8th February 2019
Even the angriest of Angry Young Men mellow with both age and domestic bliss. Such, I would suggest, has been the case with each of the unholy trinity of English alt-Folk: Frank Turner, Will Varley and Jay “Beans on Toast” McAllister. Add in the joys of parenthood to the mix, as with our host this evening, and the songwriting generally takes on a whole new slant.
Beans on Toast's new album, A Bird in the Hand, features at least three songs written for, or at least referencing, his recently arrived daughter. None of which, I am pleased to relate, sound remotely mawkish. Indeed, I cannot imagine any parent listening to and not being moved by Magic.
That is not to say, of course, that BoT's trademark acerbic wit is absent from the set: as evidenced by the fact Amazon's spy-in-our-homes Alexa, the planet's obsession with disposable plastic, plus the UK's ongoing homelessness scandal are all targeted with the artiste's unerring aim. Whilst a few others (Good Health & Happiness, Watching the World Go By) visit that chilled-out-hippy vibe the man mines so well.
Unusually, this evening BoT was, for many of the tunes, accompanied by a band – half of which comprised the show's two support acts: Benjamin Folke Thomas and Jess Morgan.
|Benjamin Folke Thomas|
|Beans on Toast|
Performing barefoot, and in khaki trousers clearly way too large for him (as he had to constantly hoik them back up), the endearingly dishevelled BoT entertained us all with pretty much a complete run through of his latest album, along with a smattering of older, (generally crowd-requested) ones. His best known tune MDM Amazing was aired – even though he had previously assured us on the Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee influenced War on War that:
“I've given up smoking cigarettes,
I stopped taking cocaine too.
And I don't do MDMA no more.”
Throughout the show an underfed-looking local in a cap (who, it has to be said, was punching way above his weight girlfriend-wise) had been bellowing out requests. BoT finally acceded to the lad's demand to play Pub in Holloway during one of the encores. Then, in what initially appeared to be a tactic just to stop the guy shouting along with the song as it was performed, invited the lad up on stage to sing along. I initially thought this was going be a real train smash - but to the astonishment of everyone, BoT included I would attest, the guest vocalist proceeded to perform the whole tune almost word-perfect. And, trust me, there are a lot of words in that song.
Respect, My Man
|"And as a special guest this evening.....|
|.....someone who probably knows the lyrics to my songs better than I do"|
|Jess joined Mr. BoT for a duet midway through the show.|
|Beans on Toast - Glasgow - February 2019|
(in no particular order, and there may have been one or two more.
Indeed, I could even have dreamt a couple of those listed below).
Good Health & Happiness
Here at Homerton Hospital
Watching the World Go By
Miss You like Crazy
Smells Like Bullshit
Down the Pub
I'm Home When You Hold Me
The War on War
A Whole Lot of Loving
Peter Pan's Playground
The Price of Rice
The Pub in Holloway
Afternoons in the Sunshine