Jonny and the Baptists isn’t a band, folks, it’s a duo: Jonny being Jonny Donahoe and Paddy Gervers the oddly plural Baptists – but they certainly make enough noise for a much bigger band. This is their election special, aimed, they say, at trying to find some reason to vote in the upcoming national poll. Now, political humour, particularly in musical form, is a difficult trick to pull off. Is this going to be the earnestly worthy or preachy sort of thing that concentrates on being right rather than being funny? I’ve seen rather too much of that sort of stuff. But no. Emphatically not. They hit the stage running, gags hitting you in the midriff from the get-go, and launch straight in. The songs are laugh-out-loud hilarious; not only from the insanely bonkers lyrics (though there’s still a satirical bite underneath), but also the sheer brio of the musical performance. Jonny is no slouch on guitar and keyboard; and if anyone can play a guitar like ringing a bell, it’s your man Paddy. And they can both bash out a lyric with the volume and soulfulness of Righteous Brothers on speed. Only funnier, obviously. None of your gentle introspective analysis here: this is comedy that goes for the jugular. Their energy and onstage rapport is such that the pace and level of laughs doesn’t falter even when they fluff the odd line with some of the brand-new songs. It’s not all political stuff, there’s a brilliant riff on what constitutes a proper pub, for instance; but a love song to Angela Merkel, or a death metal interpretation of a Michael Gove haunting are plenty enough to rupture your funny bone. Though of course it’s possible Daily Mail readers may not find this material entirely to their taste. Well, serve them right. This is comedy gold.
***** (5 Stars)
John Christopher Wood