After a five-month hiatus, I am officially back in the business of busking. The extended break from street performing was mostly because I had neither a portable power supply nor an acoustic violin that I was comfortable with exposing to the elements. Finally, I came to my senses and bought an Electromate 400 so I could power my sound on the street. Also, I splurged on a Bose L1 Compact system for it's crystal clear sound in all ranges. Even though my Yamaha electric violin puts out an awesome authentic tone, none of my amps were doing it justice. The sound from my new Bose, however, is amazing. I used it for the first time this weekend in Seattle, and I was very pleased with its performance.
On Friday afternoon, I started playing at about 2:30 outside of Westlake Mall. There was noise competition from the steel drummer on the block next to me, playing his rendition of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nacht Musik to a loud bassy backing track that he pumped out through a powerful speaker. I played my Bach and various live-looped cover songs regardless. Few people stopped. They seemed to be on their way somewhere, or otherwise pressed for time. The conflicting sounds probably didn't help, either. Eventually, I moved over to the bus stop in Westlake Park to perform for those waiting for their ride home, but not before meeting a guitarist named Nate. We jammed for a while on some of his original tunes.
At about 4:00 I set up at the bus stop across the street in Westlake Park and played until just after dusk. Tips accumulated at least three times more quickly over here. One woman in particular stood close to me and listened. I remembered her from the summer. Between songs, she said, "I heard you from down the street, and I came running. I've missed you!" She requested a certain song. Then she told me to play it again, and again. I gladly obliged. She apologized for not having any money on her, but I assured her that her enthusiasm about my music was more valuable to me than any number of dollars that she could put in my case.
I spent most of my time on Saturday busking just above the Public Market on First and Pike. It was my first $100 day in a long time, but the first dollar was the most memorable. A woman with a notable East coast accent asked me if I really had a dog. (The image in my case of the silhouette of me with Jack and my cart was her clue.) I told her that I did, indeed, have a dog. She pulled a dollar out from her purse and dropped it in my case. Smiling, I protested, "Thanks, but you haven't heard me play yet!" She said, "That's okay. I like dogs, but I don't care much for people." I laughed out loud, but I don't think she was joking.
Stay tuned for more adventures in busking, among other things.