Live Review – Beans On Toast @ The Castle & Falcon

Beans On Toast

The Castle & Falcon

Review by Mae Simkin

Beans On Toast

Not much can beat a sold out gig at The Castle & Falcon and the atmosphere was brilliant from before doors to the end of the gig. Everyone was having a blast and it really was a night to remember.

Kicking things off was the keyboard master, punk solo artist Tensheds. As soon as he stepped on stage he owned it singing in his gravelly tones. He showed some serious ability on the keys, in fact I don’t think I have ever witnessed someone make the keys sound so good. It was effortless. No wonder they call him “Magic Fingers Matt”. That and the use of both a kick effect and a harmonica solo in the final song, I really was amazed.

It really is impressive for one man to be able to entice a whole crowd. Everyone’s focus was on him and it was great to see that the venue was already packed out with people there to watch the support act. I am unable to mention specific songs as he didn’t say the titles but his latest album ‘Deathrow Disco’ which came out last year is definitely worth checking out.

Once he departed the stage he immediately headed to the merch stand to meet people before preparing to return to the stage joining Beans On Toast’s band as he played keys and bass for the headline act of the night.

It wasn’t long before the man himself Jay McAllister a.k.a. Beans On Toast took to the stage. The folk singer kicked things off with ‘There Is Always Money For A War’, a track which seems to be always relevant. The gig goers sang along looking up at the man taking centre stage; just him and his guitar. After this track he then welcomed his brilliant band onto the stage. Throughout the set they switched instruments making me for one very aware of how much talent was on stage.

Not only did he have a very competent band but also – for some songs – a brass trio joined the small stage to create an absolutely incredible sound. The sound all night was brilliant, no issues which is a rarity, especially with so many people/instruments on stage. The sound guy did wonders. Jay made some jokes about the tight stage before playing some of his latest material off what he describes as his rock n roll album, ‘The Inevitable Train Wreck’. His material is all quite real and thought provoking. Some of the themes can be quite dark or depressing yet throughout the entire gig the crowd were incredibly positive. It was beautiful to see.

I personally enjoyed ‘Saying Thank You to Robots’ and ‘Take Your Shit Home With You’ from his latest record but as always at shows, the people want to hear all the old material too. The crowd really warmed up to ‘Watching The World Go By’ as they all started to sing at the top of their lungs. He also got us to laugh, a lot, he is genuinely really funny. At one point I was laughing so much I felt like I had been transported to a comedy show. He had some great anecdotes, including one about the windows in Germany believe it or not, but what I found really lovely was how much of a genuine, lovely human he is. He cares about what he is singing about and he wants his fans to have a great time.

There was the perfect balance of old and new material. Some of the set was just Jay singing away with his guitar which he told us is called Peter before singing a song about leaving his old guitar, Martin, on the train. Like a lot of people in the room I felt a bit sad to hear this was the case but turns out he did get it back in the end! There was a sigh of relief.

Officially, his last song of the night was ‘Life Goes On’ and people sang drunkenly to the chorus but he then proceeded to perform an encore where people could request the songs they wanted to hear. I think the encore was about six songs long which is definitely the longest encore I have ever witnessed an artist do. Amongst the tracks, was a song about Halloween which he said he could perform because of the full moon, his famous ‘Chicken Song’ which sort of made me want to go vegetarian before finally finishing with ‘Price of Rice’.

This sort of gig is not really my regular night at a music venue but I really enjoyed myself. I would one hundred percent see Beans On Toast again. In fact, it is the most fun I have had and best atmosphere I have felt at a gig in a while. Would recommend to anyone.

All-in-all a successful sold out show in Birmingham for the British folk singer – we will definitely welcome him back and his promises to do so next year.