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.
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.
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."