GIG REVIEW: Beans on Toast at The Bodega, Nottingham

Music brings people together in a way few things do, and live shows more so. But there’s something even more special about gigs with Beans on Toast.

Perhaps it’s the way he knows his audience so well that everyone loves his supports, perhaps it’s the way he manages the perfect mix of songs and storytelling, or perhaps it’s the way he perfectly judges the mood of the night and keeps spirits buoyant. Whatever his secret talent is – perhaps just caring about music so much it’s ingrained into his stage presence – his shows feel like a secret gem; a special place people come to feel invigorated.

Don’t be fooled by his recorded sound: Beans on Toast might be one man, but there’s a lot more to his show than him and a guitar. For most of the show he’s joined by his partner in crime Bobby Banjo, but there are a few more special collaborations through the night. The highlight of these, and of the whole evening, comes in the form of a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’, where he’s joined on stage by both his supports, Tensheds and Sky Smeed.

Tensheds also makes an appearance earlier in the night. After the self proclaimed drunk folk singer says a few words on how one of his songs, ‘Things’ came together, the pair deliver a special performance of the track. It’s made special because despite the song being a fan favourite, it’s a piano based one: having never toured with a pianist or an appropriate instrument, it had previously remained untouched at live shows.

READ MORE: An Interview with Beans on Toast

Beans on Toast’s songs hit a nice medium of personal, political and amusing. The night begins with what at first glance might be considered a brief recap on the unmitigated sack of shite that 2016 has been, but he promises his gig won’t all be doom and gloom. Sweeping through love songs and storytelling, the show buzzes along to past the venue’s curfew, because what else would you expect from a Beans of Toast gig? Though he tries to keep the night as upbeat as can be reasonably expected, he takes a moment to slip in a new song – ‘I Think Everybody Should Be Terrified’. It’s a bit like your cool, fun loving big brother telling you your dog has died, you’re adopted, and he’s Terminator all at once.

I could list you more brilliant highlights of the night – thinking of your own rap about the moon, an excellent, powerful speech meets rant about porn censorship, a story about a girl in Manchester – or I could urge you to go and see one of his shows to see for yourself what all the fuss is about. I think I’ll do the latter: I promise you’ll feel a bit happier with the world after a Beans on Toast show.

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