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.
Now, dear reader 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.
The songbook offered up tonight a fine selection of their back catalogue, mostly from the 80’s. Footprints, Big Beng, Hourglass was the opening triple tracker to get things underway. Next up and one of the big hits to be played tonight was Pulling Mussels (From the Shell). A lively rendition, and this one had the audience up on their feet for this seated performance. Then the still sounding magnificent Up The Junction. It’s hard to believe that this pair have been writing together for around 45 years. Tonight Squeeze 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 of the shelf.
We then had a nice mix from the 80’s from their albums Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, East Side Story, Cradle To The Grave and also The Day I Get Home, from their 90’s album release Play. We were indeed being treated tonight with some lesser-known nuggets from those albums and also from their respective individual/solo careers.
It was time for a couple more recent titles and Third Rail was followed by Please Be Upstanding and that one comes from their 2017 release The Knowledge album. So as you can see midway through the set we were treated to a fine selection of songs. I have to make a note of the backdrop screen, utilised throughout the set to widen the experience tonight. Some great visuals and video clips.
Not all the hits…
We did not get the easy option of a “Greatest Hits” selection tonight and worth remembering that over the years, the band has seen a number of line up changes, Jools Holland and Paul Carrack for example but with this line up of musicians Squeeze are still showing us what they are good at and sounding as fresh and tight as ever. Put that mix with the set list tonight and that’s where the magic happens.
I enjoyed the almost unplugged, stripped back versions of Slap And Tickle and the brilliant Labelled With Love. it was long before the tempo picked up again and once more the Brighton crowd got to their feet for a blast of hits like Cool For Cats, Another Nail In My Heart, Annie Get Your Gun and Goodbye Girl. What a brilliant section that was – full of nostalgia, fun and a chance to sing-a-long with Squeeze! How often do you get a chance to do that, apart from when listening to a CD.
The last two songs tonight for the “encore” was the thunderous Take Me I’m Yours, and again Difford and Tilbrook raise the bar once more for this one. The band seemed to up it for this track, and there were not many people left sitting for this one. We then had an extended live version of Black Coffee In Bed to close the proceedings. Perfect.
The sound was absolutely spot on. The sound desk had a great mix, everything was clear and all the instruments and vocals could be heard. Some great lighting came into play and the entire band were visible at all times. Scene Sussex thank the wonderful Brighton Centre crew. They really do pull together to ensure the audience has a great night.
I can thoroughly recommend you see Squeeze live. They are presently on tour with guests Heaven 17 and bang for buck this really was a top quality night. There are a few shows still with tickets.
Squeeze announced that ‘The Difford And Tilbrook Songbook Tour’ [with Special Guests Heaven 17] will aim to raise food, funds and awareness for the Trussell Trust network of food banks. At all venues there will be multiple food drop points and collection boxes, where audiences can donate non-perishable food or money. Food donated at the venues will be collected and distributed to the nearest Trussell Trust food bank. A great cause and brilliant to see music and this charity together.
Thanks also to the Brighton and Hove news team.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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