SAN FRANCISCO — Battling engine noise and a cramped stage area at the back of the bus, San Francisco-based songwriter Goh Nakamura brought his brand of electric folk onto a double-decker mobile venue in the latest installment of Soundwave’s AudioBus Series on July 19.
Nakamura provided a live soundtrack for passengers on a 40-minute charted tour around SOMA, through disused quarters where double-decker sightseeing buses are never spotted.
The set list kicked off with the “Embarcadero Blues,” a song about losing a day’s $30 paycheck to a $35 parking ticket but really about waiting on true love in The City. His catalog includes a stripped-down acoustic cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” suited to his soulful, sweet voice and style suggestive of Elliot Smith. Another recognizable song concerns the misery of public transportation titled “Another One Rides the Bus,” stapled to the tune of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”
His exoteric songs about dreams and longing are never short of humor and irony. The route he mapped out is symbolic of the “barreness and distance” of waiting. However, the route is mainly biographical, the site where he worked as a busboy and later for a brewing company.
Nakamura says his songwriting involves “being a kid again and trying to restore those feelings,” who cites the Beatles and Bob Dylan as lifelong influences.
Nakamura’s second album, Ulysses, is slated for release in August.