Saturday, inferno0069 and I stopped to listen to several sets of street performers as we wandered through downtown Santa Cruz. Only counting the instruments that were being played (worn, carried, or even temporarily put aside didn't count), the final tally was:
16 + epsilon guitars
4 bongo drums, 1 set of drumsticks with a guitar case, and one drum kit with a suitcase as the bass drum.
3 mandolin-like instruments.
1 upright bass
1 set of maracas
1 steel drum, playing the Godfather theme
And 1 bunny (doubled as head-wear)
The man with the bunny was singing that he had a rabbit on his head. I like songs that resonate with current events.
One of the bands was particularly interesting: they were a family who were playing on the sidewalk for charity. The band had an older man on the guitar, woman on the upright bass, and younger boys on the banjo and mandolin. They had a rustic, twangy sound and a whole lot of energy. The other more organized band ("The Pasties", from Washington) also featured a banjo player, but they had a much more poppy/indie sound. They get mad props for being a predominately male band with a female drummer and a pink drum kit :-) Also, I'm beginning to think that its hard to not look bad-ass playing a banjo.
In the evening, we saw Serj Tankian basically run through his new CD. The opener, Fair to Midland, was alright but not something I'm looking to hear more of. Serj was a lot of fun to watch. He has a very expressive face, and several of the the songs lend themselves to exaggerated expressions. The last song in the set was "Elect the Dead", a slow song I hadn't heard before and quite liked. Also, it made me happy that lighters far outnumbered cell phones in the audience.
In the morning, I went over to stalkingmsd's place for amazing crepes and Rock Band. Almost everyone wanted to sing! It was great! I finally got to try the drums, which were a lot of fun. C and I discussed how they could work a keyboard in a while ago. I think the trick is in fooling people into thinking that they're not reading music (music could probably be better coded anyway). Also, with a keyboard, some in-game skills could transfer to a real piano. I'm looking forward to more games like Guitar Rising coming out in the future as the industry realizes that people like learning from their games.