I had a lot of expectation riding on this gig. I had interviewed Jake Shillingford, My Life Story’s lead singer, earlier in the month, and his pre-concert excitement was infectious. Then there was the situation surrounding my attending – I had travelled over four hundred miles to be at the show, so, needless to say, I felt pretty anxious.

Since My Life Story officially split up in 2000, they have reunited on several occasions for one-off gigs celebrating landmarks in the group’s history. This particular gig commemorated the fifteenth anniversary of the release of their landmark LP, 'The Golden Mile'. To celebrate, the band would play the album in its entirety and, as an extra gimmick, golden tickets were available which allowed a small number of fans to remain behind after the main gig for a brief, intimate encore and a meet and greet with the band. Golden ticket holders also received a newly commissioned screen print of the album artwork by long-term MLS artist Ben Gibley.

So it was with all this in mind that my friend and I wandered into the Edwardian splendour of the Empire and, drink in hand, took up our positions and waited…

We were not disappointed. Jake and the band came onstage and exploded into 'Suited and Booted' – the perfect opening track. The group then proceeded to play the entire 'Golden Mile' album, albeit out of sequence. The sequencing of tracks was a neat move on behalf of Jake and the gang, as it kept the audience guessing as to what would come next. Jake’s high-kicking performance reminded me just what a great front-man he is, and musically the band were magnificent. The gig moved on through great versions of 'Sparkle', 'Strumpet' and, my personal favourite, 'Twelve Reasons Why' (well, they actually played the extended, “seventeen reasons why…” version).
When the gig ended, those without a golden ticket left and the band returned for a short set including debut single 'Girl A, Girl B, Boy C', 'Neverland' and 'Funny Ha Ha'.

This was the first time I had seen MLS live, and I was very impressed. For a band who haven’t played together regularly for nearly fifteen years, they were tight and well-disciplined. The gig was an absolute joy from beginning to end, and I’m already checking my calendar for likely dates for the next reunion. If, as I suggested to Jake during our interview, they get together for the twentieth anniversary of 'Mornington Crescent' in 2014, I’ll be there with bells on. Literally, if required!












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