Acerbic Deptford pub-punk outfit Squeeze are one of those groups whose continued existence relies upon the sharpness of their middle-aged-and-older audience’s memory for the B-sides and album tracks as much as it does their admired handful of classic, era-specific hits.
Star rating: * * *
This well-attended show – despite the sense it was probably a pre-Christmas night out for a lot of couples and groups of old friends who were determined to enjoy it – reverberated with a hint of indulgence for the former, while everybody waited for the latter.
The group’s core duo of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, reunited since 2007 after an extended absence, deserve credit for not just coasting on the last embers of good grace they built up 30 years ago, although the first hour’s selection floated by in a haze of respective solo tracks, obscure oldies and new songs.
Taken together, tracks like the smooth 1980s blue-eyed soul of Tilbrook’s Still and Difford’s recent Cowboys are My Weakness comprised an entirely respectable and thoughtfully composed continuing body of work, but rarely did they seem to grab an all-standing crowd primed for a dance and a song.
Early highlights were rare but tantalising: an acoustic Labelled With Love, whose mass audience-backing chorus saw a grinning Tilbrook enthuse: “That was spine-tinglingly brilliant, thanks very much”, a galloping Take Me I’m Yours and new track From the Cradle to the Grave.
Inevitably, saving most of the best for last at least left us with the reaffirmed sense that they were one of the great unsung pop groups of their generation. They finished with Tempted, Up the Junction, Cool for Cats and Another Nail in My Heart appearing in quick, joyous succession.