John Thompson

Review: Jonny and The Baptists’ Stop UKIP Tour – The Stand, Newcastle

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It’s OK to be right-wing, so long as you’re not mad, is the message which Jonny and The Baptists leave us with.

By ‘mad’, Jonny is, of course, referring to UKIP, the populist political party which attempted to stop the band’s “Stop UKIP” tour on grounds that it was receiving Arts Council funding, despite the fact that it wasn’t.

“Can you imagine if we got in power?” Jonny asks in their UKIP song, which became a YouTube hit, partly thanks to UKIP themselves falling foul of the Streisand Effect.

“We haven’t got a clue, but it’s worryingly likely”, Jonny despairs, knowing that he and those who broadly share his ideological framework are up against the Daily Mail and TV and radio producers who know that giving UKIP airtime will help them to hit their social media engagement targets.

It’s hard to ascertain precisely when UKIP became a parody of itself, although the moment Godfrey Bloom unconvincingly performed outrage, assaulted veteran journalist Michael Crick and branded him racist for pointing out the absence of black faces on the cover of their conference brochure might be it.

Or perhaps it was the dodgy claim about the quantity of potential Bulgarian immigrants; outside of the flagship policies on Europe and immigration, a closer look at UKIP’s policies is quite disturbing for their attitudes towards equality between the sexes and their assertion that giving public firearms will make the world a safe place. Because that has worked well in the States.

There were none of the disruptions in the Newcastle stop of their nationwide wide; Jonny recounts how previous gigs had attracted UKIPpers who pointed to the banners which they had erected next to their seats.

Despite the title of the tour, Jonny and his band – acoustic guitarist “Paddy” – get through a range of topics; it’s not all about giving in to UKIP’s pathological attention-seeking.

A particular highlight was an attack upon trendy bars which think they are a pub; they know how to get to a Newcastle audiences’ heart.

It’s great to see Jonny and the Baptists’ profile rising, with appearances on The Now Show, The infinite Monkey Cage, and the British Comedy Guide’s No Pressure to be Funny under their belt

Jonny and Paddy have the charisma, stamina and material deserving of a much bigger audience than the one that greeted them in Newcastle.

They are a hilarious duo, and great to see comedians fighting their targets in the national press, outside of the cosy leftist clique of the comedy club.

Date of live review: 31 March 2014

Jonny and The Baptists’ “Stop UKIP Tour” continues its nationwide tour. Dates are on their website.