GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 1
DATE: Tuesday 25th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all free
RATING: A gentle start with a crescendo of sound


International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash, visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

We were running a bit late this year, and missed the kick off to the festival. We wandered into the Cavern Club back stage (now rebranded as the Cavern Live Lounge) and caught the last 3 songs of The Weatherman. The name suggests a band but this was in fact a solo guy with acoustic guitar and a keyboard. He had a Noel Gallagher look about him and from what we heard of his set, wasn’t too bad, and was a nice easing into the start of the week long festival. The next act was down on our list as a “must see” - Armstrong ( From listening to their Myspace site, we had expected a full band to be appearing and were a little surprised when Armstrong turned out to be another solo guy with an acoustic guitar. Armstrong had quite a John Sebastian feel to him and you could also hear the Roddy Frame influence in his music. He banged out some good melodies from his guitar and overall his set was quite good. We bought his CD “Songs About The Weather” from the merchandise stall.

Next up, we went to the Cavern Pub where we caught the tail end to David Gibb’s set. His was a set of quick punchy folk/pop numbers, and his band line up included a violin and an accordion player. We felt they would be a good opener for Mike Harding’s radio 2 show rather that a powerpop band at the IPO.

Monkeeman ( could be classed as IPO veterans but it is the first time we have managed to catch their set. They really rocked things up and had a fantastic drummer who managed to throw in loads of unexpected fill-ins. They beat the British stereotype image of the Germans by showing they had a great sense of humour as well, after being heckled in German by a member of the audience. Their song “Life is Wonderful” was really good and their set finished with (the ironic?) “The Great Escape”.

We had some spare time and caught Soundserif on the Cavern Front stage. We could hear the tinkling of a keyboard and had difficulty locating the source of this. The keyboardist was tucked away in the far corner of the stage behind the amps! This band had both a male and a female vocalist and after a couple of songs, the female voice did grate a bit. We left the front stage about mid-way through their set, enticed away with the offer of a free CD single from the band who were about to start in the Live Lounge.

Identity Parade (the givers of free singles) are from Dublin and had a real Irish rock feel about them. Every song had a very strong drum beat and they certainly rocked. Each band member had a different look to them, ranging from a Mod and Ska, to a bearded hippy! We really liked their song “Six Shades of Blue”.

Back to the Cavern Pub to catch Camera ( We really enjoyed this band as they had a bit more harmony than the other bands we had seen so far, with both the bass player and the keyboardist providing backing vocals. Their really strong song was “Delilah” and up to this point had been the best song The Beeb had heard all day. They went down a treat.

We moved back to the Cavern Front Stage for the next round of bands. First in control of the stage was local band, The Suns ( Last year, the guy behind this band, David Lloyd had performed an acoustic set and this year it was good to hear the band fully plugged in and rocking. They had tremendous support and drew a reasonable sized crowd. Their songs were very punchy powerpop but slowed down a bit for “Soul Desert” which The Beeb particularly liked.

The Montanas (, from the Netherlands also had loads of support in the audience. Their set was really energetic, very lively and the vocals sounded good, especially “Josie” for which David Lloyd of the Suns joined them on stage and stayed for a cover of the Beatles “Taxman”. We did enjoy watching and listening to this band. It is unusual to see a band at the IPO where the lead singer is just that – a lead singer, without playing any instruments, but that did certainly not detract from them sounding great. They also get the award for being the tallest band of the festival!

We had extended our stay by a few hours at last year’s IPO to see Clockwise (, who had travelled from Toronto to appear at The Cavern. When we learned they were on the bill for this year’s festival, we were really excited at the prospect of seeing them again. They performed a high energy, rocking set, which included “Inside Out”, “Boom Town”, “Faders on Stun” (the title track from their latest album), a great cover of Badfinger’s “No Matter What”, with very strong vocals and finished up with a fantastic version of Nick Lowe’s “Peace Love and Understanding”. They looked like they enjoyed playing and the members of the audience certainly seemed to appreciate them too.

Hall Of Mirrors had intrigued us during our “research” on Myspace, with their classification of their sound as “French pop” and a line up that included a violin, and wondered how they would re-create their music in a live environment. The band seemed to be a bit cut down, with just the vocalist (also on keyboard), electric 12 string guitar, bass guitar and drums, and no violin. In all honesty, we did not feel this band were really powerpop and would be more suited to film scores. There was just the one vocal, which was quite similar to Kate Bush and she could certainly hold a note, but this meant that there was no harmony. We also felt the 12 string guitar was wasted a bit as it was wired up to peddles to produce the strange, electric sounds of the band so you did not hear the usual jingly jangly sound a 12 string usually adds.

Our last band of the night was The Grande ( who is another local band. This band impressed us last year and it was good to hear that nothing had changed. The male lead vocals from Ben Sherwen mixed with Melissa’s female vocals still works extremely well and she still shows the strength to her voice on the songs she took lead for. We felt the lapsteel could have been a touch louder for the set but they did a great set, enjoyed playing their music and had loads of support in the audience. Watch out for their debut album coming out later this summer. Oh, and a special mention must be made of the most gorgeous sight on any stage so far this IPO. Sorry Melissa, not you, but the Gretsch White Falcon guitar your guitarist had. Boys and their toys!

So, day 1 started gently with 2 acoustic sets, and progressed to full electric powerpop sounds which rocked the Club and the Pub through to past midnight. From the 25 acts that were on stage today, we caught 12 of them, so an almost 50% hit rate. Not bad!

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