I have to be completely honest: I do not remember My Life Story in their 90’s Brit Pop heyday. Research tells me they were pioneering in their way- serving up lush orchestral epic tales fleshed out with playfully sharp and witty lyrics on songs like ‘Strumpet’ and ‘The King of Kissingdom’. So tonight’s gig at London’s Lexington was going to be a very interesting education indeed.
You can tell straight away the fans who have stuck by this band for 20 odd years or so are present and correct and are bristling with anticipation to sample not only a slice of their 90’s youth but also a product of their own generosity: the band’s new album ‘World Citizen’ (out Sept 6th) was fan-funded and made available from the band’s own website after the sorry demise of Pledgemusic . Fans can order packages of the album in various formats there. Not only that, the band had also played gigs in fans houses to raise funds. So it is DIY fan power all the way, and you can sense the love and investment that has gone into this new music. Such is the dedicated and loyal following of My Life Story. Aside from the die-hards, some of whom were clearly reliving their 90’s past with Louise Wener hairdos in cute tees and jeans, feather boas and tiaras, there was also an interesting mix of much older live music lovers and much younger types who, I expect, were wanting to see what all the fuss was about.
The ‘World Citizen’ press release refers to frontman Jake
Shillingford as sharp suited- and indeed he did not disappoint as he walked
onstage to much cheering and applause. Witty too, as he punctuated the set with
lots of funny observations and addresses to the crowd and individuals in it.
Love was clearly in the room and a flamboyant, high-kicking Shillingford led
the audience onto a fun ride back into the past and the future too with songs
from the forthcoming album.
The old favourites such as the saucy ‘Strumpet’ and ‘It’s a Girl Thing’ had the fans in excited frenzy although Shillingford thanked them too for being patient with the live try-out of the new songs from the album ‘The Rose The Sun’, ‘Telescope Moonlight Boy’, ‘Broken’, ‘World Citizen’ and ‘#No Filter’. Just as well these new songs have ‘legs’, as it were, as they went down well with this music hungry audience. The first single from the new album ‘Taking On The World’ had a really great reception: a strong radio track if ever there was one, brimming with air punching optimism and whose empowering message is much needed in this screwed up world (which in itself inspired the creation of ‘World Citizen’.) Ever the old favourite, it seems, is ‘12 Reasons Why I Love Her’ where the crowd went super wild – dancing up and down and loudly bellowing the countdown in the song. This, in a nutshell, was a sweaty unapologetic energetic ‘love-in’ of both nostalgia and the ‘old days’ but, importantly also acknowledging the present and future. Which means, thankfully, the band have a whole lot more to offer it’s world citizens.
To the uninitiated: this band is a revelation of clever lyrics, wonderfully orchestrated singalong tunes, playful audience interaction and above all, a musical testament to the loyalty and energy from a dedicated and loyal fan base who know what they love. And you know what? There is nothing at all shabby about that.