Nowhere else would you find yourself eagerly bopping along to a song about the horrors of fracking than at the mercy of a Beans on toast gig (real name Jay McAllister).
As a brief warning, this is not a gig you should attend if you’re at all interested in a KFC bucket or a career at Shell. Beans on Toast’s music blends images of traditional folk with hard-core lyrical protests about politics, the environment and drugs, with the odd old love song occasionally thrown in to ease the rallied crowd. Its inspiring to see such optimistic activism coming straight from the mouth of a folk singer who has managed to build a huge following for himself with the gig being a completely sold out show. Could this be the golden lovechild of Billy Bragg and Bob Dylan? Definitely.
Touring with his new band, Beans has not missed a beat and the stage presence and interactions between all members is natural and full of energy. Its safe to say that this was immediately picked up by the crowd who could do nothing but smile and link arms with the complete stranger stood next to them, because as Beans himself sang in the next song of the night ‘A whole lot of loving’, the worlds a mess and we’re all screwed but let’s have a party anyway.’
Speaking openly about his opinions and what inspired him to write each song, the crowd were able to understand and fully comprehend what he sang about so that the words held much greater meaning and the classic irony that is present in so much of his music could be fully appreciated. He vocalised about the need to boycott Wetherspoons and threw Bamboo toothbrushes into the crowd in a chilled and upbeat manner that not many would be capable of pulling off.
His setlist included his best hits such as The Chicken Song and The War on War which were successful in uniting the audience so that no man was left unwilling to scream along. Even when he played the nursery rhyme Stinging Nettle which he’d originally written for a group of children, everyone was waving their drinks in the air as if it was the anthem of the decade.
His cheerful manner and magnetic presence meant that the show ended on a soaring high and everybody left in a slightly sillier mood, ready to rant to all their friends about the spiritual revolution.
You can stream Beans on Toast’s latest album, ‘A Bird In The Hand’ here.
By Stella Harwood