A packed out New Theatre were eagerly awaiting Squeeze, however before the main event we had Heaven 17, a band who had plenty of chart success in the early-mid 80’s. Still featuring two thirds of the original line-up in vocalist Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware (synths, vocals), they played a lively hit filled set. Glenn Gregory was great at getting the crowd joining in on ‘Crushed By the Wheels of Industry’ and ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’.
Martyn Ware, resplendent in a shiny suit and looking more like an insurance salesman than 80’s pop star, came from behind his synth to duet with Gregory on ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. As Gregory explained this was the Heaven 17 tribute to the Human League version of the Righteous Brothers classic. It worked well, with both Ware and Gregory seeming to be enjoying the moment, as were the audience.
Personally ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ was a bit too dance orientated, however set closer ‘Temptation’ is a show stopping tune if ever there was one, with Gregory again lively as a Duracell bunny and vying to be heard at times over the two enthusiastic female backing singers.
Very impressive set by Heaven 17 who I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing again performing live.
Squeeze are at the start of a large UK tour billed as ‘The Difford and Tilbrook Songbook Tour 2019’, with the band introduced on a big screen behind the stage. Each band member is handing out an ice cream from a Rossi ice cream van (possibly a nod towards Status Quo’s Francis Rossi whose dad ran an ice cream business).
Starting off with ‘Footprints’, the band hardly pause for breath throughout much of the evening as they cram in as many of the classic Difford and Tilbrook songs as they can. The setlist was chosen by Difford and Tilbrook and included one song from their collaboration outside of Squeeze, ‘Love’s Crashing Waves’.
It shows the strength and depth of their collective songbook that they can play crowd pleasers ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)’ and ‘Up the Junction’ so early on in the set. The sound was a tad bass heavy at times and did drown out the singing and the pedal steel guitar playing of Melvin Duffy at times.
Mid set we get a few rarely played songs like ‘King George Street’, plus the title track from 2015’s album ‘Cradle to the Grave’. Good to see their last album, the rather good ‘The Knowledge’, represented by ‘Please Be Upstanding’, a song about erectile dysfunction, which despite its delicate subject matter for some, features another blissful pop chorus.
The final third of the set sees the band go into full classics mode with ‘Slap and Tickle’, ‘Labelled With Love’, ‘Tempted’ (stripped back somewhat to start with featuring just Difford and Tilbrook on the stage), ‘Cool for Cats’ (cue lots of dad dancing which was impeded by the seating in many cases), ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘Goodbye Girl’. Not many bands have such a fine canon of songs and all of them featuring memorable choruses and hooks. A rollicking ‘Another Nail in My Heart’ closed the set off as the band left the stage to rapturous applause.
For an encore we had ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ and an extended ‘Black Coffee in Bed’ which allowed Glenn Tilbrook to introduce the band and allow each band member a little solo spot. One definite plus for the band is drummer Simon Hanson who keeps a steady beat and seems to be having a great time behind his kit. Also mention to percussionist Steve Smith who played with a manic flair throughput the set and like Hanson, seemed to be having a good a time as the audience undoubtedly were.
Squeeze define what classic British pop rock is all about and live Difford and Tilbrook still give it their all playing their classic songbook. Legends gets overused a lot in the music world, however that applies to Difford and Tilbrook/Squeeze. Get along to one of the remaining dates of the tour for a fine night of live musical entertainment.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Sat 26 Brighton Centre
Sun 27 Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Tue 29 London Royal Albert Hall
Wed 30 Bath Forum
Fri 01 Hull City Hall
Sat 02 Liverpool Philharmonic
Sun 03 Salford The Lowry
Tue 05 Northampton Derngate
Wed 06 Guildford G Live
Fri 08 Indigo at The O2
Sat 09 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Mon 11 Bournemouth Pavilion
Tue 12 Cambridge Corn Exchange
Wed 13 Cardiff St David’s Hall
Fri 15 Llandudno Venue Cymru
Sat 16 Harrogate Convention Centre
Sun 17 Reading Hexagon
Tue 19 Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
Wed 20 Ipswich Regent
Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.
Check out previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/getreadytorockradio
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.
How to Listen Live?
Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.
More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages: getreadytorockradio.com
Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!