Mark Wynn is an artist you’ll probably know if you’ve spent an evening at one of The Habit’s open mic nights. Unfortunately for me, despite hearing his name, I’d never heard his music. He kicked off the evening with a series of poetic story songs set to acoustic guitar, interspersed with a number of self deprecating asides. This lack of self confidence is endearing, but I hope he has a sneaking suspicion of how good he actually is. There were moments when I was reminded of Billy Bragg’s version of “Walk Away Renee”, if Billy was, of course, from Yorkshire.
Jonny Gill was next to grace the stage. Suddenly, the teenagers who had previously lined the edge of the floor, surged forward. Jonny Gill appears to be a multi talented fellow, playing as part of metal band, “A Traitor’s legacy”, treating the crowd to some of his very special comedy, and not forgetting his promising solo career. I’ve heard this style before on my Sister’s Ipod, you can’t fault it really, a bit “Spill Canvas” a bit Frank Turner. Particularly evident during his cover of “Worse Things happen at sea”, a brave choice considering “Beans on Toast” is famously good friends with Frank. I was stood next to him, and he seemed impressed. He’s certainly got a fine set of lungs, holding lengthy notes, and really showing his passion when he needed to.
Next we saw the outstanding, eighteen year old, Jake Bugg. I think he’d arrived at Fibbers by mistake, en route to headline a far bigger venue. He’s already being hailed as the Dylan of his generation (we have an interview with him tomorrow). He instantly stuck out as he took to the stage, the only act to be accompanied by bass and drums during the evening, he seemed like a professional. The way he rattled through his set with little unnecessary audience interaction made you feel as though you were privileged to be seeing him at this early stage in his career. He’s Bob Dylan meets Danny Wilson of “Grand Drive” with a bluegrass back drop. I’m sold.
Finally, “Beans on Toast” took to the stage. If you haven’t heard any of “Beans on Toast’s” music, it’s really a case of “heard one, heard them all”. This would be rude, if he didn’t already know it. He has one of the raspiest voices I’ve ever laid ears on, quite similar to, if not quite as well honed as Daniel Lucas from York’s “Boss Caine”. He was joined on stage by his banjo playing, harmonica blowing friend, who accompanied him throughout his songs about drugs, sex, and politics. You get the feeling with “Beans” that he’s unprepared, it could be to ensure an exciting evening with a casual open mic kind of vibe, but I’m sure his penchant for Newcastle Brown Ale has something to do with it. He did a couple of lines of “Cocaine”, a personal favourite, before saying “I don’t even know how this one goes now..” and stopping. He’s such a nice chap though so you can’t stay upset for long. He played a collection of tracks from his latest album “Trying to tell the Truth” one of which was “Blowjob for the Blues” (can we print that?) during which he invited the girls from the crowd up on stage. He confirmed my suspicions of being surrounded by younguns, half-jokingly asking them for ID. Well, I’d rather they shunned the drugs and promiscuous sex in favour of living vicariously through the lyrics of “Beans on Toast” any day.