Now if Russell Brand and Billy Bragg got together and had a child, I think it’s more than safe to say that their name would be Beans on Toast. With a self-deprecating but vocal tone to the night, along with politically-charged lyrics, troubadour and storyteller, Beans on Toast, enthused his crowd at Glasgow’s Stereo.
With seven studio albums in his back catalogue, Beans on Toast provokes thought on subjects from Prince Harry to Popcorn, from Friendship to Fracking, from Romance to Riots, from Childhood songs to Cartoonist songs and from current events to getting off your head. Simple songs, with no holds barred honest lyrics and quick wit.
Clearly with a DIY ethic, Beans on Toast advocates embracing technology, creating his record at a mate’s house on a laptop, kind of thing. While the tracks performed still possess Beans’ trademark, three chord folk songs each track is very much layered in myriad beats, loops, synths and samples, which all make up new album out on 1st December, A Spanner in the Works.
The evening commenced with incredibly animated Kansas country singer, Sky Smeed, and was followed by duo from Hebden Bridge, Tensheds. Known as the Dandy Punk Prince, there was a blues cabaret vibe to the support band, evidently influenced by artists such as Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and most definitely, Meat Loaf. Singing tracks about such things like being in the doghouse and leading with a track that from the offset sounded like Nightclubbing, whilst getting the crowd releasing their energy, sweating them off with dance moves I could barely comprehend.
As for Beans on Toast, he kicked things off with his lead track and opener from the new album, 2016, which is an ode to the mood of the UK after the tumultuous year we’ve just witnessed. With his fans singing along and the crowd moved, there is a palpable love for Beans in the room. With celebrity deaths, terror threats, the referendum and the worrying rise of fascism, the track’s politically conscious lyrics see Beans trying to make sense of the year and making a stand for what’s right.
With the brilliant Matt Millership from Tensheds collaborating to lay down the keys on a number of tracks throughout the album, there is a wonderful camaraderie to this gig. It must also be noted that despite the album’s musical aesthetic, the gig is very much Beans with a guitar and not a laptop in sight, and it consisted of what his fans seem to love; protest songs, heart-on-sleeve tracks and social commentary.
Presently on tour, as this was only his fourth day of touring, you should check him our whilst you can, even just to get the sense that we are not in it alone, this remorse with 2016.
Sounding fresh and different, A Spanner in the Works, Beans on Toast’s 8th Studio album, will be released on 1st December 2016 on Xtra Mile Recordings.
Find out more about Beans on Toast here.