Gig review: MY LIFE STORY – The Lexington, London, 24 July

In this intimate little venue with its low stage, the My Life Story (MLS) fans are in their element, so close to the master! It’s a hideously hot night, and Jake is sporting a suit. 19 years on its not a shiny, bacofoil one, but he’ll always be a pop star. Even smartly attired, he’s channelling a certain bohemian gypsy charm meets cheeky chappie, with his between song banter ranging from bizarrely bang-on Ray Winston impressions to using the Wetherspoons Apps to find the cheapest local pint.

They open with 2 songs from the new album, ‘The Rose The Sun’ and the unusually monikered ‘Telescope Moonlight Boy’ (‘no one else has written a song with the same name, google it…’). Of course, the audience erupts during the classics, ‘Girl A, Girl B, Boy C’, ‘Sparkl’e, ‘The King Of Kissingdom’ etc.

The crowd of largely middle-aged ex indie kids are in their element, not only reliving their youth, but genuinely keen to hear the first new songs in 19 years (’24 Hour Deflowerer’ aside). The lady next to me says to her husband, ‘you have to come and boogie with me during Strumpet’, a shaven haired, muscle bound bloke dances enthusiastically along to every song. There are absolutely no judgements here, leave your inhibitions at the door, dedicate your evening to pleasure – a MLS gig is the ultimate safe place. To say there’s so much love in the room sounds so cheesy, but there genuinely is.

New single, ‘Taking on the World’, sounds soaring, epic even. Title track, ‘World Citizen’ is the upbeat blast of happiness we all need in these dismal political times and showcases Jake’s enormous talent for clever, quirky and unique lyricism. As a colleague said, ‘songcraft and hook-friendly writing all intact. Not often you hear the word “cartography” in a pop lyric, either’. Indeed.

‘Joined Up Talking’, a criminally underrated album in my opinion, is re visited for the stonking, ‘It’s a Girl Thing’, the crowd leaps around with gay abandon and everyone sings along good naturedly. During ‘You Can’t Uneat The Apple’, the singing is so loud, one member of the audience audibly f**ks up, going too early – cue much hilarity. ’12 Reasons Why’ is the barnstormer it always has been.

Closing, Jake flags new song, ‘No Filter’ as his favourite from the new album, it’s a gorgeous track, a hopeful, delicate & thoughtful love song for 2019.

The energy has been superb and the crowd disappear off into the warm night, smiling. This kind of quality is rare, 26 years on My Life Story still have so much to give.

Review by Charlotte English

Josh Taerk’s latest Lockdown session was streamed on Sunday 25 October. More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 27 September 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 29 September 2020.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 26 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 HEARTWIND Strangers (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 FATES WARNING Long Day, Good (Metal Blade)
14:00-16:00 PADRAIG JACK Making Sand (indie)

Power Plays w/c 26 October (Mon-Fri)

LYKANTROPI Axis Of Margaret (Despotz Records)
LIONS SHARE Aim Higher (indie)
ALL RUNS RED What Good Would That Do (indie)
TRIDENT WATERS Six Feet Under (indie)
HOLDING ABSENCE Beyond Belief (indie)
DORIS BRENDEL Other Side Of The World (Sky Rocket Records)

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