It's been a few months since I last saw Beans on Toast, the last time was at 'Lemonfest' in Newton Abbot and prior to that was when he played in Exeter alongside the great Will Varley and Lori Campbell. I was invited to pop along to his show in Plymouth at The Junction pub where he was to play to a capacity crowd, his new album was due for release on December 1st and armed with a plethora of new songs as well as his impressive back catalogue, the fans were guaranteed a stellar night of music, laughter and most importantly, fun.
I rocked up at the venue just before 8pm to see a queue outside, I thought it was just a regular pub but it appears that The Junction has been a live music venue for some time now. After a few minutes, we were let in and I parked my gear side of stage and settled down with a pint.
Up first was local singer songwriter Luke Scott Dumper who appeared to be struggling somewhat with his right hand in a support brace and him coughing for England between tracks, he did say that he had recently given up smoking and as a result, he was a snivelling/coughing mess! I instantly picked up on his fine vocals which I'm sure would have been even better had he not kicked the weed into touch, which is rather silly of me as no doubt his voice will improve soon after he has flushed all of the muck out of his system! His website says that he plays 'Alt Acoustics on a 12 string guitar', what they fail to mention is his super tight falsetto which carries him much further. I'd like to find out more about this guy, maybe even include him on a future 'Introducing' feature on the website....
Off went Luke and up stepped a duo who hail from near Kansas (in America) called Truckstop Honeymoon, they're an independent act who are in the UK to tour with B.O.T and offer their support during his set (you'll see how later). Made up of Katie on double bass/banjo and Mike on guitar/banjo, they shared vocal duties, performing songs which basically describe their lifestyle. Every song was prefaced with a story, often told by Mike, these ranged from humorous tales of a tugboat captain to their friends 'Georgia and Blue' who were like parents to them when they lived in New Orleans. Their music style swung from rock 'n roll, bluegrass to jazz which blended together well to create a lovable style that the audience were lapping up as their set progressed. Towards the end, they advised that anyone who had bought CD's (or were about to) should leave the empty CD case out on their doorstep as they would be going from door to door in Plymouth, waking anyone up who hadn't made a purchase at the show, very amusing! They had to smuggle the CD's out of the USA and they weren't really looking forward to smuggling any back in again so any purchases would be much appreciated! They closed their set with a great song all about the best bar in Oklahoma which went down a storm, little did the audience know that they hadn't seen the back of these two just yet!
After a brief break to empty bladders and refill drinks, the stage was set for B.O.T, after a few minutes of meddling, Jay took to the stage dressed in a baggy Skinny Lister T-Shirt and his trademark combat pants and immediately launched into a short speech on the state of the world that received an enormous cheer, he followed this up with his classic 'A Whole Lot of Loving' which, with its lyrics covering immigrants, food & shelter and crap politicians couldn't be closer to the worries of the world right now. He got everyone doing the 'Fresh Air Dance' to clear the air prior to having a good old rant about David Cameron and how he wants to outlaw wanking, asking the audience if they were cool with them at Number 10 knowing what we're looking at on the web, the funny thing is, would WE be able to know what they're getting off on!
It wasn't long until Jay invited Mike and Katie from Truckstop Honeymoon onto the stage to join him for 'The Mudhills Crew' which is the opening track from his latest album 'Rolling up the Hill', they did a sterling job of providing the backing track for Jay to sing and play guitar over. A new track was pulled out of the bag, it was called 'New Shoes Blues' and Jay admitted that it was completely unrehearsed so apologised up front in case it went tits up, no worries there as he nailed it perfectly! Jay explained how he was late for the first rehearsals for the tour as his van broke down, Mike and Katie however had travelled half way across the globe and THEY managed to make it on time!
Jay launched into the opening chords of M.D.M.Amazing which set the crowd alight, singing the words back to him on the stage, he could have easily left them to it and just provided the backing music. During the song, he explained how he recently played a gig in Bedford on a cold, wet Tuesday night ,when he got there, there was one kid (who was completely wasted) he had obviously turned up early to meet Jay and when he did chat to him, the lad explained that his music had inspired him to start taking drugs, with this, Jay was shocked, enough so to pen an anti drug tune called 'The Children of Bedford', this was played in the middle of M.D.M.Amazing and when it had ended, he finished off the original song, ending with his 'pretty girl' bringing him some liquid acid.....
During a song about traffic jams, Jay asked that everyone sit down on the floor, down we squatted whilst he performed the track, 'A Bit More Track in the Monitor' was Jay's dig at those 'karaoke indie bands' that have to play with a backing track, brutally honest but so true! Jay dazzled the ladies in the room with his splendid selection of chat-up lines ranging from complementing them on how they smell and also commenting on their shoes, he did however draw a line at smelling their shoes as that was just pure weird! Towards the end of his set, he said that he'd be sat by the pool table selling CD's, posing for selfies and also knocking out some artwork that he had created, this caused the crowd to refuse to let him stop playing and I think he must have overrun by a good half an hour but what the hell, the gig was sold out so nobody was going anywhere in a hurry and we were all having such a good time, Jay was more than happy to play on until the bar staff were looking like they wanted to go home! Jay ended with 'The Chicken Song' which again, had the room singing back to him word for word, impressive indeed!
I can't go through an entire B.O.T. show without mentioning the skills of his right hand man, Bobby. He did an amazing job of playing the banjo, harmonica and guitar in order to keep Jay on track, my hat goes off to you sir!
Some people say that Jay is the voice of the youth, covering topics such as politics, drugs and love, he gets people thinking about such diverse topics as chicken farming, the state of the nation and the war on drugs. Some say that he's a pesky nuisance, I applaud him for doing what he does and I'm sure that I'm not alone when I say that he's more than welcome back in Plymouth ANYTIME and ANYPLACE.
Words by Steve Muscutt