GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 1
DATE: Tuesday 17th May 2011
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: All free
OUR VERDICT: Made the nightmare drive worthwhile


First the intro blurb…….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, once again, 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.

Our plans to reach Liverpool before 3pm were somewhat thwarted by a serious accident that closed the M6 motorway causing a long queue with a detour through Cannock and Staffordshire resulting in a 90 minute delay. Arriving in Liverpool, stressed and starving, we decided to grab a bite to eat before doing anything else, so it was not until almost 7pm that we began our IPO.

A quick hello to David and Rina, and we caught the last half of The Broken Alphas on the back stage. We had this band down to see, due to their Glaswegian roots. More rock than pop, they were good nonetheless, but the songs didn’t really stick in our minds. The lead singer looked a bit like Ewan McGregor did 20 years ago in Trainspotting and he did have a strong voice.

Next up were Hijinx, (www.myspace.com/hijinxpowerpop) a local outfit, and one of the many bands David Lloyd of The Suns plays with. They had a bit of a false start when they couldn’t hear what they needed through the monitors but once they got going, they really got going. We remember this band from last year, as the sound engineer at the time thought the drummer was like Animal from The Muppets! Some things never change.


Their repertoire has some really decent songs, which are so catchy that you find yourself able to sing along with them before they end, and each has a little guitar solo spot too. “Gonna Rock You” is particularly strong, and “Big Rock Show” sounded great. We caught about 95% of their slot, before disappearing across to the Pub for an 8 o’clock start for another band.

The Red Comets (http://www.theredcomets.co.nr/) are Junebug in disguise! Well, the four piece includes brothers Ralph and Guy from Junebug but unlike Junebug, includes a keyboard. The Red Comets are a bit more easy going, but still manage to have catchy pop numbers, particularly “Sliding Away”. Their set included a very much Brian Wilson/Beach Boys influenced number and their last song was very jazz influenced. We have always enjoyed Junebug’s sets at the IPO and The Red Comets certainly didn’t disappoint at all.

Ralph & Guy - The Red Comets
 Staying in The Pub, next up were The Brights, a band originating from Chelmsford who lost marks for having Justin Beiber haircuts!! That aside, they played a great set, filled with quick foot tapping tunes. They slowed the pace down a little for a song that had a “Be My Baby” drum beat, a cool guitar lick played on a archtop Epiphone and a spot of harmonica – nicely done. The end of their set was a cover of Elvis’ “Burning Love” straight into one of their own numbers and got a great reaction from the audience.

The Brights

Back across to the Club and Loser Token  were mid-way through their set. This is a young band of three, who were quite rocky. They did take a bit of time in between songs, suggesting unfamiliarity with their set but certainly show promise to be a good band. They wowed the audience with a Stevie Wonder medley to finish off their set, Superstition, Higher Ground, I Wish and Sir Duke where the guitarist did a great job covering the keyboard pieces on his guitar.

The highlight band of the night was coming up next, although we didn’t know it at the time!!

54321, from Wirral (www.myspace.com/54321band) are a band of 4 brothers and a cousin (don’t F*** with the formula!!) who sounded fantastic. The lead singer could be the new Jon Bon Jovi – good looking and a terrific voice to deliver their set which included rock numbers and ballads alike. Their set included a song called “Casino” which sounded great, a cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” which was truly fantastic, followed by their own space song “Astronaut” which was also a great performance. This was definitely the best original song we heard today.

54321 on the Back Stage

We stayed with the back stage for a little longer, and saw a bit of the performance from New Vinyl. The lead singer reminded us of Serpico, the keyboard player a Brian Wilson circa 1977 (but without the heaps of weight) and both the guitarist and the bassist were left handed! This band didn’t stand out heads and shoulders above any other band, but they had a solid performance and some good harmonies on the backing vocals.

Back across at the Pub, SMASH Fashion (www.myspace.com/Smashfashion) played their second slot. These guys look like professional rock stars - they dress and have hair like rock stars anyhow – the bassist looked like Ronnie Wood!

SMASH Fashion
These guys are based in LA but only one of the band is originally from the US – the others hail from the UK, Finland and Holland. They are a tight band, who didn’t appear to need a set list, sounding very 70’s rock and doing a good job at it. The sound in the pub can be quite hit and miss and Minty felt the vocals were drowned a bit tonight. Nevertheless, it was a great set and The Beeb went off and bought their 2 albums!

SMASH Fashion
We ended our night in the Club – the front stage this time, and caught the latter part of Bjorn Pellbakke, from Norway. This was a 5 piece, including a keyboard with some quite delightful songs. “It’s Fabulous” was particularly catchy. Hats off to David Bash for pronouncing Bjorn’s name faultlessly.

The last band of the night was 54321, who we wanted to see again following their stellar performance earlier on. These guys are GREAT – if they do not hit the big time, then the world will be robbed of something special. Their second set was a bit of a treat as other than “Casino” we don’t think they played any of the songs they did earlier. They did play their new (free download) single, “Tiger Tiger” which sounded absolutely fantastic. The lead singer has such a great voice and with Barney( who plays keyboards) singing too, the mix is awesome.

The biggest treat was for the audience who had stayed through to the end :– 54321 did an unbelievable, wonderfully performed version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, using only three microphones!!

54321 on The Front Stage

The Beeb had seen Queen live a few times, but can’t remember them doing the whole of Bo Rap without resorting to tapes for the operatic bit in the middle. 54321 were awesome. Minty’s jaw was on the floor and looking at the audience they seemed to have the same reaction. Rapturous applause greeting the last bar of that performance.

And so closed our first IPO night...... we wonder if any band will top 54321’s performance.... it’s a high bar to reach.

Day 1 Summary:

No. of Bands seen : 8 bands
No. of Bands seen more than once :1
Best Original Song: 54321 - Astronaut
Best Cover: 54321 – Bohemian Rhapsody
Highlight of the day: 54321 - Bohemian Rhapsody


  1. I concur wholeheartedly. 54321 (the easiest band to type on the keyboard!) were the undoubted highlight. Second choice for me were The Brights. A great Day 1. Roll on Day 2!

  2. Great blog! 54321 were brilliant, I remember seeing a couple of the bouncers (who were slouched on the barstools at this point) stand up when they heard Bohemian Rapsody, jaws on the floor. I haven't been able to make it to any of the other nights this week, but I'll be looking forward to the rest of your review because if there are any bands as good as 54321 on I'd love to give them a listen.

  3. 54321 are brilliant- can't wait to see them in Manchester! Nice one Boys :D

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