Squeeze / Dr John Cooper Clarke: Brighton Centre 26 Nov 2022
What a night! 2 top acts Squeeze with a full on tight squeeze of a set, a Dr John Cooper Clarke in the house!
Squeeze are a British rock band that came to prominence in the United Kingdom during the new wave period of the late 1970s, and continued recording successfully in the 1980s and 1990s. They are known in the UK for their hit songs “Cool for Cats”, “Up the Junction”, “Slap and Tickle”, and many more. The band’s founding members in March 1974 were Chris Difford (guitar, vocals, lyrics), and Glenn Tilbrook (vocals, guitar, music). Difford claims that in 1973, he stole 50p from his mother’s purse to put a card in a local sweetshop window to advertise for a guitarist to join his band, although he was not actually in a band at the time. Tilbrook was the only person who responded to the advert.
let me assure you that you would know more of their material than you think you do. They have produced so many hits across the years, you will know some of what was promised tonight. ‘The Difford and Tilbrook Songbook Tour’ saw both original band mates take to the stage at an almost sold out gig at the Brighton Centre, they were joined by their five member band as part of the Squeeze line-up.
They took to the stage to a huge welcome from the crowd and set about their setlist with Take Me I’m Yours, Hourglass and the wonderful Up The Junction. I wanted to join in with the crowd but only had access for three songs. I wanted to join in and dance and sing. What a cracking opening shot in the arm of Squeeze goodness.
Tonight Squeeze I have to say performed their set with a vigour that made it almost seem the band had only just got together and performing the songs as if they were fresh off the shelf. Extraordinary show! They were going to take us on an exciting musical journey digging in to the Squeeze huge back catalogue. They gave us their classic numbers interspersed with newer releases from an EP released for this tour with profits going to the Trussell Trust, a fabulous gesture supporting social issues that Squeeze have always commented on. It was great to see the crowd bringing in non-perishable food and dropping donations into the collection tins.
A track from the band’s new EP was a catchy little number ‘Food For Thought’, with those clever lyrics. Squeeze always give the crowd something to think about, but always giving their crowd a chance to have fun. The Trussell Trust get a mention in this one as do “Politicians with no shame, Absent parents, stolen phones, Hidden lives and no-go zones, Pay less taxes ditch red tape” are all covered.
The band was spot on, as always. The sound mix was spot on and Stephen Large on keys was something else as his long legs danced him through the set. Great to see Simon Hanson still on the kit.
The hits were packed in there and included Labelled With Love, Pulling Mussels (From The Shell), Is That Love?, Letting Go, and a bit of an in your face rocker with the sublime Annie Get Your Gun. One of my set highlights!
Looking out the across the seated crowd, it seemed to be of a certain generation. Squeeze continue to show that their music is still on topic, important, cogent, exciting and fun! Hopefully they will return to Brighton again soon.
As time flew past we were heading for the end of the set, made up with some 23 songs, we had Goodbye Girl, Another Nail in my Heart, Tempted and the absolute classic Cool for Cats allowing Chris Difford to lead on the vocals. He nailed it; it’s one of those songs one never tires of hearing. Actually the same can be said for most of the songs played tonight!
The band fire up an encore made up with Slap and Tickle and the always brilliant live Coffee in Bed including highlights from each band member with a brief solo slot. Being so close to Christmas – would Squeeze play Christmas Day? Spoiler Alert! No, they didn’t put that into the set! Seems to be a bit of a Marmite Squeeze song.
Squeezily one of the best live bands on the circuit just now. Go see them play and enjoy, sing and dance the night away.
Keep in touch with Squeeze here: www.squeezeofficial.com
John Cooper Clarke
Now being a teenager during a certain period of time when Punk ruled the airwaves, I recall a punk poet and I purchased an orange plectrum shaped 45 rpm single called Gimmix. It was released I think in 1978, which makes it around 44 years old! I never saw John Cooper Clarke but was always aware of his material and he does now appear on TV quite regularly these days. So I was really looking forward to, at last, see him live!
Dr John Cooper-Clarke, to give him his full title is a bit of a living legend. He was warmly welcomed on stage wearing a large pair of dark glasses and an equally large hat, his thin outline caught in the bright white lights of the Brighton Centre. His poetry of course stands out on its own, but what delighted the crowd was the warmth of the banter with the crowd and the telling of jokes and stories between the recitals from his trusty notepad.
Cooper Clarke is perhaps a bit of an acquired taste, but I had waited 44 years to see him. I loved it!
“Christmas is coming – I bought the wife a present, a prosthetic leg. She was happy as it was a stocking filler”
Yep some perfect new and old one liners dotted into his 40 minute slot. Some of his material was, I got the feeling, aimed at maybe unsettling a few folk. The majority of his audience seemed to “get it”. He had us roaring with laughter one minute, and sitting quietly as he delivered his poetry.
His set was filled with some of his “greatest hits”. He got a great reaction from the crowd. As he recited his poetry including Beasley Boulevard, I’ve Fallen In Love With My Wife, Chicken, Twat and rounding off his enjoyable session with I Wanna Be Yours. All of these readings were greeted with a raucous round of applause and sounds and cheers from the crowd.
Mr Cooper Clarke, you were just what the Doctor ordered!
Catch up with Dr John Cooper Clarke here on the interweb!
Thanks to Squeeze and Dr John Cooper Clarke.
The Trussell Trust – The work that they do and information can be found on the WWW here.
Thanks to the wonderful promotion team, and thank you for the ticket.
Thanks to The Brighton Centre
Thanks to the Brighton and Hove News Music team.
Words and Pictures: Ian Bourn.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2022.
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