ALWAYS the brightest of boys on the punky wave block Squeeze are still carving their own irresistible niche.
Their street-wise lyrics and beautifully crafted songs have stood the test of time, style and age and they come to Sheffield on Sunday with a string of classic hits as well as new material.
They also come with Sheffield United fan and city exile Paul Heaton who joins them on their Pop-Up tour adding another dimension to the show. And 40 years after they were Cool For Cats the first time round the band still has enduring appeal, as front man Chris Difford explains.
“I think people like coming to see us because they like real music. There are people of a certain age that come to our gigs and they love to hear what we play,” he says.
“It’s like Dexy’s Midnight Runners, they are still popular and they have a similar kind of history to us.”
And that history started in 1974, when Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook put their heads together to create a pop group that was gritty, new wave and edgy.
The band had a long hiatus from 1999 to 2007, when they reformed and have reignited their creative spark. For this tour, Squeeze aren’t just playing new material, they’re also introducing their ‘Pop-up Shop’, a transportable merchandise stall packed with ethical goods and Squeeze paraphernalia that’s manned by the band after the show.
“On the outside looking in, the pop-up shop must look like chaos but we set up at the end of the show and sign records. It’s become an encore of the gig.”
The shop marks a departure from the heady corporate days of major labels. In their heyday, in 1978, Squeeze were signed to A & M Records but now they’re a labelless, self-sufficient enterprise.
Glenn Tilbrook says: “Being able to innovate and take control of our own destiny is something I could only have dreamed of back then.’’
Squeeze and special guest former Housemartin and Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton are at the 02 Academy on Sunday.