International Pop Overthrow Day 3 (Friday)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Friday (Day 3)
DATE: May 22nd 2009
VENUE: The Grapes, Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
Hectic but still coping

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.

Today, we started in the Cavern Club, front stage. We were hoping to see Raymond Meade, ex-Ronelles front man but he was unfortunately not able to make the journey down from Glasgow. The first artist we did see was James Meynell (bass player from Squire), who had a solo slot on the bill. His vocals are not strong and he seemed to struggle to stay in any kind of tune. There was an awful lot of “hum” coming through the amp and the guitars were muddy. In our opinion, James is an acquired taste, like Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, and we did not acquire it!

Next, in the Cavern Pub was a band on our “must see” list – The Fast Camels ( , from Glasgow. These guys jumped straight into a fast and furious set, with great guitars and strong drums, thumping through to deliver their own blend of unique pop rock, finishing with a resounding “Der Nazi Tea.’’ It’s hard to describe Fast Camel’s music. Each song seems to have half a dozen different themes going through it, just like The Beach Boys “Heroes And Villains.” We also caught their 2nd slot later on, at the Cavern Club Back Stage, and although it was 1am and the audience had thinned out, the Fast Camels were just as enthusiastic and gave their all in their performance. Some of the best bands we have seen at the IPO have played these late slots to a minimal crowd, which is a shame. Maybe fewer bands with more reasonable times would be a better approach to increase the quality of the festival?

Next up, this time on the Cavern Club Front Stage, an old IPO favourite from Finland, Ben’s Diapers ( who played a blistering set starting with “Road Songs” and ending with “Loneliness” (we think that was what it was called). This band performs some really great Scandinavian pop harmonies, and we really enjoy seeing them play.

The Dirty Royals were next on the front stage – they are a good honest hard working band who really loved being on stage. They wore military garb but we doubt they were all from the same regiment. Their frenetic energy was awesome. Their final song segued into Ottowan’s “Hands Up” which had some of the audience dancing along.

Junebug ( are another band who appear at every IPO, and their set on the Cavern Club Front stage was more rockier that we have heard them before, slowing down only once, for “Abergele” before picking up the pace once again for a very strong finish to their set.

On the back stage, The Junipers ( were a pleasant surprise. This 5 piece from Leicester included keyboards, which made their sunshiny pop very Zombies influenced. This band plays the type of music you can listen to whilst lazing in your back garden on a hot, sunny day, although at one point we were almost singing “Save All Your Kisses For Me” to one of their songs! Their 2nd slot on the bill, on the Front Stage sounded a bit more psychedelic and it was a real shame that they did not bring any CD’s to sell on the merch table. A really good sunshiny pop band.

Next up, another firm favourite at the IPO, Squire ( . Mod Pop at its finest, with songs such as “My Mind Goes Round In Circles” and “Girl On A Train”. Squire always attracts a large crowd (and seem to have a large entourage as well), who you can imagine have left their scooters at the front door.

Day 3 of IPO seemed to be the day for all of the old favourites, and Kelly’s Heels ( were another band who has appeared at all of the IPOs. They were introduced on stage as “high energy powerpop” and that sums this trio up in a nutshell. They are totally passionate, and are a totally well seasoned band. The vocals from Bob Kelly were spot on (he must be tired of hearing comments about 118 118), and they can boast as having the best drummer at the IPO.

We wandered into the Back Stage and caught the 2nd half of Albert Ross & The Otters’ set. This is usually a 6 piece outfit, stripped down to only 3 members for the IPO, which meant that Albert doubled as the drummer, using only the bass drum as well as playing guitar. The bass guitar was a little too heavy for our liking, and we don’t think guitars should be played sitting down when you are performing at a Powerpop festival! Whether it was because the front stage was setting up for the next act, and people had wandered through to the back (like us) to pass the time, or whether Albert Ross has some fan base, but the audience was actually bigger than average!

Next on the back stage was the band Minty had been really looking forward to hearing, the School ( . In fact, speaking with some friends earlier in the week, all had said they wanted to see this band. The programme described The School as “girl group bubblegum kitsch”. Technical difficulties meant a delayed start as a substitute keyboard was brought in, but once they started, there was no stopping them, as David Bash found out when he tried to jump up near to the end of their set to do the usual MC announcements, and was told (by the school mistress) “get off the stage, we haven’t finished yet”!!! The School are really fantastic, blending harmonies with a violin, handclaps, and pure 60’s style girl group pop. The best band of the day for Minty!

Killing time in between acts we wanted to see, we caught a bit of Andy Lewis, which included a female lead who screamed into the mic for the first song. She seemed to mellow a bit after that, but this was a bit too jazz funk and we went back to the back stage to see The Gurus.

The Gurus are a 3 piece from Barcelona and they were surprisingly harmonious whilst sounding like The Ramones. This was raw energy and powerpop through and through. They also drew in a good crowd.

Karl Morgan & The Click came recommended, and we saw them on the Front stage. I was left wondering if the lead vocalist’s voice has actually ever broken. They had a good sound, but the lead vocals were just a little too high for us!

So, day 3 in summary. Today showed the rich diversity of music on show at the IPO when our two favourite bands were The Fast Camels and The School. Two great bands who sound absolutely worlds apart, the only common thing being great songs.


  1. Love the photo of The Fast Camels. The guitarist on the left looks like he's got two heads!

    Really enjoying the IPO - made all the more enjoyable by the presence of Minty & The Beeb. Wouldn't be the same without you guys! Batten down the hatches for Day 4.....

  2. One day just isn't enough. Must stay for the whole week next year...

  3. Thanks for saying such great things about us, and thanks for your support! Hope to see you at the next gig or next year at IPO. Bob, Jim & Isobel (Kelly's Heels)