Review: Glenn Tilbrook at the Robin 2

Dave Woodhall watches one of music’s most enduring performers.

Glenn Tilbrook and the Robin go hand in hand; a national treasure and a local institution. Both are recovering from the traumas of the past two years and together they produced an evening of sheer enjoyment that showed life’s still got a lot to offer.

It was another Tilbrook who kicked off the show; Glenn’s son Leon sounds a lot like his old fella and there’s no finer compliment. Then the main man walks onto the stage and the audience lets out a collective sigh of appreciation. There’s a fair body of evidence to say that Squeeze are possibly the best-loved British band of the past forty years. They may never have had the mass popularity their genius deserved, but everyone loves at least one of their songs and have you ever heard anyone say they don’t like them?

If you need more evidence, the songs that Glenn came out with are proof that he and Chris Difford are one of the greatest songwriting teams there’s ever been. There was Cool for Cats, prefacd by a warning that “Like a film on Talking Pictures, this song contains themes typical of the period.”. It also had the addition of a singer plucked from the crowd – some youngster by the name of Jacob, who fired off the lyrics in a way that showed how this was, in its way, one of the first rap songs.

Labelled with Love and Up the Junction have always shown that Squeeze could fit Play for Today into a three minute song (I wish I could claim the credit for that description but someone beat me to it a long time ago). There were a few covers, notably Walk Away Renee, and the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, which unsurprisingly got no volunteers to do the waitress in a cocktail bar bit, at least none willing to do it on stage.

With Glenn performing on his own there was plenty of time for anecdotes, asides and warnings of the hallucogenic side-effects of Covid. It all went down a storm with the audience, who were only too willing to provide backing and sometimes lead vocals. Perhaps a bit too willing in one case – Bloke Behind Me, I know you were having a good time and I’m glad you were, but I wish you’d been a bit quieter and a lot less out of tune.

Another Nail in My Heart, Pulling Mussels From a Shell (with Glenn getting the words wrong, to show that nobody’s perfect), then Black Coffee in Bed, Slap’n’Tickle and Tempted closed the set proper. Classics, one and all.

Leon joined Tilbrook senior for the encore of one of his own songs, then Take Me I’m Yours and an immaculate Goodbye Girl, which made a fitting end to a throughly pleasurable evening. One man, a couple of guitars and the Great South London Songbook, transported to the Black Country.