All the gigs of my life

All the gigs of my life: Gig 132 – My Life Story, Saturday, October 15, 2016, The Borderline

Night two of My Life Story weekend featured some technical issues, more high kicks and my favourite Story tune of them all.

‘Well. Past me was so bloody right to book a weekend MLS ticket. ‘Cos while Friday night was, by the tiniest of whiskers, the superior gig, tonight was when they did “You Can’t Uneat The Apple”.

“… and I want to say – thank you”

Damn right.’

My diary entry for this second night of My Life Story began with a reflection of just how lucky I was as a music fan. I may have ignored many of my favourite bands for a decade or more, but when I’d decided to take the plunge back into my one true obsession, there they all were waiting for me.

‘I really have no right to live in a world where EVERYONE who meant anything to me in the 90s – with one exception – is still here in some shape or form. To live in 2016, when the world is descending into chaos at an alarming rate, and idiots are in charge everywhere you turn, and yet you can still go to a My Life Story gig, go and stand millimetres from Jake Shillingford, singing those undying songs with the immortal voice, and singing along, we few hundred are united against the fuckery that is the 21st century, whilst still being in it, utterly.’

This was a brilliant night from the very beginning, set into action by a wonderful support act. ‘The support band were fab! We Are Bandicoot, with a charismatic Mark Gardener doppelganger for a singer and even some Mansunesque guitar sounds. Will try to catch them live again if I can. At some point I’m going to have to make a list of Quite Good New Bands to keep an eye on.

But, as with the previous night, it was the brilliance of Jake that impressed me the most over the course of the evening.

‘If there’s one thing I realised from MLS weekend it’s that Jake is truly the songwriter supreme. Even the less familiar songs shone with their epic hooks and melodies, and “The Golden Mile” tracks were so unutterably classic, it was hard to believe we were in a tiny club and not at Wembley Arena, singing along with the thousands. What can you say, when every single song was timeless and perfect in its own way?’

I stood on the right this night, thinking I’d avoid the risk of KO from Jake’s high kicks, ‘but I had not considered the possibility of having my eye knocked out by his flailing mike stand. But how little did I care! The setlist was largely the same as yesterday for the main set, except they managed to do “Breathe In Breathe Out” first and “Sparkle” later. “Sparkle” was a huge pop monster, with Jake taking people’s hands at “if you took my hand”, tho’ the closest I got was a haphazard sweaty slap.’

But it was my favourite My Life Story song of them all that I was most overjoyed to hear.

‘And in the encore “You Can’t Uneat The Apple” came first, just him and the keyboards and it was a HUGE singalong, and it was such a glorious thing, the fact that I was witnessing this song live, after so long. In the final chorus, Jake moved the mike away, first down to waist height, then behind his back, so he was just singing with the power of his voice, just him and us, and to be so close, and hear his unamplified voice, felt so shiver-inducingly intimate, especially as it was THAT song. I fell in love with him a little bit, in that moment.’

Scruffy falling in love with a singer in a band, now that’s novel!

‘And we got an Adam Ant cover, and I nearly put my back out leaping to “It’s A Girl Thing”. There’s something gloriously liberating about singing that most misogynist of songs back at its creator, with a bunch of girls around me doing the same thing, like we’re saying, this is ours now. You think it’s a girl thing? We’ll MAKE it a girl thing. And then “12 Reasons Why”, just, again, timeless joy, just perfect, perfect pop.

Why the FUCK is Jake not a billionaire??!’

All in all, this had been a glorious second half of a wonderful weekend of gigging, only slightly nudged into second place after Friday’s gig due to a few small factors.

‘The only things that made Friday slightly superior were the fact that the “My Life Stor” anecdote was so fresh and so enthusiastically  embraced by the crowd, and the few technical gremlins that marred the pacing of the set on Saturday, tho’ that did lead to amusingness when Jake tossed his guitar’s old battery into the crowd on receiving a new one, only to ask for it back when the new one proved to be less good.’

It had been, overall, truly a triumphant weekend of glorious pop.

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