Legendary songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford form the backbone of Squeeze, and the gents are bringing the latest incarnation of their new wave band to 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Nov. 28. You can win tickets to see them with Parklife DC by joining a free raffle at Dodge City on Thursday, Oct. 19.
I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.
That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.
Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)
Wow, how fresh and invigorating is the live music of Squeeze? I somehow had missed the band live in all of this time, given changes in the band’s membership over the past 40 years and various periods of hiatus, so I was not fully aware of just how powerful a band they remain in concert.
But I caught my first-ever Squeeze show at last at the 9:30 Club, where the latest iteration of the band sold out the night on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in short order. The crowd was practically bouncing off the walls in anticipation of a full Squeeze show, and boy did the band fulfill those expectations.
Founders Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are clever songwriters who know how to hook you, and once you revisit their catalog, you will find yourself drawn into a series of remarkable hits characterized by a compelling narratives and intricate melodies.
“This song has been used by two presidential campaigns,” Dave Wakeling said of his cover of “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Sisters, “and both presidents served two terms! So if you fancy being president of America, it appears that I’m your man! I’ll take you there!”
The number, of course, was used by the presidential campaigns of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but Dave wasn’t overtly political in his appearance at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Oct. 11. He and The English Beat got down to performing the 1994 version of “I’ll Take You There,” recorded by Dave’s former band General Public, with vigor.
Well, the English Beat recently sold out a show at the 9:30 Club, but I’m going to take a moment any way to remind you of why.
Dave Wakeling, forever Birmingham-born #1 ska singer, is bringing the English Beat around to the 9:30 Club again, this time to open for their friends Squeeze in a dynamite show on Tuesday, Oct. 11. (But wait! They also are playing at nearby Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach, Delaware! Read on for details.)
The English Beat is on the cusp of releasing its first new album in more than 30 years with its upcoming full length Here We Go Love later this year.
The band of course have a string of well-regarded hits that have formed the backbone of a very successful touring act for quite some time now. Dave and company enjoy stirring live renditions of popular tunes like “Save it for Later,” “Mirror in the Bathroom,” and “Twist and Crawl.”
Remind yourself of the fresh energy of the English Beat with a listen of “Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret” on “Rude Boy’s Revenge & Coffee Hour” from a few years ago via Soundcloud:
We at Parklife DC last saw the English Beat at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 25, 2015, and we were mighty impressed!
“The venerable English Beat have been revitalized this year with a new toaster — King Schascha. For a 2-tone band, a toaster isn’t mechanical, but in King’s case, he’s certainly electric,” I wrote. “The reggae rhymer from San Diego effectively got the very full house at the 9:30 Club dancing right away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, paving the way for band leader Dave Wakeling and his time-tested repertoire of ska and reggae. They kicked things off with ‘Rough Rider’ from the debut album by the English Beat, 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, and the entire audience was moving and grooving from the very first note.”
If you’re coming to see Squeeze at the 9:30 Club, get there early for the English Beat! There are no tickets available, as the show has sold out. Keep your eyes open for resales (at fair prices) or maybe a last-minute release of any extra tickets the 9:30 Club may be holding back?
Oh, wait, if you cannot wait to see the English Beat, you can catch them at the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach, Delaware, on Sunday, August 28. That’s this weekend! What better way to celebrate the waning days of summer than to hit the beach with Dave and company? Tickets for that show are indeed available online (and at the door).
The English Beat
Bottle & Cork
Sunday, August 28
The English Beat
Opening for Squeeze
Tuesday, Oct. 11