In the middle of the street

by Joe Kellen

Alright, the folks at A&E understand just as well as you do, buskers can be annoying. The art of street performance is imposing by its very nature, and it can be fantastic when it isn’t heavy-handed. As the sidewalks of downtown fill up with artists this summer, here’s a list of some of the good ones so you’ll have material for comparison.

Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive is a band from Boston that gets their name from Minneapolis’ own Lake Street. This performance is hip-swingingly good with its one-two punch of pitch perfect vocals and grooving rhythm section.

Project Bandaloop

The music is a little cheesy, but Project Bandaloop’s long history of pushing the boundaries of dance make up for it. Their elegance makes the choreography sing and when people are taking photos nonstop during an act, it’s a no-brainer that the artists have created something compelling.

George Kamikawa

This is one of many vids of a one-man band. Combining the passion of blues and infectiousness of pop while keeping it all steady with a four-on-the-floor, Kamikawa attracts passersby and gives a stellar performance.

Anthony Riley

“A Change is Gonna Come” will forever have Sam Cooke’s name written on it, but Riley does the song glorious justice in this rendition. Never forgetting the audience surrounding him, Riley keeps the croon moving and seems to hit his stride at just the right moment.

Jesse Rya

Street art benefits from the fact that being in public allows opportunities for the unexpected, like the collaboration in this video. Jesse Rya’s percussive guitar work and the rich voices of the people who join him make this jam session worth a listen-through.