student Luke Basile, who hosts the event, is going over the finer points of the sound system and chatting with one of the performers.
Basile has the system tuned up. The ceilings in Ten Depot are very high and it has parquet flooring which adds a nice ambience to the sound.
The first player has a beautiful guitar patterned after a Martin OM and it sounds as good as it looks. He does several recognizable cover songs including a couple by Elvis.
There’s a few minutes pause between performers. Eventually a young man appears who is somewhat nervous.
He doesn’t project vocally all that well, which I again attribute to nervousness. He also misses a few chords but has the good sense to play through them rather than stop and start over.
At one point he gets through a song and says, “Yay!” and the audience laughs with him. He’s really not bad at all, just lacking in confidence which comes with experience.
The first player comes back with more songs and he’s followed by a guy with a Mohawk haircut and a bongo player. They sound great.
Two girls share the stage doing some Americana/Country songs. They have very good voices individually and harmonize well together.
I like the way Basile hosts the event. He is encouraging to all the performers and even when he’s chatting he has one ear on the sound system, ready to make adjustments.
During this time Basile has gotten his beautiful Takimine guitar out to accompany some of the performers. Basile is a good guitarist and a very good accompanist. His presence always augments, and never detracts from a song.
The rest of the evening is sort of a free-for-all, in a good way. I’m pretty happy when I head home.
As much as I enjoyed the evening, I would suggest a neophyte performer prone to nervousness start somewhere else. Much of the Ten Depot audience is there to eat dinner, not listen to music.
It can be disconcerting to have a good portion of your visible audience not caring what you do. Also, dropped silverware or rattling plates can be a distraction.
This is not a slam on Ten Depot, we are very fortunate to have a venue that patronizes live music as much as they do. I would guess they have as much live music monthly as the rest of the La Grande bars put together (karaoke does not qualify as live music).
If you’re up for some good home-grown music, Ten Depot’s open mike night takes place the first Tuesday of every month. Highly recommended.