International Pop Overthrow Saturday (Day 4)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Saturday (Day 4)
DATE: May 23rd 2009
VENUE: The Grapes, Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: Rocking

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, back stage to see a band from Keith in North Scotland, The Chymes ( . Talk about fab harmonies and pure psychedelic pop. There was a bit of The La’s about this band and were well worth seeing.

Then we wandered across Mathew Street to the Grapes pub to see The Grande (, a band we had already seen on Wednesday, this time “unplugged” with just the band’s front man Ben and Melissa. Unplugged you really do hear the strength to Melissa’s voice. We saw the full band play again, this time on the Cavern Front stage, later that afternoon, where they were really at home. The sound was excellent, and with a few friends in the audience, had a great crowd watching them. This is a band to watch.

The small stage in the Grapes was taken over next by Stephen Butler and some of the other band members from Smash Palace (, a band who travelled all the way from the East Coast of the US. For the Grapes, they were able to fill the sound out more, having the benefit of a keyboard with them and their set went down very well, including a Beatles’ number “I’ll Be Back”. Apart from filling the sound out with the keyboard, they also did 3 part harmonies.

The full band played later on, on the Back Stage of the Cavern Club and we managed to catch the 2nd half of their set. They played to quite a large appreciative crowd, and even did “Juliette & Me”, requested by “Dave from Liverpool” in the audience! You can tell this band is experienced and well seasoned – they were tight, knew their songs and can be summed up as US Powerpop at its best. Stephen proved himself to be an excellent guitarist and we resolved to ensure we caught their next slot on the bill so we could see their full set.

Next up for us was Honeybug ( from Edinburgh, filling the back stage in the Cavern Club. With Honeybug, you never quite know what to expect, nor how big the band is going to be. This year they were a 7 piece, including 3 backing vocalists. The guitarist with the band, Ramage is probably the best guitarist at the whole IPO this year. It might have been a computerised guitar but it was used to the best possible effect, and the guy really could play. Ni, the lead man is a dead ringer for a Peter Kay character, with the personality to go with it. Their set was mainly their own excellent material but did also include a fabulous cover of Jellyfish’s “That Is Why” and rounded off their set with a totally awesome version of “Video Killed The Radio Star”. This was maybe the best reaction any band got to any song through the whole IPO. This band was made for the Back Stage.

The evening was just beginning, and next up was a firm IPO favourite (in fact this guy has played at more IPO’s worldwide than any other artist). Jeremy ( loves music and you can see this in everything he plays. You never know how big the audience is going to be at the IPO, as people filter in and out of the stages with no rhyme nor reason and although the audience for this slot was sparse, Jeremy gave his all and even did his trademark, playing the guitar above his head, jumping off stage into the audience, and just being the great showman that he is. His blues song, “Big House” transformed into “Instant Karma” which worked really well. Passionate right to the end, he finished off with a Kinks cover, “You Really Got Me”. This is the strongest vocals we have ever heard from Jeremy, and really enjoyed his show.

We caught part of the set from Radio Days on the Back Stage and they sounded quite good and very Ramones influenced and the lead singer had one of Paul Weller’s old haircuts!. The band was mono chromatic, dressed in black, and all had black and white guitars. We had tried to see this band earlier, at The Beaconsfield and were sorely disappointed with that venue. It seemed to lack discipline (as well as a sound engineer) and we gave up after one song. It seemed to be a different band playing later that evening on the Back Stage!

Next up, The Rutles, oops sorry, The Fore from Kent, on the Front Stage. This band could be the Rutles, with their obsession with the Beatles style, and their short catchy pop tunes. Having two 12 string guitars for most of the set really beefed the sound up. Maybe not the most original band, but worth catching if you just want to listen to easy feel good pop.

On the Back Stage, were a local band, 10 Reasons To Live, where the bass player and the front man were the personalities of the band.

By 11pm, when Peter & The Penguins ( took to the front stage the Cavern Club was heaving, and you couldn’t get anywhere near the front! The sound was tight, the harmonies in place, and the reception from the crowd, fantastic. They played many new songs, but also retained in their set, some old favourites such as “Took Me By Surprise”. Good, solid pop from Scandinavia. Always a great band to see at the IPO.

Our final band for the night was from Sweden, the Mellowmen. The lead, on keyboard was a Rick Wakeman lookalike who was passionate about his playing. He generated so much energy and sweat, we were scared when he touched the mic, for fear he would be electrocuted!! The band put so much into their set and really seemed to enjoy themselves. Our only downside to the gig? It was a constant barrage of rock from start to finish, with no breaks or spaces in the songs for you to catch your breath.

1 comment:

  1. Great review - I was there. :) I AM "Dave from Liverpool" as mentioned in the Smash Palace review. :) I would love to perform at IPO Liverpool 2010. I actually live in North Devon and travelled 300 miles to se emy friends Navy Blue and Satellites of Love. David Bash must have gotten my cds by now so it's just a question of hoping. :)

    Cheers! David (Snail)