International Pop Overthrow (Day 1)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow (Wednesday – Day 1)
DATE: May 20th 2009
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: A quiet start, rave ending

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

The IPO kicked off at 3.45pm in the Cavern Pub with a band announced by David Bash, as being from all over the UK – The Understudies (, are a 4 piece with roots from Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, described in the programme as “dreamy indie pop fuzz”. This band had caught our eye on MySpace, not just for their music but for their great profile picture. They kicked off with “Chip Pan Glam”, a song reminiscent of 70’s T-Rex style glam guitar and worked through their set list, which also included one of our favourites from their Myspace page, “Grousebeat” which starts with a “Be My Baby” style intro. Bree, the girl playing keyboards (and glockenspiel and tambourine) really complements Brian’s lead vocals. Technical hitches were seen mid way into their set when the Bass amp blew, and while Ben, the sound engineer ran off to seek a replacement from the Club, The Understudies continued with no bass player for one song. The replacement amp arrived, and the group were back on track. Being the first band on, the audience was not huge, but they were appreciative.

The Understudies’ second slot on the IPO bill was later in the evening, taking control of the Back Stage at the Cavern Club. This time, there were no technical hitches, and the sound was much better. The audience was a bit bigger than that at the pub and were just as appreciative, even calling for an encore, which was taken up with a slower number (the only extra one they had rehearsed, apparently), “If I Come To You” which would not have sounded out of place alongside the Joe Meek production “Please Stay”. BB spoke with the band afterwards and they seemed to have enjoyed their day out in Liverpool.

The first act on the Cavern Club front stage, was Richard Brooke from Leeds, a one man outfit, (just him and a guitar), who seemed to shout the lyrics (maybe to cover his nerves?).

Following Richard Brooke, David Lloyd (of The Suns) took to the front stage. The Suns are a Liverpool group who have appeared at the IPO on previous occasions. This time, it was just David and an acoustic guitar. Whilst he is obviously much more stage crafted than the previous act, there is only so much he can do with an acoustic guitar.

Back across to the Cavern Pub, and next up The Grande (, another Liverpool act, and one who had also caught our eye on Myspace. The girl in the band, Melissa certainly caught BB’s eye, and it turned out she was not just “eye candy” - she could sing as well! The last song in their set, was the best, and was a great finisher… “Don’t Let me Down”, with a tribal drum beat, and based on an old blues song, “Spoonful”. This band was certainly worth seeing, and they have another 2 slots on the IPO bill on Saturday so we hope to catch this band again.

Next up at the Pub was a Belgium band, Zender ( Usually a six piece (including drums and keyboard), this performance was only a bassist and the lead vocalist/guitarist. Nonetheless, the energy and enthusiasm shone out and their set was very enjoyable, and well worth seeing.

Another European act followed, Racoon, from The Netherlands. The singer introduced the band and said he didn’t care if the audience liked them or not…….he also said their set was “stripped down” for the pub, promising a heavier set in the Cavern Club later. However, their “stripped down” sounded exactly like their Myspace music, and we did not make the effort to see their 2nd slot!

Later in the evening, we were back in the Pub, watching The Good Intentions (, a band well suited to the Pub, playing basic country / folk /railroad songs, singing of Poor Boys and Cowgirls with the blues. The lead singer was wearing a Nudie style shirt to suit the style of music. Their set included a tribute song to Jimmie Rogers, which was missing a yodel or two, but very pleasant nonetheless. We wonder if this band has ever appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival?

We stayed in the Pub for the rest of the night, for the Bongo Beat Party. Bongo Beat is a record label, based in Canada, and the owner Ralph was first on stage. Ralph is a true entrepreneur, signing bands that are willing to let him sing! Seriously though, Ralph’s enjoyment of performing was obvious to the audience, and his set included a tribute to Billy Fury (aptly called “Billy Fury Billy Fury”), which was a rocked up version of “On The Road Again”. This gig was FUN.

Next up for Bongo Beat was The Plastic Heroes (, a 3 piece who had backed Ralph. These guys are young, energetic and look and sound just like Pop Stars should. We have never seen a bass player enjoy himself so much (also looked like Brian Jones), the drums were strong (played by a young Ray Winstone lookalike) and the main vocalist, Marc was pure rock star chic. We had looked forward to seeing the Plastic Heroes and we were not disappointed.

The Bongo Beat Party continued, although a bit more subdued, with Mike Badger, a local Liverpudlian. The sound was not great, as the Burns guitar sounded quite muddy.

The party reached its crescendo with Dave Rave (, a Canadian who is a complete nutter (in the nicest sense of the word), and a modern day Freddie Garitty lookalike. Dave Rave oozes infectious enthusiasm throughout his performance. The small stage had Dave, The Plastic Heroes and a 3rd guitarist which obviously constrained Dave somewhat, but he gave up and used the whole pub floor as his stage. This set ROCKED, with “Shake Some Action” and “Rock The Party”. A new song was performed, one that was written on the journey up to Liverpool, “Hey Anne Marie” a tribute to IPO regular Anne-Marie! At some stage, Simon, the bass player was enjoying himself so much, he lost a string (never seen that happen to a bass player before!). Some of the set appeared to be ad-libbed and this added an extra edge to the whole show.

We can’t wait to see The Bongo Beat Party again, on Thursday night – this time on the Cavern Club front stage, before they leave Liverpool to do a mini tour around the UK and Europe.

So, a fairly quiet start to the IPO, in terms of the mix of bands / artists, but finished off on a real, suitably entitled “Rave”.

And the blog wouldn’t be a blog without mention of the loos! Only the Pub loos were sampled on this night, and although never renowned for their luxury, on this occasion were clean(ish) and fully stocked!

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