The last time this reviewer saw Beans On Toast (otherwise known as Jay McAllister), he was playing alongside dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip and Billy Bragg as a support act for Frank Turner at his massive sold out show at Wembley Arena. This being over a year ago and a relatively short set, there were high expectations for everyone’s favourite drunk folk singer to take to the stage as the headliner in a more intimate venue.

Opening the show was alternative folk singer David Young, playing one of his final gigs before returning to the studio to record his second EP. Playing a mixture of covers and original material, it was obvious to see how Young was once named ‘Young Songwriter of the Month’ by Ryan’s Gig Guide magazine as he performed with the character and confidence that you would expect from a much older, more seasoned performer. Young’s own songs were received well by the audience, with the heartfelt, honest lyrics and catchy guitar riffs making sure that the soloist’s performance was one to be remembered.

Next to perform was Gorgeous George, a six member folk-punk outfit with a jazz feel from London. The entire band were hugely charismatic, and honestly a joy to watch as they kept everyone on their toes and moving to their incredibly original Eastern European folk-esque sound. The crowd responded well to the band’s material, with songs like ‘The Peckham Princess’ and ‘When I Go Out On Saturday’ capturing the spirit of London’s cockney youth.

Beans On Toast graced The Rainbow’s stage barefoot for what seemed like only seconds before getting up close and personal with his fans. Diving into the crowd to perform his first song. Jay always delivers high-charged, high-energy shows, making it easy to forget that he is not playing as part of a full band, but as just one man with a microphone. As expected, he did not disappoint. Always one to mix up his performances, Beans takes one of his most well-known songs, ‘Beer And A Burger’, (which he insists to have written about Birmingham) and replaces the lyrics with words about ‘doped up’ animals from the local Kiddiminster Safari Park, much to the audience’s delight.

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He went on to play a variety of material spanning his entire discography, including the extremely popular ‘M.D.M.Amazing’, and the main thing that you get from his evening’s performance is that for an artist who has played to a sold out Wembley Arena, Beans stays incredibly down to earth, and makes you feel like you are watching one of your best mates play a show down your local. If you have yet to see Beans On Toast play a live show, question what you are doing with your life and buy tickets.

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Photos by Toby Gray