Thursday, April 12, 2012
Squeeze dazzles at sold-out Coach House
Photos taken by Bob Steshetz
When a band as great and adored as Squeeze plays a venue as intimate as The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, it's best to make plans to be there.
Hundreds of other fans were overcome with the same mindset and it was definitely a packed house that greeted the legendary U.K. power pop troupe when they took the stage at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night (April 11, 2012). After busting out with a rousing version of "Take Me," Squeeze proceeded to perform nearly two dozen songs over the next 90 minutes. Singer-songwriter-guitarists Chris Difford (seen at left) and Glenn Tilbrook (below and to the right) unleashed their well-constructed set at an admittedly break-neck pace, with one epic favorite after another greeting fans who cheered, sang along or moved in time to the music while dancing in their seats.
Nobody seated around me left early, even during the encore, and for good reason. This was a fantastic concert with grand versions of many of the band's greatest songs.
Watching Squeeze (which also includes bassist John Bentley, drummer Simon Hanson and keyboardist Stephen Large), it was clear that while the cache of incredible tunes may serve as the band's hole-in-one, the sterling musicianship and infectious spirit the members bring to the concert stage also serves them well. Tilbrook's wonderful tenor remains fully intact (as does Difford's distinctive baritone voice) and their harmonies layered atop cascading and intricate melodies are much more than ear candy. They simply add dimension to songs whose power have stood the test of time like few others.
Tilbrook's fiery and well-executed lead guitar solos added additional power to the songs as well. His work on "If I Didn't Love You," "Model," "Another Nail In My Heart" and elsewhere was truly impressive. And it was a blast to watch Hanson play his drums with might from start to finish.
This show may have served as a warm-up of sorts for Squeeze's upcoming performances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 14 and 21, but truth be told it's hard to believe the band could top the epic performance they delivered to the enthusiastic faithful who came to San Juan Capistrano last night.
Opening the show was Orange County's own Davis Fetter, who surprised the full house with a 25-minute set of infectious and accessible originals. Backed by a drummer and keyboardist, the singer-guitarist brought his '80s meets '50s-styled alt rock to the '00s with the genre-defying rocker "I Loved You So" and the beautiful ballad "Euphoria." A new artist I hadn't caught before, Fetter (seen here) is definitely on my radar and likewise for many who enjoyed his energetic set at the Coach House.
Squeeze setlist at The Coach House on April 11, 2012:
Take Me / If I Didn't Love You / Tough Love / In Quint / Revue / Model / The Knack / Who's That / Is That Love / Points of View / Melody Motel / Heaven / Bang Bang / Cool For Cats / Junction / Annie Get Your Gun / Hourglass / Goodbye Girl / Another Nail In My Heart / Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)
ENCORE: Slap and Tickle / Tempted / Black Coffee in Bed