Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Archibald Fountain Guitar Rock Duo

"Musical differences" - that's the pat answer to why the band split up, isn't it?
But, on the flip side, what keeps it together? You'd have to say "musical similarities", yeah?
On the face of it these guys, visually, have differences. But not musically.
They're a novelty for buskerdu - two guitars playing in tight accord. One in the hands of the dude all rock hair and attitude - the other, just about the music. Together, holistic. Nice work.
I must get into the habit of asking if 'groups' have a name. {That's my son, Hunter, slipping them half a buck, btw}

Monday, September 22, 2014

World Square Guitar Percussion

Busking has morphed with the times hasn't it? Once it was defined as the experience you had right there, right then - with possibly a self-promotion element like a business card for gigs or, more recently, maybe a CD.
Now, of course, it's *potentially* as big as the web - and a degree of culpability lies with this very blog.
At the same time, there seems to me a shift in buskers' material. There has always been real talent on the streets, but I'm sensing a move away from the personal with more tailoring towards a broader audience. There's starting to be slicker product out there - what's next for busking?

Art & About Ukulele Smiths

About 20 years ago [!] I saw a busker working the main drag in Adelaide at about 10 pm. Had quite a crowd [really not a lot of competition, entertainmentwise]. Anyway, his very memorable USP was that he was doing Smiths numbers - in an upbeat style! It worked.
In all that time since, I've never seen anyone else cover The Smiths - until today. And what was extra cool about this - apart from being situated among the Art & About photos near St James station in Hyde Park - was that it was being performed with a ukulele. Again, it worked - genius.
I usually ask first before filming - but I was so overcome at hearing the Moz lyrics with uke accompaniment that I dived straight in.
Jonathan was very good about it & handed me his card - he is, indeed, available for weddings, parties, anything - & can be reached at

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Circular Quay Hula Hooper

A lot of my (I say "my", I mean, you know, generally) buskers just stand there and do their thing. Usually musical.
But there's another breed of street performer that is more proactive in audience engagement. In situ marketing you could call it.
If hula hoop girl* just stood there and did her thing my guess is most strollers would pass on by. But she's got that performer chutzpah - where do they get that? - which practically demands you pay attention. And a crowd did indeed start to form.
Circuses and bread.
*And I'm sure she has a multitude of other talents, I just didn't have time to view the full "show".

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Town Hall Spanish Guitar & Singer

I wouldn't say Spanish guitar players are a dime a dozen exactly, but it is a fairly crowded niche in the busking game, and you need to be pretty special to stand out. [see: Tom Ward] I don't mean to slight the doubtless years of dedication to the craft, but, well - I'm less inclined to include yet another one (even superbly skilled).
So, while this guy wasn't a display of technical brilliance, the combination with singing was a winner. I just missed him doing a top notch job of 'Girl from Ipanema' - shame - anyway... only too happy to give a plug for his website.

Monday, January 20, 2014

World Square Rap + Guitar

A melding of genres - and damn me if it doesn't work. I think I'm pretty open-minded for an old fart, but I still feel they play a bit too much rap on FBi.
These two, however, blend & click well. Would have happily stuck around for more.
Busker Du spotters - isn't Frances Castley my Bondi Junction Chanteuse from August last year? I think it is (& looking hot in those shorts).
Other passersby must have reacted to the chemistry as well - their guitar case was Stuffed with Note$$. The life of the muso, eh?

Monday, January 13, 2014

World Square Troubador

Sorry, World Square Troubador. Sorry for a couple of things. First for particularly (even for me) poor vid quality - shaky, thumb over lens, decapitation etc. And second, for taking so long to post your minute and a half after I said it would be up in a couple of days.
WST deserved better - he's got true blue busker cred: irrepressibly upbeat and totally into it. Prosperous travels, friend!

Town Hall Wheelchair Harmonica

I went past a guitar guy just the other day who had severe, unmissable facial deformities. What song was he singing at that moment? Radiohead's "Creep". ..."I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo..." - all with a huge smile on his harshly malformed and discoloured face. I didn't have time to catch it. I wish I had and I get the feeling he wouldn't have minded at all. He just seemed too full of life to give a stuff. He was also so into the music that the shock of his countenance swiftly faded. But that was that guy.
This is this guy - who obviously has major problems of his own. The thing is, when I first caught the sound of his playing, I THOUGHT the tune was "What a wonderful world". Made me stop and re-evaluate things. It wasn't - but still, you know what I mean?

Pitt Mall Guitar Picker + Bez

Oh you must watch this - priceless! Who remembers Bez, that vital component of the Happy Mondays? The delightful, enigmatic elevation of their music through completely unselfconscious, joyous dancing.
This living treasure in Pitt Mall carries on the Bez torch. The carefree confidence of our guitar picker only makes the moment more magical.

Westfield Burwood Xmas Brass Band

Oo, look at the arty camera work - could be David Lynch. Well, there just wasn't anywhere to stand, so I improvised.
Anyway, quite an awesome responsibility taking out the kids' brass band to drum up some seasonal pocket money. Excellent spot for passing trade though and, accident or design, the acoustics of the escalator well (?) produced a pleasing echoey quality. Also a bit Lynch-y.

Hyde Park Bagpipes

My first bagpipes! And the real deal, this fellow. I asked him he'd heard of Husker Du. He hadn't. But in the two syllables or so it took him to inform me, I could tell he had every right to be brandishing this instrument.
And full marks for presentation. Looked authentic without going over the top. And his selection didn't seem to rely on the usual saws, "You take the high road" etc. Hope he's raking it in.