Squeeze – 9 October 2015 – live at St David’s Hall, Cardiff
Is That Love
Another Nail In My Heart
Some Fantastic Place
Labelled With Love
Slap & Tickle
Black Coffee In Bed
Cradle To The Grave
Harper Valley PTA
I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
Up The Junction
Snap, Crackle & Pop
Cool For Cats
Take Me I’m Yours
“Squeeze, the enduring British pop act whose songs have tenderly and wittily chronicled life and love stretching across four decades, are to play an extensive UK tour in the autumn – their first, as a band, for three years.
As well as a vast catalogue including hits such as Cools For Cats, Up The Junction and Tempted, it will include songs from forthcoming album From The Cradle To The Grave, which marks their first collection of new tracks since 1998.
Squeeze have long been a captivating live act with an array of chart hits – which also includes the likes of Take Me I’m Yours, Slap And Tickle and Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) – but for this tour there is a further treat with new tracks which will appear on From The Cradle To The Grave.
Support on the tour will come from poet and punk godfather Dr John Cooper Clarke, the bard of Salford.”
Here’s a review from Wales Online:
Review: Squeeze and John Cooper Clarke perform with true expertise
There was a point in John Cooper Clarke’s set when he discussed his first encounter with the Welsh.
“They made me an offer I couldn’t understand,” he relayed in a Mancunian brogue so strong it reeked of rain and Coronation Street, before adding, tongue planted firmly in cheek, “ They also burnt down my holiday home… in Lanzarote.”
His own distinct brand of rock ‘n’ droll was symptomatic of the punk poet’s rapier-like wit – so dry it suffers from eczema.
Clarke, a beanpole, gobby gattling gun, in dapper suit and trademark shades, looked like Joey Ramone if he were a poetic Northern powerhouse with a penchant for spewing out words with the metronomic efficiency of a speed-addled market auctioneer and a shock-haired rapper.
His material – from all stages of his career – was brilliantly observed, expertly delivered, ecstatically received and the perfect warm-up to the main event.
This year has brought about a time of renewal and reawakening for enduring pop polymaths Squeeze.
Their new album Cradle To The Grave, their first studio album in 17 years and the soundtrack to the excellent sitcom based on Danny Baker’s equally enjoyable Going To Sea In A Sieve autobiography was the perfect project to reignite the songwriting flame that has burned brightly between one of the greatest songwriting partnerships in history.
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have written so many hits they should have a blue plaque permanently erected on the top 40.
To demonstrate the point, we were treated to the past, the present and what will hopefully result in a renewed future for Squeeze.
They was a joyful, celebratory mood in the air as [[Hourglass]], [[Is That Love]], and [[Another Nail In My Heart]] acted as our introduction into a world wonderfully created in striking narrative form by these kitchen sink dramatists.
They certainly seemed comfortable in each other’s company, if the cup of tea that was brought on for Tilbrook mid-set was any measure.
Whether it was to whet the vocal chords of one of the most expressive and distinct voices of our generation I’m unsure, but it mattered not a jot as they took us on a breakneck journey through their glittering back catalogue that included Labelled With Love, Black Coffee In Bed, Goodbye Girl and Slap And Tickle – transformed with a little Gallic flair courtesy of accordion and lute, but thankfully not delivered at snail’s pace.
Those hits were interspersed with tailor-made songs from the new album, which fitted in perfectly with their beautifully observed set – ably demonstrating they’ve not lost their innate ear for melody, harmony and a gorgeously constructed chorus
[[Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)]], [[Up The Junction]] – a song that most surely vie for the title of possessing the greatest intro in British popular music, and Cool For Cats brought the curtain down on a show that surely reaffirmed everyone’s faith in the power of pop.
Squeeze / Dr. John Cooper Clarke – Cardiff, St David’s Hall – 9th October 2015
Written by Johnny H
“I’ve admired the songwriting of Deptford’s most famous sons Squeeze from afar ever since I first caught ‘Cool For Cats’ on Top Of The Pops back in 1979. Somehow though (just like their ex label mate Joe Jackson) I never really followed their back catalogue in depth, I just picked at the seams of it, like I guess most people did, so as such I never got to see them live. On hearing the band’s excellent new album ‘Cradle To The Grave’ however and having those songs subliminally planted in my psyche due to their inclusion in the hilarious TV series Cradle To Grave I decided enough was enough, and finally I would go and check out Messrs Difford and Tilbrook live in concert.
I’ll call tonight a concert rather than a gig because it is just that, St. David’s Hall is all seated and the largely over 50s in attendance clap and sing along in all the right places, it’s a far cry from a piss soaked field in France watching Cock Sparrer that’s for sure, but there is still this underlying working class commonality about proceedings and that is why having Dr. John Cooper Clarke as support on this tour is something of a masterstroke.
Hitting the stage looking like a long lost Ramone – the one Joey might have produced if he ever met Bo Selecta’s Ginger Spice for an intimate soiree – Clarke is out on the road in support of his soon to be released 4 CD box set ‘Anthologia’, something that the good Dr. rams home on more than one occasion tonight, and you can’t help but chuckle along to the bare faced cheek of his pre punk existentialism. Perhaps a little more stand up than out and out onslaught of poetry I was expecting, the mix of observational humour “so if Jesus is the King of the Jews, how’s he got a Spanish name?” alongside the likes of ‘Beasley Street’ and the fucking fantastic ‘Evidently Chickentown’ make my time spent in Clarke’s company simply whizz past. It’s safe to say that Sleaford Mods without Clarke’s influence would probably be nothing more than this year’s Mr Oizo, but I was surprised to also learn that Arctic Monkeys had also doffed their caps to the Dr. via a musical reworking of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’. Well who the fuck reads NME these days? Not many of the people in attendance here tonight that’s for sure, but back in the late 1970s we probably all did, and that’s why Squeeze are where they are today, playing twenty two sold out shows all across the UK. However before we get to tonight’s headliners I have to wrap up Dr. Clarke’s set by saying that there are more than just a few parallels with what he has given to art and what Lemmy has given to rock music, they both do what they want, sticking with a formula, and fuck what anyone else thinks about the outcome. That ladies and gentlemen should be applauded, loudly, because real mavericks are in short supply right now so let’s cherish what we have while we still can.
With Dr. Clarke’s “less is more” mantra drilled into my head I cannot help but notice that the stage production Squeeze have out on the road with them right now is basically cut from the same philosophy, but as soon as the Matt Berry intro tape is dispensed with and the first chords of ‘Hourglass’ ring out from Tilbrook’s guitar the video screen and four or five lighting trusses suddenly spark into life and all of a sudden we have a real arena show on our hands, albeit one with the intimacy that only a venue like those chosen on this tour can afford. Of course, as I’ve already alluded to, this being St, David’s Hall this is a bums on seats performance, well until the last three songs of the main set anyway, when ‘Tempted’, ‘Pulling Muscles (From The Shell)’ and ‘Up The Junction’ all in quick succession prove simply too much for anyone to remain seated, but otherwise with the tone of the concert being largely part acoustic, for once being sat down during the likes of ‘Slap & Tickle’, ‘Black Coffee In Bed’ and ‘Goodbye Girl’ actually felt (dare I say it) right and proper.
There’s an abundance of new tracks delivered too tonight, and with the likes of ‘Nirvana’, ‘Only 15’, ‘Beautiful Game’, and ‘Happy Days’ all shining brightly it’s easy to see why Squeeze are very much back in favour with the UK music press in general, this is some of the best material the band have written in years and in the album’s title track Difford and Tilbrook, have produced one of their best songs, ever, gloriously uplifting in it’s almost gospel like simplicity, this song for me is one of the true highlights of tonight’s 90 minute plus set.
Squeeze these days is not just about Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook though, and alongside drummer Simon Hanson is bassist Lucy Shaw making for a rock solid rhythm section whilst keyboardist Stephen Large and pedal steel player Melvin Duffy look to add the light and shade during the likes of ‘Some Fantastic Place’ and the evergreen ‘Labelled With Love’.
Encoring with a ‘Cool For Cats’ (yes that was one of four songs played) mixture of old and new tracks it is left to a dramatically reworked version of ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ to send us off into the night, or at least the foyer, where the band were immediately available to meet and greet there fans, and there was no VIP package required here to meet our heroes. What was it again I was saying working class ethics?
Squeeze may have been around on and off for just over forty years now, and granted they have changed a lot during those intervening years, but in 2015 the Lennon and McCartney of New Wave really have never sounded more relevant or essential… In fact you can ask Danny Baker if you don’t believe me.”