|Photo credit - Jem Mitchel|
Since fist encountering Braintree’s modern day answer to Bob Dylan a couple of years ago, Beans on Toast, a.k.a Jay McAllister has continued to gig and record incessantly, developing an increasingly devoted yet chilled out following, a sizeable contingent of whom are out in force tonight.
Jay’s collaborators on his new long-player, cowpunk duo ‘Truckstop Honeymoon’ are also playing tonight in support, later joining Beans for the new material, the extra musicians adding a welcome dose of order and structure to proceedings, Beans getting things underway with the ever topical ‘A Whole Lot of Loving’, an erudite sideswipe at the anti-immigrant rhetoric currently prevailing in the mainstream media.
The feel-good vibe continues throughout ‘War on War’ as new album tracks ‘The Mudhills Crew’ ‘Afrikaburn’ and ‘The Children of Bedford’ are interspersed with firm favourites like ‘New Shoes Blues’ ‘I Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury’ and ‘MDMA-mazing’, at one point Jay taking a swig from his bottle of bourbon, then proceeding to pass it amongst the audience.
There are stories galore too, in between and even during songs, at one point Beans even performing a couple of numbers sat down amongst the audience, adding to the intimate feel. Jay clearly can write songs for fun as we get ‘Flying Clothes Line’ written especially for a friend’s wedding plus the heartfelt tributes to his other half including the new track ‘I’m At Home When You Hold Me’.
We’re even treated to a brand new festive ditty ‘This Christmas’ a collaboration featuring Beans and folk quintet Skinny Lister, the proceeds from which will go to the homeless charity Shelter….already on my stocking filler list.
Words - Mike Price
Beans On Toast official