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

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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)

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