CQAF: Glenn Tilbrook – Black Box, Belfast

SqueezeGlenn Tilbrook was one half of the song writing partnership, along with Chris Difford, in New Wave band ‘Squeeze’, who rose to prominence in the British Music scene during the late 1970’s and 80’s, producing a string of hit singles that have ultimately stood the test of musical time, judging by the reaction of a full house at The Black Box in Belfast.

As part of the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast, a 56 year old Tilbrook delivered a 2 hour set that showcased both his back catalogue of solo material and a string of Squeeze hits that left the audience in no doubt that he had lost none of his enthusiasm for music.

The initial technical gremlins in the early set were long forgotten as Tilbrook delivered a mix of songs in the first half of the show from both Squeeze and his latest solo album “Happy Ending”, including “Dennis”, a tribute to legendary “Beach Boy” Dennis Wilson. We were told that Squeeze were playing one of their last shows in Jamaica at the time of their first split in 1982 when Wilson, having witnessed the band at first hand, advised them not to split up. In the end, as history shows, they paid no attention to Wilson and went their separate ways. Package this up with “Persephone” from “Happy Ending”, “Best of Times” from “Pandemonium Ensues” and a string of Squeeze hits including “Labelled with Love”, “Some Fantastic Place” and “Is That Love?” and you have the first half of a very enjoyable show.

Tilbrook swapped from Acoustic to Electric for the second half of the show but continued in the same vein as the first half with a mix of Squeeze hits and material from his latest long player. He was happy to play requests and virtually played a Best of Squeeze set including “Another Nail in My Heart”, “Pulling Mussels from a Shell”, “Vanity Fair”, “Tempted” and “Black Coffee in Bed”. The only notable absence was “Cool for Cats” as Tilbrook let us know that he needed the assistance of Jools Holland to do it justice.

The only one political side note in the whole show was his admission that he wasn’t a fan of Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix got an outing but there was no re-enactment of Hendrix’s legendary guitar burning from his 1967 show at the Monterey Pop Festival. It’s safe to say Health and Safety may have had an issue in this day and age.

Before too long we’d hit the end of the show, save an encore of “Ice Cream” from “Happy Ending”, which basically was a one verse song, repeated over and over, that the audience were invited to sing along to and then the only song in reality the show could end on. It had to be the Squeeze classic “Up the Juction” which was a fitting end to a very entertaining two hours.

Well done to the organisers of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival for securing Glenn Tilbrook and the meet and greet at the end of the show was definitely an added bonus for a legion of fans. Michael Ferguson, GiggingNI.com

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