GIG: International Pop Overthrow – Day 1
DATE:: Tuesday 15th May 2012
VENUE: The Cavern Pub & Cavern Club (Front Stage and Live Lounge)
COST: All free
OUR VERDICT: Poptastic!

The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 150 artists, across 5 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles form folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!!
During our time at the festival, we can’t see every artist / band, but we do aim to see as many as we can. Some of the bands / artists just aren’t our cup of tea, some are good and some are just pure nuggets and our blog is a personal account of what we thought of each day, highlights and lowlights included.
David Bash launches the IPO
Day One kicked off at the Cavern Pub and not overly impressed with the band that started the festival off, we found one of our IPO nuggets with the second band on the bill, Magic Eight Ball, (!/pages/Magic-Eight-Ball/136714362223).

From Egham, this band is a mix of Jellyfish, Manic Street Preachers, with a bit of Neil Finn thrown in. They have  great melodies in their songs and a fantastic sound which just got the vibe pumping through your body and your feet tapping.

Magic Eight Ball
The main vocalist, Baz has a terrific voice and had a great look .Dressed in a striped fitted jacket and polka dot trousers, if Nicky Wire won a three minute trolley dash through BIBA in 1970, this is what he’d look like! Great backing harmonies came from the drummer, who gets our vote for the best smile of the IPO.
Off stage, you couldn’t wish to meet a nicer bunch of people either. 2 CDs in the bag already and we were only an hour into the IPO! Impressed? We were.

Next up, Johnny Monaco & the Traitors,  (  a Chicago based musician who is touring in the UK at the moment.

Johnny Monaco & The Traitors

This was a seasoned performer, going straight into each song without any need for discussion with the band. Johnny had a bit of an Elvis Costello sound about him, great vocals. His set was really good although the mic for the backing vocal could have been a tad higher.

Always Something There to Remind Me
The tempo slowed down for a cover of “In My Life” and then went into a stonking rendition of “Always Something There To Remind Me”, for which Baz from Magic Eight Ball joined him…….. that was a totally FAB version and Baz’s vocals blended superbly. Johnny’s performance was tight, well-rehearsed and got a great response from the audience.

The Montanas, from the Netherlands have been at many of the Liverpool IPO’s and have never disappointed us. Being a four-piece, of which 3 are brothers, you would expect the vocals to blend together with great harmonies and they do just that! The pub was pretty packed, as the band seemed to have brought along their own WAGs and friends, but even without their entourage, this band was a big hit with the audience.
The Montanas

They rocked right the way through their set, with the two guitarists taking their turn with the lead vocals which sounded superb, while giving us some really great riffs. A highlight was “Josie” which we have heard a few times at previous IPOs and a new song they have co-written with David Lloyd (of the Suns).

We headed across the street then to the Cavern Club, and the first act gracing the front stage were a local trio called The Dockers. Another IPO nugget.

The Dockers
This band look young but are really, really great musicians. The bass guitar had LED lights on the fret board, and the guy playing it was a dab hand at playing slap bass (Level 42 style). Their set was a mixture of rocking and slap bass, really strong drumming, a few guitar shreds and lovely vocals and harmonies – all the ingredients needed for a terrific Powerpop band. Their final song started softly, with just the guitarist and bass player harmonising (which sounded not dissimilar to the Everly Brothers) before hitting right between the eyes with a full on rock number to close the set! We hope we hear more from this band.

Next up, The Soundcasters, (!/groups/thesoundcasters/) a band we have seen twice before at the IPO and love. Their songs are a mix of Mod, Ska and Pop (and it can be all within the same song!), with changing tempos. These guys seem to enjoy what they are doing, if the way they bounce around the stage is anything to go by.

The Soundcasters rock the Front Satge

Really enjoyed their set which had some of the songs we’ve grown to love after seeing them over the last couple of years (Pauline and a cover of a James brown song “I Don’t Mind”) plus a couple of new ones. Although we didn’t get across to the Pub for their second set later in the evening, we understand it was completely different and had more of their new material. Their second set apparently included “Just a Gigalo” with some great acapella harmonies. Sorry we missed that.

The Ace
The Ace, ( from Leeds were up next. We had forgotten just how good this band is and they would not be out of place playing at a Dirty Water gig. Their songs are raw mod rock, with great guitar licks and you find yourself singing along to the “ba ba ba ba boos” and they have the maddest drummer of the IPO so far!!
Vocals were shared between the guitarist and the bass player, each sounded great and worked really well together.  “Go-Go Girl” was a highlight for us – a real 60’s mod beat. Another CD in the bag for us.

Next up for us, in the Cavern Live Lounge (Back Stage) was another local band, The Suns. This is another band we have seen a few times at the IPO, and again, really enjoyed catching them.
David Lloyd - The Suns

Their songs have a soft, melodic sound to begin with, building into a great pop sound with pop energy in all the right places. David Lloyd’s vocals were spot on today – he sounded great. Their set included a few new songs which we felt worked really well and the standing-room-only crowd appreciated them too. We look forward to the new songs being recorded and released on the next album.

Back to the front stage and Spygenius ( were next up for us. After a few technical problems with the keyboard, their set got underway. Lots of surf guitar verb from the 12 string Italia.

Their set included “California Sunshine” during which the vocals from all the band members really gelled and sounded so summery. From that point on they didn’t look back and delivered a high energy, powerpop set which ended with one our favourites “Surf”.  This band is playing the London IPO, so go see them!


Dashing back to the Live Lounge, we caught the second performance from Magic Eight Ball. It was quite late and the audience had dwindled (being a week night) so many people would unfortunately miss out on the experience of seeing this band. Seeing them for the second time just re-enforced our opinion of how good Magic Eight Ball are.
Magic Eight Ball

The Live Lounge has a much fuller sound than the Pub, and the backing vocals from the drummer came through much stronger. They have some really great songs, a bit of country and rockabilly mixed in and Baz once again delivered a stellar performance, with awesome vocals, and if he was disappointed at the dwindling audience, he didn’t show it.

Ashbury Keys, ( from Houston, Texas were up next. This band suited the Live Lounge stage, delivering a fantastic energy filled powerpop set. The audience had dwindled again, but Ashbury Keys gave it their all and we really liked what we heard.

The guitar was great and the vocals sounded great. Their energy reminded us of The Gaslight Anthem, and we got a copy of their latest EP, which we look forward to spinning. This is a band we hope to catch again at the IPO.

Last but no means least, almost playing the graveyard shift was a local band, 20lb Sounds. The last slot of a mid-week night is a tough gig to play but the three piece did not let that deter them. The programme described them as “bluesy roots rock” and with the appearance of a harmonica that rang true. Not a bad set, but nothing really stand out great for us.

 So ended night number one. A great start and a very hard standard set!

Total number of bands seen = 12
Number of bands seen twice today = 1

No comments:

Post a Comment