It’s a rare occurrence here in Lawrence to hear a busker playing something quality. I work downtown, live within walking distance of downtown, and all my favorite stores are downtown. Basically, I’m a mallrat, only without the mall. Downtown bar rat, record store junkie, and java fiend. That’s basically the long way of explaining as to why I spend a good portion of my free time kicking around down here.
And, as I spend a healthy portion of my free time wandering here and there as I go about my day, I cover a good portion of downtown Lawrence on a regular basis. Now that the weather’s warming up, downtown brings something other than beer, records, and coffee – buskers.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, buskers are like panhandlers, but rather than just asking you for change, they do something to coerce you into giving them money. It might be singing, dancing, telling jokes, drawing pictures, or – more frequently – playing a guitar. Ah, yes… the singing troubador, playing songs and singing for his supper.
If it were only so wonderful as that description makes it sound. In all actuality, it’s usually some dishelved hobo knocking out bad covers. There’s one gentleman who specializes in classic rock: Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc. Other folks like Johnny Cash or other such old school country. Nirvana seems to be popular with the younger kids, but whatever the artist or genre, the execution is usually warbling off-key and out of tempo with how he’s strumming.
Case in point: this morning, on my way to get change for work, there was a trustafarian young sir singing Nine Inch Nails‘ “Hurt”, but playing what sounded like the chord progression for Jewel‘s “Who Will Save Your Soul?” No lie.
In short, it’d be awesome if I could hear some crust kid knocking out Against Me!‘s “Baby, I’m An Anarchist” or Billy Bragg‘s “The Milkman of Human Kindness.” While I wait, however, there’s going to be quite a few guitar cases sans my change.
Against Me! – “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong“