As part of his UK tour to raise awareness for foodbank charity in the UK, Glenn Tilbrook played to a full house at Hailsham Pavilion on Saturday night, offering songs old and new with some humorous dialogue of how he and Chris Difford penned some of the most loved songs during Squeeze’s prolific tenure. The crowd was seated early in the Pavilion and, as it turned out, for good reason.
Tilbrook was ably supported by an emerging local singer songwriter Charlie Austen who quickly struck up a good rapport with the audience with some humour and well crafted songs.
Onto the main act, and Glenn arrives on stage to a rapturous applause; there’s a wide age-range in the audience which is unsurprising for someone who’s been writing melodic and meaningful pop songs since the late 70s.
Looking sharp in a three piece suit, Tilbrook picks up the acoustic guitar and opens with a song co-written by Dennis Greaves (of Nine Below Zero) and the crowd is with him from the off.
Tilbrook’s musicianship is a joy to watch as he appears completely in-flow performing Take Me I’m Yours which he confesses to “writing with Difford on a piano in the back of a removal van travelling up the M1.”
His voice is still clean although there’s a lot of pressure to fit in some of the intricate vocal lines. He moves on to a cover song, surprisingly Burt Bacharach’s Always Something There To Remind Me, and then the melancholic Squeeze ballad Labelled With Love which gets the crowd clapping along.
The songs are punctuated with amusing anecdotes. He explains how one song was lured away from his 16 year old son, who refused to play it any longer in protest of a love once had; “are you sure you won’t play it, you could change the lyrics?” he suggests, then confesses to asking permission to use it, with slight unease!
At halfway point, we see Glenn pick up a custom Fender electric and the first blast of the single coil pick-ups parts a few hairstyles - even Tilbrook thinks it’s loud. We then see more of a musician keen to repay the audience’s loyalty with some more fretboard mastery as he starts with Dave Edmunds’ I Hear You Knocking, and then The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon. It’s an interesting selection, possibly a peak through the window of his own musical taste. We sample a couple more Squeeze crowd-pleasers in Is That Love, the timeless Tempted and we build to the end with Another Nail In My Heart. In summary, Tilbrook is still capable of delivering the goods and on this performance, you can imagine him being welcomed back to Hailsham anytime he wishes. By Stuart Large.