Thursday, 10 March, 2022 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Live Review: Beans on Toast

Concert: Beans on Toast
Venue: Glasgow Stereo
Date:  03 March 2022

An old (post) punk once sang, “anger is an energy” and that certainly is true when it comes to music. I recently reviewed Idles at Glasgow’s Barrowland (read about it here) and the Bristol rockers positively feed on the anger (and love) of their songs. Musically, Beans on Toast couldn’t be any further removed from Idles but scratch under the surface and lyrically there are more than a few resemblances shining through. 

{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“cb29d715-048e-490b-98f0-475c6917a470″],”srcRootClientId”:””}At the start of the gig, Beans on Toast (aka singer-songwriter Jay McAllister) told the audience we’ll leave behind all the bad stuff in the world and celebrate the good things in life for the next 90 minutes or so. And we did, with songs of love, family, marriage and connecting with his daughter on his favourite albums but there were also barbed songs about climate change, fracking, animal cruelty, the pointlessness of war, social inequality, the absurdity of the monarchy and so on. Therein lies the importance of the Essex troubadour. He gets it, he sees it, he writes about it and he does so in such a way that the audience cannot help but be engaged. We proceeded to go on a musical journey, following the pied piper of indie-folk as he sang songs of anger and love, but always with a smile on his face. 

With over a dozen albums under his belt (always released on his birthday December 1st), the current tour was to help promote new release Survival Of The Friendliest and the gig kicked off with opener A Beautiful Place. Flanked by guitarist Jack Flanagan and bassist Kitty Liv (from Kitty, Daisy & Lewis) it was an assured start, the musicians and the crowd adding some timely oohs and aahs as Blow Volcano Blow thuds along, Flanagan adding intricate guitar swishes throughout. 

The positivity continued with the fresh Not Everybody Thinks We’re Doomed, the music vivacious and Beans’ enthusiasm shining like a beacon, as it did the whole gig. I’m Home When You Hold Me also saw Liv on harmonica duty before developing into a rockabilly/folk track of hope and aspirations. 

Later, Beans played solo on a number of tracks including crowd favourite M.D.M.Amazing which he noted that part of the lyrics may not be 100% true! A Whole Lot of Loving was a truly socially reflective song but don’t take my word for it. As Beans sang “the country is fucked”, it was hard to disagree. 

A real highlight was Humans which saw the raconteur jump into the crowd, singing and dancing together by which time Flanagan and Liv were back on stage to provide the musical backbeat. A cool cover of Break On Through mixed things up before the rockabilly vibe returned on the spectacular Let’s Get Married Again and the closing Love Yourself which saw another fine Flanagan guitar solo. 

A three song encore of Things, Harry In A Helicopter and the magnificent On And On finished off what was an excellent gig.

Beans on Toast is a breath of fresh air in a society polluted by oligarchs, conglomerates, capitalism, a right wing media and a government run by self serving politicians who are only out for themselves. ‘Mon the dreamers!

Survival Of The Friendliest by Beans on Toast is out now. Keep up to date via the website here

 John Welsh






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