The Beauty and the Busker

The streets are alive with the sound of busking and Sam Blackburn has the low down on the topic, along with a special mention to his favourites

Sam Blackburn
20th February 2017

In cities with culture, you tend to find some amazing buskers, people so talented that you feel obliged to give them some form of money… in Newcastle though, that’s not the case. If you walk around Newcastle you will notice that most of the buskers appear to be pretty boys who care more about their fashion sense than the shit music they’re playing, usually covering every Ed Sheeran song imaginable. I’m sorry to inform you lot that you’re talentless and that I’ll only be impressed if you start playing good songs like Domination by Pantera. Regardless of these Harry Styles wannabes infesting the streets, there are some worth checking out.

“Most buskers appear to be pretty boys...Harry Styles wannabes infesting the streets”

Outside Sainburys on Northumberland street you may have came across two lads playing electric guitars. If you are an uneducated heathen you may have ignored it because they’re not playing any of that derivative indie crap you rave about so much. If you know what good music is though, you will notice that these two fine musicians are shredding all day long, playing a plethora of hit rock and metal songs. If you’re fortunate, you can sometimes catch them playing Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I would highly recommend looking out for these guys.

If metal isn’t your thing, you might be more inclined to listen to a street bassist known as Ojay. I remember seeing Ojay for the first time back in 2010 outside Haymarket. It was when I first started playing bass and I was just amazed by is ability to groove with such a funky sound. Armed with a plethora of effects pedals, Ojay sits around different parts of town, playing a long to some interesting and progressive pieces of music. Ojay’s bass playing is so good that a worldwide bass players group I am part of on Facebook has shared multiple videos of him playing, pretty much putting Newcastle on the map.

I’d like to give my last mention to quite possibly my favourite busker in all of town. I am not aware of his name, but you can find him a long Northumberland street as well as near the Granger Market, armed with his acoustic guitar and accompanied by his dog. This guy hasn’t got the perfect X Factor voice what would make Simon Cowell cream his pants, but neither did Bob Dylan. What this guy has is passion to perform and sing for the passers-by. Instead of playing boring indie and pop hits, this guy has range, singing a different song every time I walk past him.

“Instead of playing boring indie and pop, this guy has a range...singing a different song every time I walk past ”

I first noticed him when he was singing R.E.M’s hit song “Man on the Moon” a few years back, and from then on I have always looked out for this guy. Unlike Mr perfect with his fine cut hair and clothes from a Topman window display playing songs to try and show girls he’s more than just a Neanderthal who wears pretty clothes, this busker actually has talent. Plus when Newcastle are playing he dresses his Dog in a Newcastle top.

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