For Independent Music Venue Week Jay, better known as Beans on Toast, is back on tour with a gig each night of the week, at his favourite venues around the country. I caught him at Clwb Ifor Bach on 25th January. After two supports Jay arrived on stage perfectly on time, on his own with a guitar in hand and bare foot with his trainers kicked to the side of the stage.
He gave us an insight on what he’s about, by starting off with an older track Folk Singer. He then went on to sing about Donald Trump with lyrics that seemed to put into words what the whole crowd was thinking. He then reassured us that while there’s a lot of bad things to sing about, there is a lot of good things to sing about too. This was followed by a medley about Independent music venues. Considering he was headlining Cardiff’s part of Independent Music Venue Week it was rather fitting. He played related songs including Sold out Rock and Roll and Drum Kit, the song that in fact inspired the whole tour. Jay explained that he wouldn’t be the same guy without independent venues and that he even used to live above one. Commenting in an exclusive Quench interview , Jay stresses the need for these venues “Independent venues week is a brilliant organisation. It’s up to venues and bands to do things themselves.”
As the gig went on, Jay highlighted that it was Valentine’s day in Wales, so in good fashion, played a few love songs about his wife who was in the crowd, adding that he “should have bought his suit”, which would have been a massive contrast to the t-shirt and baggy jeans he was wearing that night, classing beans style.
A Beans on Toast gig is a very comedic affair with folky songs about pretty much everything. He put into practice his “Three Chord Masterplan” by playing the fan favourite MDM Amazing followed by A Whole Lotta Loving, a song about Chicken and a song about his Nanny; Nanny Mac. What I noticed about this gig is that there wasn’t a certain demographic. There were people; Old and young, boys and girl, hipsters and punks, even the type that only listen to rap aka my friend who almost refused to come as it wasn’t a rap gig. But everybody was so happy. Beans on Toast seemed to bring everyone together and I believe this is down to the humour and intimacy that Jay brings to the stage.
Towards the end of the night he played War on War and by the end of the song the stage was full of half of the crowd dancing around. Jay even let a girl sing a verse on the mic. After kicking everyone off the stage he asked if we wanted another. The answer, of course, was yes. He finished with the light-hearted tracks The Unlikely Gymnast and The Price of Rice which successfully left everyone in a joyous mood perfectly putting an end to the gig.
This happy event alone, emphasises our thirst for our much needed and loved Independent Venues, without our support, events such as the much memorable Beans on Toast gig, at the independent venue Clwb Ifor Bach, will no longer be of existence.