Photo: Beans on Toast’s Facebook
It’s not been long since Beans On Toast last paid the south a visit – just at the start of December he played the much larger Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. That night married Beans’ carefree, happy-go-lucky irreverence with his deeper, more serious political anger as after a stunning set he learned onstage of the Government’s vote to launch a bombing campaign in Syria, inspiring him to play ‘I’m Gonna Kill David Cameron’, a song he usually considers “too hateful” to play.
If that show was Beans at his most intense and on-point, then tonight is certainly one of his more shambolic affairs. Only managing to get through a few songs before relying on requests or perhaps divine intervention to make it through the set, and performing only a few fully over the whole night without forgetting a verse or simply getting distracted, he brings the small Joiners together in a new level of unprofessional intimacy. As usual there are more jokes in the set than there are chords, yet he still pulls off drunken abandon in a way no one else can.
Although the usual crowd favourites ‘MDMAmazing’, ‘Charlie’ and ‘I Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury’ get the biggest sing-alongs, even a few brand new tracks written since he released last year’s Rolling Up the Hill have the majority of the audience’s fullest attention. The show ends with half the crowd on stage, one of them taking the guitar for a rendition of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ before Beans finishes with ‘The Price of Rice’.
Is this Beans at his best? No. Although fun and entertaining as ever, his ramshackle style and eminent positivity can and has been used to greater effect, and tonight’s show feels neither as important or as brilliantly effortless as they have in the past.
JOE GILBERTSON @