I began my very first Secret Garden Party experience with a packed out show at the Where The Wild Things Are Stage, and the wild thing in question in this case was the amazing Beans On Toast – aka Jay, who runs the amazing Flowerpot venue in Kentish Town. I first encountered Beans On Toast performing solo at a sold out Frank Turner show in Cambridge last year, and when I saw him appearing full band on the Secret Garden Party lineup, I knew the performance was a must.
Remarking at the fact he’d been rewarded a 45-minute slot at the festival as his are usually only 20 – a fact he would repeatedly bring up to his captivated audience throughout his wonderful set – was the first of many amusing observations that varied from festival sex and personal hygiene through to a heart-felt message that his audience members should go and pick up their own litter, as he’d started his festival going antics as the bloke who picked up people’s rubbish behind them professionally.
After a couple of well-received solo tracks and a lot of talking to get us warmed up, Jay’s extensive full band Beans experience entered the fray, and impressive that they were. Ranging from festival drugs to falling in love, the subject matter of Mr Toast and friend’s unique, genuine and raw songcraft is great in every way you could imagine.
Perhaps not a set for the delicate, sensitive or easily offended, Beans On Toast is an apt poet and storyteller, a musician and notorious performer, and a force I’d truly challenge anyone to reckon with. If you ask me, Beans On Toast really is the way every festival should begin.