Squeeze – 3 October 2015 – live at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Squeeze – 3 October 2015 – live at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

“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 [[Cool 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.”

Review: Squeeze with John Cooper Clarke at Symphony Hall by Enda Mullen from the Birmingham Mail

“Every person really should see ‘Doctor’ John Cooper Clarke at some point in their life.

As an exponent of modern poetry he continues to be pretty much peerless.

One of the original ‘punk poets’ his subject matter could seem dated – but it’s far from it. Grim takes on urban life like Beasley Street seem as relevant now as they did decades ago.

Symphony Hall proved a a perfect setting to listen to the good doctor, the acoustics meaning the attentive audience could hear every word perfectly.

It made for an intimate atmosphere and he seemed to revel in it. As well as the poems his interludes spanned everything from the universality of the Limerick to why people from Birmingham would never venture to Wolverhampton.

Quite why Squeeze never made it big in the US and on the global rock and roll stage might ever be a mystery but they remain as one of the best bands of the New Wave movement whose legacy endures.

Kicking off with a a couple of classics in the shape of Hour Glass and Is That Love set the tone perfectly before moving through some less well known but equally enjoyable material

A real country vibe ensued as the set progressed augmented by some awesome steel guitar.

Labelled With Love remains to be possibly the best county/pop crossover songs ever and it was sublimely executed, as were Black Coffee in Bed and From the Cradle to the Grave.

Pulling Muscles (from the shell) and Up the Junction brought the set to a close before an encore of a sixties Californian-esque new number that sounded rather good before ending up with perhaps the band’s best known hit Cool For Cats.

A line-up up of two brilliant acts in their own right more than delivered the goods.”

Squeeze & John Cooper Clarke, Symphony Hall, Birmingham Review from theartsdesk
New Wave veterans add Country and Western vibes and come up smiling
by Guy OddySunday, 04 October 2015 Share

“Considering that they have never been known for their sartorial elegance, Squeeze are looking pretty smart and stylish these days. Band leaders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook took to the stage in Birmingham looking especially dapper, with Tilbrook looking like he’d just walked off the set of Miami Vice in his pink suit. This was matched by a slick set with a video screen that showed what were more like short films for each song than the usual concert projections, making it clear that while they might be veterans, Squeeze were still going to put on a show.

But first up was the legendary Dr John Cooper Clarke. Looking like an anorexic Ozzy Osbourne, he informed us “Never mind the hair. I’m growing it for a film. I’m going to the pictures next week”, to loud laughter. As is his style, Clarkey motored through a set that started with “The Official Guest List” and took in such career peaks as “Hire Car”, “Twat”, “Beezley Street” and its gentrified update, “Beezley Boulevard”.

Relatively newer fare and a mini lecture about Minimalism were also on offer though, with the hysterical “Bed Blocker Blues” and “Trouble At Mall” – about a mythical Oldham “because I’ve never been there!” – being particular highlights. However, it was the timeless “Evidently Chicken Town” that stole the show and had the crowd in stitches, before an encore of “I Wanna Be Yours” – “a poem that dragged me to the top of the hit parade thanks to the Arctic Monkeys”.
Squeeze may have been around, on and off, since the late 1970s but they have in no way landed themselves in a sonic rut, and they were keen to show off plenty from their latest album Cradle To The Grave. A barn-dance friendly “Slap and Tickle” and rootsy versions of “Black Coffee In Bed” and “Goodbye Girl” also suggested that they are certainly up for tinkering with their old tunes and keeping things interesting without freaking out their fans. In fact, for all their New Wave beginnings, the Squeeze have more than a dash of Country and Western vibes underlying most of their set these days – emphatically underlined by cracking covers of “Hunter Valley PTA” and Tom Waits’s “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”.

As is often the way in seated venues, the decidedly greying audience stayed sitting for most of the set. However, once the band pulled into the final straight with their 1981 hit “Tempted”, everyone was on their feet and clapping and singing along. “Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)” and a barnstorming “Up The Junction” similarly had the audience whooping for more. Squeeze duly obliged and returned for a couple more tunes off Cradle To The Grave before launching into a sublime “Cool For Cats” and “Take Me I’m Yours”, which ended with the band deep in the audience, still playing their instruments, and definitely not just going through the motions.”

Is That Love
Another Nail In My Heart
Electric Trains
Only Fifteen
Beautiful Game
Some Fantastic Place
The Truth
Elephant Ride
Labelled With Love
Slap & Tickle
Black Coffee In Bed
Goodbye Girl
Cradle To The Grave
Harper Valley PTA
I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Pulling Mussels
Up The Junction

Snap, Crackle & Pop
Happy Days
Cool For Cats
Take Me I’m Yours

A review from GigJunkies: http://www.gigjunkies.com/band-reviews/squeeze-john-cooper-clarke-symphony-hall-birmingham-3rd-october-2015/ by Zyllah Moranne-Brown

Well on an autumn’s Saturday evening you can always curl up in front of the tele and be ‘tempted’ to watch The Doctor. Well tonight, it’s a twist on the theme as we head to Symphony Hall to see The Doctor of poetry, and those with a lyrical disposition to indeed be ‘Tempted’. Welcome Birmingham to Dr John Cooper Clarke, our literary accompaniment to Squeeze.

So as we take to the seats, with a banner covering the instruments to the following act, on come the legendary Doctor Clarke. Tonight’s we get a ‘greatest hit’s of his lyrical works. “Evening” as he sets off on his tale – too late to leave ‘The Guest List’ “kill ‘em to buy a ticket” as he leads into the faced paced rendition of everyone he knows, names rhyming. He’s still the chairman of the board, dressed in top to tail in black, blackened hair spiked, darkened glasses.

He’s going all existentialist – “How deep would the sea be if there weren’t any sponges?’ he quips. “How did you het here Doctor Clarke?” he rhetorically asks – a journey through life to birth, or a rental car. The later indeed as we’re into ‘Hire Car.’ Apparently he’s been putting on the pounds (erm maybe – he raisins still thin) – but it’s a leader – to recant in full on observational vitriol as only Dr Clarke can do – ‘ Get Back On The Drugs You Fat F**k’ . He’s funny and whitty and fast paced and flies off at tangents – continually challenging, asking questions, pointing out the bleeding obvious.

His spoken words morphs from comedic story into his observational poetry. “Sometimes less is more.” He met the Dalai Lama at Glastonbury this year – he too is the “king of minimalism” as he gives us his take on the poetry of the limerick. He’s he to plug a box set – his anthology of 35 years – a “yuletide stocking filler.” He’d get a copy if he was us. So from his back catalogue ‘Beasley Street’ – a real life place and it’s social life to part II – ‘Beasley Boulevard’ – all ‘Urban Splash!’ “Age. The silent killer” – he’s been around our entire lives, before ‘Bed Blocker Blues.’ None know’s the three benefits of Alzheimer’s : 1. You can hide your own Easter eggs; 2. You meet new people every day; 3. You can hide your own Easter eggs.

His love story in reverse ’T**t’ – and the quips, irony and lyrical view on life keep coming. And he completes with his personal favourite – the classic ‘Chickentown’ – used in the penultimate episode of the Sopranos. When played on the BBC in ’78 the bleep operators got repetitive strain injury. Before thanks to the Arctic Monkeys, who closed their critically acclaimed album AM with a version of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ which we receive the Doctor Clarke version – in it’s full and scathing and dark glory.

And so to a break – before next up – Squeeze – the lyrical wordsmiths of their day. ~In the day they turned out hit after hit – the lyrics such that these Difford and Tilbrook were hailed the Lennon and McCartney of their generation. The chap who played the keyboards tottered off on his own journey of ‘The Tube’ and ‘Later..’ and jazz, while Squeeze became these core duo and a rotating shift of other musicians.

Tonight’ set is the old and the new – classic smatterings of the band at their lyrical best. And there is a long setlist. To a big cheer they set off on their musical road trip with ‘Hourglass.’ And to accompany their musical journey, comes white videos on a large screen behind as an audio-visual accompaniment.

A song from “twenty years ago” “[[Electric Trains]]’ – before one from the newbie “Cradle to the Grave.’ On their social media feed they are lobbying for a top ten album (remarkably they’re never had one) follow the hashtag #SqueezeTopTenCampaign and ever better go and buy and make their dreams come true. With a discography as long as your arm, the tracks roll and roll – and it’s the hits that are stand out as we sing along to ‘Labelled With Love.’ I saw Difford and Tilbrook in November – all acoustic and chatty. This is full band and far less chat – tonight is all about the music. ‘[[Goodbye Girl]]’ jams on down (as Twitter tells me goodbye boys – England have screwed up their Rugby World Cup chances. Oh. Time to move allegiances then.)

Song titled from the recent BBC series ‘Cradle to the Grave’ their recent outing and of course the album the be promoting tonight. And another hit smattered video-wise with fruit ‘Tempted’ as they are “Tempted by the fruit of another, Tempted but the truth is discovered…” we sing.

And another one ‘Pulling Muscles (From a Shell)’ – acronyms word as the video shows someone pushing a trolley round a supermarket. And our dirty minds do the work as into the trolley goes a cucumber, baby lotion, tissue, vodka, ladies bra, a cheese-grater???.

And now the lass from Clapham as we sing along to ‘[[Up the Junction]].’ Quick break and encore – includes of course, ‘Cooooolllllll for Cats’ and the end – ‘Take Me I’m Yours.’

Well a throughly enjoyable night. Doctor Clarke – part poet, part stand up. And still wholly relevant. The lyrical and musical prowess of the chaps from Squeeze. This odd couple of acts, made us smile, made us sing, and gave us a complete package on their view of life and society. Thanks all. And as we leave, the chaps from Squeeze may be there a while – they’re up for signing stuff.And the queues are long……

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