Thursday, October 01, 2015


1 October 2015

When I saw Squeeze at the WOMAD Festival in 2008 (reviewed here in July 2008) Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook had only just started performing together again after years of barely speaking to each other. Seven years later the band is in rude health, about to launch its first new album since 1998, with its new song 'Happy Days' getting played on national radio and selling out large venues around the country on a tour that started this week. The spark for this late-career success has been the music Squeeze wrote for the Danny Baker TV sitcom, 'Cradle to the Grave', which forms the basis of their new album of the same name. We were lucky to get tickets for their show at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and it was a fantastic performance. The visual presentation was very impressive, with an amazing light show and an inventive series of specially commissioned videos projected across the back of the stage set. But the music would have been wonderful anyway. Difford and Tilbrook are brilliant songwriters with an extensive back catalogue, against which their new songs stood up well. You've got to marvel at writing like 'Up the Junction' which must be the catchiest song without a chorus and features one of the great opening lines: “I never thought it would happen / with me and the girl from Clapham”. When you add to that songwriting ability excellent musicianship and Tilbrook and Gifford's incredible singing voices – both of which are particularly distinctive in very contrasting ways – you get something very special. All of which made a supporting slot by the inimitable John Cooper Clarke and a brief guest appearance on backing vocals by Paul Young (on 'Black Coffee in Bed', reprising his role on the original 1981 recording) mere footnotes. It was great to see Squeeze back at the top of their game – as the T-shirts on sale in the foyer said: “I’d forgotten how much I like Squeeze.”

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