Opening with a side-splitting anecdote about having spent the afternoon scouring Winchester’s only council estate for the tell-tale signs of a certain kind of salesman (which he described as a BMW in the driveway), Beans on Toast set the tone of what has to have been one of the most entertaining gigs I’ve been to in a long time. Encouraged by a myriad of raucous support bands, including the fantastically impassioned Sean McGowan, not to mention a healthily liberal supply of drinks from the bar, Beans was right at home amongst a tremendously rowdy crowd at the Joiners Arms.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of stumbling across Beans’ work, I’d strongly recommend checking him out because my description won’t do him justice, but it’s basically a mix of simple chords, an infectiously gravelly voice and hilarious yet subtly poignant lyrical satire. With a subject matter pertaining to include anything from cocaine to global warming, his musical nuances on life are as random as they are brilliant. Inspired by a tremendous back catalogue of misbegotten adventures, they invariably provide surprisingly insightful pearls of wisdom.
After promising to just play and stop talking, Beans made it about 30 seconds into ‘Old Grunge’ before stopping to take the piss out of someone in the audience and tell another story. This might sound annoying, but his endless supply of between and often mid-song witticisms do nothing but add to his endearing onstage charisma. The crowd loved it, utilising the participative element to dictate the set list and occasionally the speed at which he performed, in an endless banter enthused back and forth. The only mild downside was his rush through ‘MDMAmazing’, which in all due credit, he justified on the basis of having played the song to death over the years. All was forgiven after his tremendous encore anyway, for which he performed ‘Blowjob for the Blues’ and welcomed any and all of the girls onto the stage, even handing a spare microphone to a particularly merry patron who had been pestering him to get onstage all night.
All in all the night affirmed my conviction that Beans on Toast is by far one of the most underrated English artists in circulation today, yet is somehow all the better for it. If you ever get the chance to catch one of his sets I strongly implore you.