Sunday 22nd November 2020 Livestream
Livestreams have become a staple of the coronavirus pandemic for passionate music fans. COVID-19 has a lot to answer for and for some the rise of the livestream is a negative, for others however it has been a small light in the darkness. Enough about that for now however, as you can expect a full blog on the subject shortly.
There have been two types of livestream – firstly, the basic home-based setup that has seen a large uptake from individuals with acoustic guitars. However, with this setup not conducive of a full band, we have more recently seen a swathe of full band streams from inside actual venues. Tonight is the first, one man, an acoustic guitar and a plethora of items for sale!
That man is Jay McAllister, known professionally as Beans On Toast. This is a gentleman who has amassed a cult following from years of relentless touring, and it’s clear that this whole situation is uncomfortable for him. That’s not that say that he isn’t thoroughly entertaining, and ultimately the evening is free and the audience don’t even have to leave their homes!
As unusual as the show must be for the artist, it’s also a different experience for the audience. With Facebook Live however there is a live chat which makes the experience more engaging. You feel you are part of a moment, as opposed to simply watching an old video on Youtube. Plus, like I said, it’s free! But that’s not to say that Beans On Toast isn’t hoping to make a living.
With not one but two new albums out shortly, there are plugs galore for both albums and their associated merchandise. We even get his wife modelling the new clothing items for sale. As cringe worthy as that may sound, it actually adds to the quaintness and intimacy of the evening.
Musically Beans On Toast treats those listening to a good mix of old and new. We get old favourites like ‘I’m Home When You Hold Me’, ‘Watching The World Go By’ and ‘Things’ interspersed between new tracks from across his two new albums. The story of the two new albums is that every year on his birthday we get a new Beans On Toast album. This year that album is ‘Knee Deep In Nostalgia’ produced by the one and only Frank Turner.
With yearly albums, Bean On Toast is very topical in his lyrical content. With these tracks mostly written prior to the world turning upside down however, a locked down Beans On Toast sat and wrote some topical tunes. The outcome is a second album of songs inspired by 2020, ‘The Unforeseeable Future’.
A number of tracks from both albums have already been released as singles and already the likes of ‘The Village Disco’ and ‘Album Of The Day’ feel like classic Beans On Toast songs. Tonight we get to hear ‘My Favourite Teacher’ and ‘Patience?’ as the festivities come towards a close.
All in all, tonight will only have solidified fans opinions that these two albums threaten to be two of Beans On Toast’s best yet. An “encore” of ‘On And On’ closes the evening at around half past nine just in time for fans to chill out before bed – one of the big positives of a livestream!
Of course I want real live music back as soon as safely possible, but in the mean time livestreams provide the escape sought from reality. As discussed in my recent blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’, music is an escape; and those looking for an escape could do worse than the two new Beans On Toast albums!