The Royal Albert Hall always makes any gig feel that little bit extra special with its grand exterior and interior.
First up was a young four piece Millions. They were okay, typical indie rock fare and like newer bands they didn’t use the stage or make their presence really felt. I guess previous live shows have been smaller and more intimate surroundings. Nothing in their songs really stayed with me I am afraid and can’t recall a single melody typing this review some 24 hours later!
Dr John Cooper Clarke is a legendary punk poet and if his set had a swearbox he’d have needed a chest, not a box. I was very glad to see him perform live as I have heard and read about him, plus seen him guest on various TV panel shows. He is a natural raconteur with a very funny between poem dialogue and a wry, sometimes very blunt, self-depreciating sense of humour.
His poetry was often delivered at a lightning pace, bringing to mind a horse racing commentator. ‘Trouble At Mall’, one of his newer pieces, had some priceless lines such as ‘bury my heart at Clinton Cards’, very clever wordplay. He did some of his ‘classics’ like ‘Evidently Chickentown’ and finished his set with ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, which the Artic Monkeys set to music and had a massive hit with. Do go and see him perform live, you won’t regret it.
So onto the main event, Squeeze touring in support of their excellent new album ‘Cradle To The Grave’, which ties-in with the recent BBC TV series of the same name. The songs of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are woven in the pop music history of the UK and it is a testament to the band that they still pack the crowds in to see them.
Starting with some older songs first with ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Is That Love’ early set highlights, the band played a sizable amount of their new album. ‘Beautiful Game’ was the pick of the bunch, as Glenn Tilbrook is still in fine vocal form and the song cleverly uses the fondness for football of yesteryear with life and looking back in general.
The only downside to this and all the songs was the video backdrops as you often ended up watching them as they had some very creative videos. The new album’s title track went down a treat and that will surely embed itself into their sets for many years to come as it fits seamlessly with their older material.
The biggest reactions of the night came as you’d expect for the hits like ‘Black Coffee In Bed’ and ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)’ – one of the few songs my daughter recognised and she loved hearing it performed live.
The band have two live wire musicians in drummer Simon Hanson who seemed to be loving every minute of the show and keyboards player Stephen Large, who along with Hanson encourage audience participation wherever possible. The band’s newest member, bassist/backing vocalist Lucy Shaw looked like she’d be with them for years and formed a tight rhythm partnership with Simon Hanson.
‘Up The Junction’ rounded off the main set in fine style and the band were soon back for more, including another new song ‘Snap, Crackle and Pop’. They of course played ‘Cool For Cats’, bizarrely their one song I really don’t like for some reason! ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ finished the night off in style and both band and audience left with smiles and memories of fine gig from one of the finest pop rock bands ever.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Hourglass/ Is That Love/ Another Nail in My Heart/ Electric Trains/ Only 15/ Beautiful Game/ Some Fantastic Place/ The Truth/ Nirvana/ The Elephant Ride/ Everything/ Labelled With Love/ Slap and Tickle/ Goodbye Girl/ Black Coffee In Bed/ Open/ From The Cradle To The Grave/ Harper Valley PTA/ I Don’t Wanna Grow Up/ Tempted/ Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)/ Up the Junction
Encores: Snap, Crackle And Pop/ Happy Days/ Cool For Cats/ Take Me I’m Yours
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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