Squeeze at O2 Indigo in London
It’s hard to believe that the latest Squeeze album is the band’s first new work in 17 years. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford – the songwriting powerhouse of Squeeze – have, of course, done their fair share of writing, recording and touring with other projects in the intervening time. However, I’ve caught them live a number of times in the last couple of decades and they’ve pulled off several wonderfully entertaining and varied shows. Have they really just been in permanent reunion status all this time? Was it all just too much fun for me to notice how long it has been since they’ve said ‘And now we’re going to play a new one….’?
Back to the present and Squeeze are indeed releasing their first album since 1998’s Domino and, to add an extra flurry of excitement, the music was written for the BBC series of the same name: Cradle To The Grave. The TV programme, which is currently being aired, is a drama penned by writer and broadcaster Danny Baker and based on his childhood in south London. In a nice twist, it’s Baker himself who takes to the stage to introduce the band tonight.
Squeeze open up with the rambling fun of Hourglass before throwing us headlong into early classics Is That Love and Another Nail For My Heart. The set unfolds with a tussle for space between the old and the new. In the well-loved favourites corner we recognise Tempted, Pulling Mussels From The Shell and Goodbye Girl, whilst in the fresh new starters corner we’re introduced to Beautiful Game, Nirvana and Snap, Crackle And Pop.
Difford and Tilbrook are now the only original members of Squeeze, but tonight’s back up is deftly provided by members of The Fluffers, a band that is also a separate Tilbrook project.
As the night rolls on, the set continues to prove itself riddled with classic pop songs. Labelled With Love and Up The Junction get particular singalong support from the crowd. Slap And Tickle is given a new, acoustic revamp, with the band all stepping forward to form a line and taking up instruments such as accordion, double bass and mandolin to give this song about young, clumsy would-be lovers an altogether classier and more elegant make-over.
The only thing missing from tonight is the banter that the frontmen often reel out. Perhaps we were spoiled for this with last year’s Union Chapel show in which Difford and Tilbrook presented their work in acoustic form and told stories about their life and songs. However, tonight is all about steaming ahead and letting the music talk for itself.
The encore includes Cool For Cats which, for a song largely about frustration, is a supremely uplifting and satisfiying live experience. There are also some new tunes in the encore, including Happy Days – a title which aptly reflects the feeling of walking out of a Squeeze show. I hope it’s not another 17 years before they record again although, as long as they keep touring, I’ll continue to enjoy the performances and might not even notice…
Squeeze at O2 Indigo in London
17 October 2015
Photographs & Review by Imelda Michalczyk. Imelda has her own great website right here: www.rebeladelica.com