Squeze at Western Fair

The Western Fair – Ranch Series – LONDON, ON


TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, June 21, 2024 at 10AM
Doors: 3:30PM Show: 4:30PM
Concert Ticket Includes Admission to the Western Fair on Day of Show
Order online at https://www.westernfair.ca/
Tickets: $85.00, $95.00 (plus HST and fees) All Ages / General Admission Floor, Bleacher Seating
VIP Ticket Packages: $235.00, $475.00 (plus HST and fees) Package Details at http://www.westernfair.com


Celebrating their fiftieth anniversary with an extensive international tour, Squeeze are one of rock’s vital institutions, a band who carved out a distinctive place in the pop firmament with their vibrantly melodic, perceptive songs. Those songs were written by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the composers who remained at the heart of Squeeze since its inception in 1973. Such early New Wave hits as “Up the Junction,” “Cool for Cats,” “Another Nail in My Heart” and “Tempted” led critics to label Difford and Tilbrook the “next Lennon and McCartney,” an assessment that wasn’t proven to be hyperbole. The  ensuing decades found Squeeze building a formidable body of work, a songbook that continues to expand with the release of the vigorous comeback albums Cradle to the Grave and The Knowledge, a pair of records Squeeze delivered in the late 2010s after a nearly twenty-year hiatus from the studio.

Over the years, Squeeze saw a few hiatuses and breaks, not to mention players cycling through the lineup. Throughout it all, Difford and Tilbrook were the constants. The pair met when Tilbrook answered a “musicians wanted” advertisement Difford placed in a local south London shop. Keyboardist Jools Holland joined shortly afterward, then the band adopted the name Squeeze, cheekily taking the moniker from the disparaged final Velvet Underground album that featured none of the group’s original members. Improbably, founding Velvet Underground member John Cale wound up playing a crucial role in Squeeze’s early career. In 1977, after Gilson Lavis came aboard as their drummer and Harri Kakouli became the group’s bassist, Cale produced Packet of Three, Squeeze’s debut EP, and a good portion of their eponymous 1978 debut. The band
produced two cuts on Squeeze, including their breakthrough hit, “Take Me, I’m Yours.”

“Take Me I’m Yours” showcased a nervy, inventive band, providing a blueprint for Cool for Cats, the 1979 album that established Squeeze as one of the leading New Wave groups. Boasting the poignant “Goodbye Girl,” the dexterous storytelling of “Up the Junction” and the jaunty wit of the title track, Cool for Cats was one of the defining LPs of New Wave, bettered only by the colorful, muscular Argybargy, the 1980 sequel that featured “Another Nail in My Heart” and “Pulling
Mussels (From the Shell).” Squeeze teamed with producer Elvis Costello for East Side Story, a 1981 masterpiece with “Tempted,” their first song to crack the American charts.

Success caused some ripples within the band. After releasing Sweets from a Stranger in 1982, Squeeze split. Difford and Tilbrook continued their collaboration with a self-titled LP in 1984, then reunited most of the Argybargy-era lineup for Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti in 1985. This incarnation of Squeeze recorded Babylon and On, the 1987 album that gave the band its first American Top 40 hit with the exuberant “Hourglass.”

Squeeze spent the first part of the 1990s delivering such exquisitely crafted records as Play and Some Fantastic Place, albums that showed the group easing into a reflective middle age. By the time they delivered Ridiculous and Domino in the second half of the ’90s, they were considered forefathers of Britpop, the swinging sound spearheaded by such Squeeze disciples as Blur and Supergrass.

After the supporting tour for Domino concluded in 1999, Squeeze went their separate ways. Difford and Tilbrook launched solo careers that would continue after they reunited as Squeeze in 2007. At first, the revived Squeeze was a touring outfit, only heading into the studio in 2010 to cut Spot the Difference, a collection where they re-recorded their greatest hits. Difford and Tilbrook added keyboardist Stephen Large and drummer Simon Hanson to the lineup during this time, eventually taking the revitalized group into the studio to record Cradle to the Grave, the 2015 album that found the band reconnecting with the dynamic, tuneful eclecticism of their 1980s heyday. Two years later, The Knowledge proved Cradle to the Grave was no fluke.

With bassist Owen Biddle, pedal steel guitar and guitarist Melvin Duffy and percussionist Steve Smith joining Difford, Tilbrook, Large, and Hanson, Squeeze has stayed on the road through the early 2020s, taking time to record the Food for Thought charity EP in 2022. This is the version of the band that’s kept the sound and spirit of Squeeze alive during its fiftieth year, a half-century distinguished by some of the smartest and sweetest guitar-pop made during the rock & roll era.


The English Beat

One tempestuous weekend in March 1979 was not only the date of the Three Mile Island nuclear incident, but also, in Birmingham, England, the very first show by a nascent band known as The Beat. Introduced as “the hottest thing since the Pennsylvania meltdown”, the band had a sense that the next few years could well be explosive! The Beat hailed from working class, industrial Birmingham, England. When The Beat rushed on to the music scene in 1979, it was a time of social, political and musical upheaval. Into this storm came The Beat, trying to calm the waters with their simple message of love and unity set to a great dance beat.

The Beat were all about inclusion, rather than exclusion, and this showed in their personnel and their music influences. The original band consisted of Dave Wakeling on vocals and guitar, Andy Cox on guitar, David Steele on bass, and Everett Morton on drums – later additions Ranking Roger (toasting) and foundational First Wave Ska legend Saxa (saxophone) completed the outfit. The band crossed over fluidly between soul, reggae, pop and punk, and from these disparate pieces
they created an infectious dance rhythm. Along with their contemporaries The Specials, The Selecter, and Madness, the band became an overnight sensation and one of the most popular and influential bands of the British Two Tone Ska movement.

By Christmas of 1979, The Beat were riding high in the UK charts with their first single, a smoking remake of the classic Smokey Robinson tune Tears of a Clown. Over the course of the next five years The Beat toured relentlessly and released three studio albums: I Just Can’t Stop It, Wh’appen, and Special Beat Service. The band toured the world, touring with such artists as David Bowie, The Police, REM, The Clash, The Talking Heads, The Pretenders, and The Specials, to name but a few. The Beat kept scoring hits with tunes that have now become so popular that it’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist, such as Mirror in the Bathroom, Save it for Later, I Confess, Stand Down Margaret, and their serene cover of the Andy William penned Can’t Get Used To Losing You.

The English Beat are: Dave Wakeling, Lead Vocals/Guitar, Matt Morrish, Sax/Vocals, Kevin Lum Keys/Vocals, Minh Quan, Keys/Vocals, Frit Zar, Drums/Vocals, Antonee First Class Toaster, Brad Engstrom, Bass/Vocals


The Box
Formed in 1981, The Box emerges in 1982 and dominates the airwaves for ten years straight with nine consecutive hit singles. Four Felix trophies and four gold and platinum records later, the band breaks up from sheer exhaustion in 1992. But constant pressure from the industry for The Box to reunite causes lead singer Jean Marc Pisapia to form a new line-up and hit the stage again but not without new material to present. The Box goes on to release three new albums in 2005, 2009 and 2014 as well as an EP in 2018. The band has been present in festivals and theatres alike ever since. Fifteen years after the reunion and 40 years since day one, The Box has no intention to retire! http://www.theboxband.com


The Spoons
Formed in 1980, an intrepid young band from Burlington, Ontario would soon make “Spoons”  different kind of household word. They would help define the sound of pop and New Wave in the 80’s with hits like Nova Heart, Romantic Traffic, Old Emotions, and Tell No Lies.

Their album Arias & Symphonies would go on to be named one of the “20 Most Influential Albums of the 80s” by The Chart Magazine and their song “Nova Heart” would be included in Bob Mersereau’s book The Top 100 Canadian Singles of All Time.

Not bad for a bunch of kids from Burlington, Ontario.

Gord Deppe and Sandy Horne, along with drummer Chris McNeill and keyboardist Scott Macdonald, continue to perform to this day, with no end in sight for the retro 80s phenomenon. Recently they celebrated their 40th anniversary with the repeatable compilation album and Echoes, a collection of re-recordings of their songs by other 80s artists from around the globe. “Truly one of our proudest achievements ever,” according Gord Deppe.

The retro 80s movement shows no sign of slowing down. Not one bit. And as far as Sandy, Gord and a lot of fans are concerned, that is a very good thing indeed.