Squeeze @ Southampton Guildhall, 6th December 2010

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Reunited almost a decade after their split in 1999, Squeeze have been modestly re-establishing their presence in the contemporary music scene for the past three years.  The latest tour follows their latest endeavour Spot the Difference released earlier in August this year, and shows us just what we’ve been missing while they’ve been away.

With a boppy version of ‘Black Coffee in Bed’ for starters followed by the darkly addictive ‘Take Me I’m Yours’, it was clear from the offset that Squeeze weren’t holding back from pleasing the crowd with some of their best material.  The acoustics sounded impeccable, allowing Difford and Tilbrook’s punchy lyrics to resonate throughout the Guildhall.

Dressed in remarkably dapper suits, and not adverse to a little bit of synchronised choreography, you can’t help but raise a smile at their enthusiasm and obvious pleasure in their music even thirty years since their humble beginnings in the early seventies.  The band members looked thoroughly at home on stage and effortlessly pulled out one hit after another from their impressive back catalogue over the course of a good hour-long set.  When some of the slower (slightly too polite) songs threatened to turn the Guidhall’s atmosphere into that of downtempo piano bar, Squeeze stormed into a reliably spectacular performance of ‘Cool for Cats’ and another particularly notable highlight, ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’

The Lightning Seeds were a pleasant bonus, starting the evening with their own sunny pop including a cheerful rendition of ‘Lucky You.’  Unfortunately the only thing that lessened the experience was the majority of the audience who seemed reluctant to give even the well known favourite ‘Up the Junction’ little more than the occasional foot tap.  Despite these apparent reservations, however, everyone appeared to be wholly approving, and warmly called for an encore at the end of the set.

So what’s new?  Well, not a lot.  But that’s no complaint; Squeeze look cool, the songs sound fresh amongst the less than inspiring fare on offer today, and most importantly – make you feel happy. These boys could show the new kids on the block a thing or two…

All in all Squeeze sent us home with a little bounce in our step and on a cold Monday night in December, and I can’t think of a better way to spend the evening.

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