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Folking Hell: Beans on Toast at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

January came with its promise of a new year and we all blindly sang along to Auld Lang Syne clinging desperately to our hope for a better one. 2017 warned us not to go into the cellar in the suffocating dark, but we went in the fricking cellar and I am yet to find my way out.

So now we wait for the art to come, where there is darkness there is art (so I’m told). To avoid the year being a complete write off we have decided that this will be the year of the gig, one a month for the whole year (we’re living in the shadow of having not got Glastonbury tickets).

It started last Friday with our January gig “Beans on Toast” in Brighton at Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, that’s the beauty of music you get to say, “Beans on Toast at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar” sentences you would otherwise not have in your life.

This was Danny’s choice, but it wasn’t a risk we all knew we hearted Beans (Jay McAllister), a one-man band boy from Essex who was mates with all the folky folk. This was just what we needed, someone who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth, who would almost definitely have written a song about Trump and who was pretty much made of love. His fans are even super friendly, I got told how lovely my jacket was when entering the heavily graffitied toilets, labelled Queens. It was all about the good vibes.

The venue was a new one for us, it was small and as sticky as its name suggested.

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He came on 5 minutes early, which is a first for me, he was keen to max out the hour we had together. There were just a few tiny metres between him and his smaller than the norm guitar and us. His kind face was right in front of mine and lo and behold he opened with his newly penned trump song, he was angry, he was funny, he was just the ticket.

His ease with being on stage meant he had the audience with him every step of the way, and as all good folk does he told us story after story and we lapped it up. It was part music part comedy, he was just as good at chatting to us as he was at writing tunes, each tune fell into the next, some without introduction some with a long preamble. He’s so at home up there he didn’t stop strumming to ask a drunk guy at the front why he had turned his back on him mid song.  

The girl who had complimented my jacket in the toilet turned out to be one half of Jamie and Lily, a song he had penned about two girls who had separately contacted him to ask for “I’m Home When You Hold Me,” to be dedicated to the other one. Jamie and Lily happened to be stood right in front of me so I watched as they heard their song for the first time. I may have even cultivated an un-dropped tear.

He has written so many songs he can’t even remember them and as he approached the final 10 minutes he asked for requests, not knowing a lot of the song titles shouted back at him. It didn’t matter that he sometimes forgot the lyrics it just made him more endearing and as he dedicated a song to his wife Lizzy B, who he mentions throughout the gig, we all craned our necks to try and look at the person who his love songs were about.

What the world needs now is love sweet love, and some Beans on Toast.

February is still up for grabs, Natty? Wild Beasts? Howling Bells? But January was a good start. Beans on Toast at Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, I’ve been there and I’ve got the t-shirt.

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Words Maxine White

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