OnlineRock Blog

29 August 2011

Long Beach Buskerfest Recap, Wishing We Had More Wooden Nickels

By Nancy Woo

Musicians hanging out on the cusp right between stardom and their mother's basement may be familiar with the act of busking - or, playing on the street for money. It's a great way to get yourself heard, and fed. Don't knock it 'til you try it!

This past Saturday in the East Arts Village of Long Beach, CA, busking hit a new high as eleven musical artists competed in the Summer and Music's third annual Buskerfest. The bands or single musicians played on makeshift stages where the true art of busking was reenacted - they weren't allowed any electrical plug-ins, so they really were playing it true on the street. Some got creative with battery-powered hip amps, some got the attention of the audience with vigorous stomping and some just projected surprisingly well. The audience members each got six wooden nickels to throw in the bags of the musicians they liked the best, and the buskers with the most coins at the end won a free vinyl recording at a Long Beach recording studio.

  Supa fun time!


Buskerfest Winner:

So, as sad as we are to have run out of wooden nickels, we want to congratulate the winners of Buskerfest - Wild Pack of Canaries. The people have spoken - the best buskers of the bunch! Now that is some street talent. Unfortunately, I actually missed their performance, but you can check them out online and listen to some tunes at their Myspace page.

They were definitely one of the bands who seemed most interesting, judging by the psychedelic bossa nova-esque songs on their Myspace. They put a fun and unique spin on indie, mixing clashing cymbals with spiraling keyboards and emphatic drums on wavering vocals. The background sounds of swirling and swimming instruments really draw me in. Check them out. And look out for their special vinyl edition of their record In the Parian Flesh out January 2012. You can also see them on Facebook.

Wild Pack of Canaries in the wild of Long Beach.

Honorary Mentions:

1.  Seth Petterson

My personal favorite of the bunch is this guy here, Seth Petterson, who makes some ultra fun surf rock/skate party music that has the perfect blend of catchy grooves and chill psychedelics. 

Seth Petterson in the peaceful glow of the Golden Hour.

Please do yourself a favor and visit his website, where you can listen to a few of the songs. Check out my fave, Baby Buddha! We voted for you, Seth!

2. The VooDuo

In addition to the clever name, this male-female partnership of two rocking badasses make some awesome punkish rockabilly, complete with the leopard print vest and leather stylings. Man, were they rocking it out, the female half of it banging on the drums with the male half of it singing and screaming his lungs out and ripping it up on the guitar. I was impressed by this performance. Listen to their songs from their Myspace, especially the vampire goth song "Drink Your Blood."

You should see the Halloween pics! These two take "dress to impress" to a new (awesome) level.

3. Two Guns

Definitely drawing a crowd with their hip amps and xylophone player, Two Guns put on a fun show playing some easy to get into, interactive pop indie songs, including covers of Buddy Holly and Canned Heat toward the end (always a crowd-pleaser). "Going Down the Country" convinced me to give them a couple of my nickels! Listen to them from their Myspace page.

I don't see any guns...Two Guns.
Thanks to Summer and Music for hosting the 3rd annual Long Beach Buskerfest and giving out the wooden nickels so we could vote! Can't wait 'til next year!

P.S. Last year, Tijuana Panthers played (we featured them on our Top 6 Surf Rock Beach Videos) and they're gaining traction, including playing at the L.A. FYFest coming up September 3rd, so I wonder where we'll see these busking bands next year... and we didn't get to catch all the performances, so I'm sure there were some other good ones out there that day.

Good luck to all the buskers out there!

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