Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Beardyman delivers up a precious jewel of an album made just for one singular night’s audience, and created in the main simply using noises made into a microphone and looped.
Beardyman has come to the Edinburgh Fringe for only a couple of shows so this is a flying visit. A beatboxer and awe-inspiring musician, the scene is set as the largest room in the Pleasance’s portfolio is sold out and the stage arranged with various electronica and microphones forming a semi-circular absence, soon to be filled by the follicular one. Beardyman saunters casually into his arena.
Tired from his recent promotion into fatherhood, he explains in a well-spoken introduction, this relaxed conversational style is informal and makes the large room intimate – a device he peppers throughout the show as he finds the form of musical tracks before playing them.
The format of the evening is one Beardyman has used before. Small pieces of paper were handed out to members of the audience whilst in the queue outside the venue, with the instruction to write the title of an imaginary desired song for Beardyman to create during the show. All of the suggestions were then collected, to be presented to the performer on stage in a hat, and drawn randomly to provide inspiration for the half a dozen or so songs that make up the hour show. Occasionally one might be rejected (for copyright or lack of interest reasons), but this was the core of the show. Yet another way to bring the audience closer – it could be you who wrote the muse for the next track. A gentle and beautiful inclusion.
Beardyman is an unassuming man when he meanders onto the stage, with an Everyman manner that belies his remarkable talent. Balancing that amount of skill in any creative field with a likeable stage manner is quite a feat on its own.
Crafting an album of music for the evening mixing indie with Bhangra, 1998 and 2002 techno, as well as hip hop, humour and an interruption of a screaming baby (on constant repeat inside his head, he explains), Beardyman delivers up a precious jewel of an album made just for one singular night’s audience, and created in the main simply using noises made into a microphone and looped. There may have been many of us, but it was still a touchingly individual present.
Jay Foreman aka Beardyman doesn’t need to have the biggest beard at the Edinburgh Fringe, as his quiet confidence shows he has nothing to prove. Here’s a man whose life has been turned upside down in recent weeks as he’s robbed of sleep, filled with parental euphoria and still having fun with bespoke music for a grateful crowd. He’s on top of the world, and this audience was right there with him.