Friday, October 24, 2008

Glenn Tilbrook / Emily Maguire @ The Glee Club, Tuesday 21st October 2008

This was another one of a growing number of standing gigs at The Glee. My last one, Duffy, was less than impressive (no support act, too many people, poor view, no hope of getting served at the bar etc etc) but tonight was far more enjoyable. For starters it wasn't rammed and, despite a numpty who seemed to take offence at me going to the bar and then returning to Lady B, the crowd were pretty chilled too. But balls to all this. It's the music we're here for and first up was Emily Maguire. People like Emily fascinate me. During her set she revealed that one day she decided to flog her London flat and fuck off to the Australian outback to play music and make goats cheese. As a domesticated Taurean such folly fills me with dread. What, no Sunday Times, Muffins and Frasier on Paramount Comedy 1? No Neelams chicken kebab and Scrumpy Jack? No Wetherspoons, Rainbow, Kamaikaze!, Yardbird, Bar Academy...or Glee Club? Just sheep, goats, sand and endless sunny days to sit around and write wistful tunes? Yes, England may be a bit of a shit hole at the moment, but it's my shit hole though. Hmmmm...what to do eh? All of which brings me back to Emily. Listening to tracks like The Real World or Somebody (The The's 'Slow Train' anyone?) you do question your very being. Who's right? Us plodding backards and forwards to meaningless jobs as 'consultants', 'customer service advisers' or...god save us all...'creatives' or Emily over there in the sand yanking on a goat's nipples. I guess the point of music, aside from making you jump up and down a bit, is to make you think. Happy thoughts, unhappy thoughts...let's go out and gun down my classmate thoughts...and Emily certainly did that...made me think that is, not gun down her classmates. Vocally she reminded me a bit Joni Mitchell in places (have a listen to Keep Walking), but then, as you know by now, I have an odd ear. All in all though a lovely opening set from a strong singer songwriter who seems to have discovered the secret of a happy life. And you can't wish for more success than that eh?

Good grief. I've gone all fluffy on you. Oooooooh that sounds like a great link to the headline band...The Fluffers! I ummed and ahhed about going to this gig because the last time I saw Glenn and The Fluffers was (shameless place dropping ahoy) in The Abbey Pub in Chicago. It was an awesome night. The lead singer of Squeeze in a pub (albeit a bloody great big one) belting out all the hits with a briliant band. He was supported by a certain Jim Bianco too, who was equally spiffing. Tonight was a different kind of gig. Heavy on the solo stuff (by the sounds of it the forthcoming album's going to be a cracker) and with just a few Squeeze hits slotted in for good measure. It didn't matter one jot. Solo Glenn is as great as Squeeze Glenn. The new stuff is as great as the old stuff. Together with Chris Difford he really is, as many critics said back in the early 80's, as great Lennon /McCartney in their prime. Not as experimental, I'll grant you that, but great pop doesn't have to be all about eggmen and walruses (walrusi?). The Fluffers, his 'other' band are all accomplished musicians too. The keyboard dude, Stephen Large (stop sniggering at the back) was particularly good - loved the vocoder style stuff. Glenn just seems to be having so much fun at the moment...pottering around the world, playing music to often modest but appreciative crowds and doing his own thing. Maybe he should hook up with Emily Maguire...they'd make a lovely couple.

PS: Reading this back I just realised that anyone under the age of 30 might have no bloody idea who the hell Glenn Tilbrook or Squeeze (featuring Mr Jools Holland) are/were. I tested this theory out the other day with someone aged 28. They hadn't got a clue. So, for the non Squeeze people out there, I've put some videos up on the video thingy to the left of this rubbish. Suffice to say that they are/were one of the great British New Wave bands of the late 70's / early 80's and had hits like Cool For Cats, Up The Junction and Labelled With Love. Buy the Greatest Hits this weekend and you'll be thanking me until the end of time.

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