GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 6
DATE: Sunday 19th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub , Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: all free
OUR VERDICT: Summer Surf is still here!

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

We saw just two bands today before we headed back home, both of which we had seen the previous night and we had to see them again!    

The Surfin' Lungs kicked off the proceedings at mid-day in the Cavern Pub and the audience in the pub suddenly seemed to take note and really enjoyed the set. They appeared to love the harmony blend with a  Ramones style sound.The set today differed from the one we experienced last night - the keyboard was replaced with an extra guitar and kicked off with "The Beach Will Never Die". A couple of surf instrumentals were included today, "The Godfather" (a particular favourite of Minty) and from 1985, "Rockin' In Rameses Tomb". This was a great set, including a bit of Twin Peaks inspired guitar on"Bubblegum Summer" and culminating in a fantastic finale of a cover of The Beach Boys' "Surfin Safari" a la Ramones. Brilliant stuff, and thoroughly enjoyable. We really felt the other people in the pub appreciated it too. Any opportunity to see this band perform, take it! they are THE Masters of UK surf!
The Surfin' Lungs

The Sunny Boys from Italy were on next. A smaller stage but Gianluca's personality that shone through last night was not diminished in any way, shape or form! He still bopped around the stage and they opened with a great version of "Miserlou".  "Wipe Out" was dedicated to the Surfin' Lungs, and they played a bit with the guitars behind their heads during this one! Their own original material sounded great, and with Gianluca as the front man adding his own style to the songs, and with his stories behind the songs,  the set went down a storm. They finished with a great version of "Fun Fun Fun" and that is exactly what we had. Nice one. Loved it.  
The Sunny Boys

Minty & The Beeb and The Sunny Boys


GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 5 (Saturday)
DATE: Saturday 18th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: £2 charge on the door to get into the Cavern from 2pm, rising to £4 from 8pm
OUR VERDICT: Summer Surf is here!

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

Our day didn’t start as early as we had intended, as the late nights were starting to take their toll. The IPO started at mid-day with Fun Of The Pier on the Front Stage but we didn’t arrive until late into their set, catching just the last two songs. We had seen this acoustic duo the day before, but it was a shame that our tardiness had caused us to miss the full set, with David Lloyd (from The Suns) and Ni (from Honeybug) joining them on stage to add a bit of backing and extra guitar. We do like their song “Inconsiderate” which is aimed at those people who chat consistently through gigs. The front stage was quite busy for a Saturday lunchtime and it was great to see Helen, on vocals, bursting with confidence to the lunchtime crowd. The audience were very appreciative and there was a good atmosphere in the club.

Fun Of The Pier
Ni from Honeybug

Next up was Honeybug. This band, from Edinburgh has been at every IPO we have been to and just about every time, you get a slightly different format. The last couple of years have seen Ni (the main man) on keyboard with Laura and Erin on lush backing vocals. What we have this year is a three piece, no Laura and Erin, but a superb guitar player and a young drummer to give Ni an electric set. The sound today was far superior to that experienced on the back stage yesterday – they do really play well on the Front stage. The guitar player ranges from a guitar crunch to a Slash style Guns ‘n’ Roses pick to an effect pedal delivering great 70’s Blaxploitation-film type guitar. Ni’s vocals were spot on and really do suit the acoustics of the front stage. The drums were still a tad too loud but we got a great beat. “No Matter What” was the cover in the set, with a false ending that caught everybody out. It was good to hear some of the songs performed last year with the drums and guitar as they gave a new depth to Ni’s music. We are eagerly looking forward to Ni’s next endeavour, The Jonah Project.

At that point we took the opportunity for a break, to join Beach Boys Britain at their hootenanny in The Lomax, where The Beeb played with Adam Marsland and The Surf School Dropouts and we were entranced with a great Ukulele band playing “Isn’t It Time” from the fabulous 2012 Beach Boys’ album “That’s Why God Made the Radio”.

After that, a quick wash and brush up and we were back in the Cavern Club at around 7.15, just in time to catch the majority of the set from Liverpool’s The Grande in the Live Lounge. We have seen this band most years we have been to the IPO and what we get is some good old country rock. The slide steel and White Falcon were missing this year but the tight vocal harmony from the lead vocalist and Melanie were absolutely brilliant. They know their music inside out and sounded great.


Ross, from Spain played next on the Front Stage. This is another band we have seen at a previous IPO and with a guitarist that looks a bit like Paul Weller, we like their real power pop sound. The area in front of the stage was filled with Spanish people so they obviously brought a lot of support with them. The stage is quite small and we noticed a saxophonist hiding in the archway. We felt he should have been a bit more prominent but he was pushed to the front of the stage for the last song! Their last song was sung in Spanish which sent their supporters club wild.

The next act on the Live Lounge stage had been bigged up as having an authentic girl group sound and as Minty loves that 60’s girl group sound the minute Ross finished, we dashed to the back stage to catch Ellamore. They are not authentic, unless you believe the X Factor involves real music! This was a trio of girls who all want to be Cheryl Cole and with them just singing along to backing tracks, what we got was a karaoke show. For us the IPO is all about LIVE music and the opportunity for bands to showcase their music, playing it live – Ellamore just don’t fit that aspiration! They did get a good reception, but maybe that was down to the fact they had brought a big support with them and it’s a busy time traditionally.

So, back to the Front Stage, and we watched Hijinx set up and start their set. The bass guitarist had the same look as Wondermints’ and Brian Wilson band member Nick Walusko, with his facial hair, cap and sunglasses. Their set started strongly with “Gonna Get You” which is a real crowd pleaser, and being a local band, there was a bit of a crowd in to watch them. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for their full set as the rest of the night’s plans were to watch the bands on the live lounge stage.

From Italy, The Sunny Boys were up next. A class act, they just about stole last year’s IPO when they made their debut at the festival. They kicked off with “Freeway Rider” which incorporates a nod to “My Sharona”. Main man Gianluca hops about the stage as if he’s barefoot on a hot plate. Firing into the classic “Do You Wanna Dance” in a Ramones style, this got the Beach Boys fans in the audience excited. Amidst The Sunny Boys own great songs, there was a medley of 80’s hits including Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer”, “I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Ghostbusters.” There was also an encore of a Ramones song. There may have been as many covers in the set this year as there was originals, but the energy they put into a show more than makes up for that fact. You could run a small town for a week if you could can the energy Gianluca puts into a gig. He left the stage grinning from ear to ear knowing they’d won over even more fans this year.
The Sunny Boys

Chris Pearce - Surfin' Lungs

The Surfin’ Lungs are old favourites of ours having seen them many times before, and Minty has loved them since 1986 when she discovered their first LP “Cowabunga”. The gigs the Lungs play tend to be at surf festivals in Spain and Italy, so it was a bonus for us when we found out they were going to play the Liverpool IPO. They have a wealth of material behind them and we were treated to tracks from various albums, kicking off with “Pray For Sun” and including “Goin’ To Rockingham”.

A few songs in, Chris changed to his 12 string Burns guitar for the authentic surf sound of “She’d Rather Be With The Sea” which is one of Minty’s favourites. There was a bit of a problem with the sound as we couldn’t really hear Clive’s keyboard, but this was rectified before the end of the set though. “Holy Guacamole” with its bass line reminiscent of the Jam’s “Start” had everyone singing along with the chorus. Their final song of the night, “Let Them Eat Surf” got a raptourous cheer. This was about the quickest 30 minutes we’ve spent at this IPO, the time just flew in! But loved every minute of it.

The Surfin' Lungs

Ben Jones and the Rifle Volunteers are another band we know always put on a great show. The first time we saw Ben was with his old band The Lovedays at an IPO a few years ago. He is a natural performer and loves the stage. There’s been an abundance of Paisley patterned shirts at this year’s IPO, and this band added to the tally. The Beeb now thinks he’s a fashion trendsetter since he started wearing them months ago!

Ben Jones
Ben’s obviously a big Dylan fan, throwing in a manic rap of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Thunder On The Mountain” in amongst his own songs, with “Thunder In The Montain” mashed with a bit of “Wipe Out” which the drummer seemed to love. “Promises Promises” and “Stop” are two brilliant songs. Ben’s a great guitarist as is his keyboard player. He’s put together a fantastic band because the drum and bass work together very well too. His performance was as good as we expected, very well rehearsed, and Ben introducing each member as they took a wee solo spot. Again, because they got such a rapturous applause they had to do an encore which is not something that happens to many bands here because of the tight schedule. It was clear to see the co-organiser Rina loved the whole set too. Minty couldn't help but notiuce that Ben is the spitting image of Dr Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds!

After Ben Jones finished the crowd started to thin out a bit. Ulysses are not what you’d call a pop band. They fall more into the prog rock vein (quite Rush) as far as we’re concerned. They’ve moved on a bit since we last saw them, segueing into the second song without a break in the proceedings. Unfortunately the volume of the guitars drowned out the vocals completely. There’s a decent song called “It’s A Long Long Time” which incorporated The Beatles “Beep Beep Yeah” from “Drive My Car”, but again the guitars just drowned out the vocals. They are a good enough band in their own field, just not our cup of tea. On the plus side, our mate loved them!

Mothboxer are favourites of IPO founder and CEO David Bash. Unfortunately for us they did a bit of an “Ellamore” with the backing tracks. We heard a nice bit of lead guitar going, while both guitarists were strumming which gave the game away! Then the keyboard started to play with no-one near it. They had pre-recorded stuff coming through, again.. not in the spirit of the IPO as far as we’re concerned. When the singer put his guitar down to play keyboard himself, he was side on to the front of the stage and this actually alienated a proportion of the audience as he had his back to them. Simply setting the keyboard up to face the audience would have engaged him more. Their overall sound is not bad, but with our aversion to the use of backing tracks, they were not really our cup of tea.

Drew and Mark - a great team
Next up, and the final act of the night for us were Glasgow’s finest The Fast Camels.

Despite a couple of sound issues (they lost the mics at one stage), this band just hit all the right buttons and delivered a fantastic psychedelic set. We were treated to some new songs tonight, in advance of their new album coming out any minute now, alongside some old favourites, especially their finale “Der Nazi Tea”.

The Beeb even got up to join them with his kazoo for “The 2 Day Week” which he was honoured to do and felt immensely proud.

Their songs are all mini epics, with really clever segues into different beats and speeds which melt into one another and just give you a complete psychedelic experience. We loved it all.

The Fast Camels chill
The Beeb helps out on kazoo


GIG: The Katmen 
DATE: Friday 17th May 2013
VENUE: Erics, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: £10
OUR VERDICT: Rocked that town

Our Liverpool IPO schedule arrangements had all been planned when we found out The Katmen were playing in Eric’s on Mathew Street on the Friday night. This meant re-arranging things a bit. Well, not actually re-arranging….... just dropping what was planned because we weren’t going to miss this chance to see The Beeb’s current top guitarist Darrel Higham and Minty’s long-time favourite, Slim Jim Phantom from The Stray Cats.

Co-incidentally the Beeb had just come into possession of the hard to find Eddie Cochran book that Darrel had written years ago and hoped to get it signed. The third member of The Katmen is Al Gare, stand-up bass player of Imelda May’s band.

We got into Eric’s and it was already starting to fill up with Rockabilly guys and gals all dressed in their finest Rockabilly clothes, hair-do’s and hair grease. With drinks ordered we made our way to the front of stage, determined to get a good view of the band. We think their TV appearance on LATER days before had really bumped the crowd up.

Excellent support came from an unknown to us, but obviously big in this scene, John Lewis. With a small Fender amp, a stomp board and an unusual looking guitar he proved himself to be no slouch when it came to guitar playing. He played a selection of his own songs as well as some covers and he went down very well. In fact we ended up buying one of his CD’s we were so impressed.

Al Gare

After John had finished and the lights went back down it was time for The Katmen to come on.

Al led the band out and we were soon off to a flyer. Darrel really is huge in the Rockabilly world and certainly dresses the part too. With a black embroidered Nudie like shirt and turned up jeans he looked great.
Armed with a big archtop Gibson and his Gretsch White Falcon sitting in the wings Darrel sounded as good as he looked. The set list consisted of tracks from the new album as well as some covers like Eddie Cochran’s “Nervous Breakdown”, “A Big Hunk o’ Love” by Elvis and Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”

Darrel Higham with his White Falcon teasing Beeb  in the background
They played a blistering set before the quiffs started to fall due to the sweat. Slim Jim treated us to The Stray Cats’ “Rock This Town” and that just about brought the house down. So many people STILL love The Stray Cats obviously, including us.

Slim Jim
They played for about an hour before coming back for an encore. When they DID come back on they fired right into another Eddie Cochran classic, “Something Else.” This was swiftly followed by the lead track from the new album “We Need Elvis Back.” Last song of the night was Johnny Burnette’s “Rockabilly Boogie.” This was the perfect song to finish such a great night of Rockabilly music.
Darrel Higham
Thank you Liverpool!
Darrel has quite a few albums out, but they all seem to be either hard to get a hold of, or the prices have just sky-rocketed on them. Thankfully they had the re-issued first Katmen album, now with bonus tracks, for sale. Sorted!

We met up with Al Gare outside and had an interesting chat with him. Out of the hundreds of gigs he’s done with Darrel in Imelda May’s band, he remembered the gig we were at two years ago in Los Angeles, telling a funny story about the Burlesque dancer who was at the gig.

Slim Jim's drum kit

As we were talking, Darrel and Slim Jim Phantom came out and Al very kindly volunteered to act as cameraman so we could have our picture taken with them. The Beeb chatted to Darrel about guitars, and the fact that the White Falcon was just sitting there the whole night UNUSED just to tease him. Minty on the other hand just turned to jelly, finally getting a hug from a Stray Cat after all these years! Another terrific gig and we were so glad the timing of it worked out so well for us.

The Beeb, Slim Jim, Minty and Darrel - photo taken by Al

Darrels' White Falcon


GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 4 (Friday)
DATE: Friday 17th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: It’s all free (£4 charge on the door to get into the Cavern from 8pm though)
OUR VERDICT: Ratted Again!

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

Things ramp up from Day no.4, with the bands starting at mid-day and going through until 2am!

First on our schedule was Swedish band The Plastic Pals. Just the name itself interested us so we made sure we were at the front stage to see them start. We stayed only for about half of their set though before we headed over to see what was going on in the pub. They were not a bad band, just that there was nothing really stand out about them.

Norman Kelsey had an extra slot and he was accompanied by Adam Marsland. The combination of these two was pretty much the same as Wednesday, with “Our Love Is Known” sounding really lush. There were a couple of surprises in the set as improvisation took over, and we got a great acoustic version of the recent Daft Punk number 1, “Get Lucky”. That had a bit of a “wow” factor about it. The second surprise was when The Beeb asked for “Airport Kisses” a song from Norman’s latest album, and he got it! No rehearsal or practice……. This is what sets some performers apart from anyone else….. those who know their material and can play it on spec.
Norman Kelsey and Adam Marsland
 It was acoustic all the way as the next band, Warm Morning, from Italy delighted us With two acoustic guitars and a nice bass line, we were pleasantly surprised as it was so refreshing. Nice harmonies.

Warm Morning

Adam Marsland on the Front Stage
We headed back to the Front Stage and saw Adam Marsland entertain the Friday lunchtime crowd with a set similar to the one he had performed the day before. A lot of the audience at this time of day is just passing through as part of the Beatles tours so Adam did have to contend with the general chit chat of people who were not there solely for the music. However, the noise level did recede while he did “No-one Will Hear This Song” and there was a bit of audience participation on his tribute to “Power Pop Days” although Adam wasn’t too impressed with the standard from us!

Just a short time later, Adam was back up on stage, this time the Live Lounge as he covered an extra slot. The sound in the lounge was very good and although the audience was not massive, they were appreciative and very respectful during the quieter numbers.

The next couple of hours were really manic, dashing between bands. Over in the Pub, we unfortunately missed the first bit of the set from Kelly’s Heels. This is a fantastic trio from London who are real masters of a powerpop tune or two, or three or four…….. Although they play the IPO every year, we haven’t managed to catch them over the last couple of years so it was great to have the opportunity to finally see them this time around. Their sound is textbook powerpop, crunchy guitar, great bass, a fantastic solid drumbeat and catchy, foot tapping songs. There was a sizeable crowd in the pub who seemed to enjoy it all.

Kelly's Heels

The Breakdowns

The Breakdowns followed, with an acoustic set, consisting of two guitars and the lead vocalist from the band. For the first few minutes, there was an awful echo on the lead microphone and the backing vocals were inaudible. The sound engineer lifted the backing vocals and fixed the echo but the whole sound was quite muddy. That was a shame as this could have been quite a good set. We had to leave after four songs anyhow, in order to dash back to the Club where Honeybug were due on stage in the Live Lounge.

Honeybug, from Edinburgh, are another band who appear most years, and each time you are never really sure what you will get. The set-up we have seen has ranged from a full band with lush harmonies provided by a group of backing singers, to the main man (Ni), a keyboard and harmonies provided by Laura and Erin. This year, we got a three piece, plugged in...a keyboard, guitar and drums. The sound on the back stage was not mixed right, with the drums and keyboard drowning out most of the vocals which was a shame as Ni does have a lovely voice. The quality song-writing was obvious.
The Popdogs made their debut in the Cavern Pub at this year’s IPO and we can’t actually believe this was their first gig, they were that good. Lead vocalist James Styring is no stranger to the IPO having performed with Postcards Form Places That Don’t Exist in the past but since we last saw him, has undergone some sort of transformation, looking fitter and younger than we have ever seen him. The Beeb wants a taste of the Lincolnshire water! They powered through a truly fantastic set, promoting their CD “Cool Cats For Pop Dogs” which is powerpop brilliance (see our review in our spin it or bin it blog - ). It was a tight, fast paced set, and the audience lapped up every song. this set was a genuine crowd pleaser. Nice one guys.

The PopDogs

At this point, we took a break from the IPO as we had tickets to see The Katmen in Erics and returned to The Cavern as the last thirty minutes of Friday night ticked by.

Kelly's Heels on the Front Stage

As we returned to the Cavern Club, the Front stage was being absolutely rocked by Kelly’s Heels, of that there is no doubt. The place was heaving, as they played their usual blinder of a set at their typical fast pace, going seamlessly through their set list. These guys have worked together for a long time and are just so tight. Think fast, crunchy guitar, deep bass and a strong and rolling drumbeat and that’s Kelly’s Heels. It is always great to see and hear them play live.


Next up was Wales combo, Junebug, another band who play every IPO but which we have not really been able to catch over the last couple of years. They play fast paced, punchy pop songs too, so playing after Kelly’s Heels was a great fit as the momentum kept going. We could hardly get near the stage due to the throng of people in front of us!

Our final band for the night was The Beat Rats. Still wearing their black leather gear, they commanded the Live Lounge, kicking off with their “Beat Rats Theme” which got people to their feet immediately and the front of the stage became a dance floor for the next thirty minutes. It didn’t matter if the twirls and the swings of the audience who seemed to be jiving for the first time ever, were mis-timed or un-coordinated – EVERYONE was having oodles of fun. Feeling the heat, bassist, Tony, shredded his black leather jacket to reveal a black and white dotted shirt which earned a bit of ribbing from the rest of the band with a cry of “turn off that shirt” from lead man Frank Max! Their set included the great “Ever Since You Went Away” which is from their new album “Have Mersey” and is becoming a firm favourite of Minty’s. We make no apologies for gushing about this band. We absolutely love them, we love their music, we love their gigs.

Our only gripe is that their record label is Cavern Records yet they had absolutely NO promotion from this label during their short stay in Liverpool this year. Had CDs of “Have Mersey” been available they would have been flying off the merch table.

The Beat Rats

No of bands seen today = 9
No of bands seen more than once today = 2
No of different bands seen so far = 33
Total No of bands seen more than once = 10

Top band today...Might have to stop this bit of the blog...too difficult to pick ONE
Performance of the day... The Pop Dogs in the Pub v The Beat Rats Back Stage - too close to call.


GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 3 (Thurs)
DATE: Thursday 15th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: It’s all free
OUR VERDICT: We got Ratted!

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

We are into Day 3 now, and our schedule for band watching today is very hectic. Kick starting our day in the Cavern Pub was Adam Marsland, all the way from Reseda, California. His set started with two upbeat, rocky numbers, one of which he told us morphed from his time with The Standells. The next song was from his new CD (so new it is not officially released yet!) “No-one’s Gonna Hear This Song” which is a lovely quiet song. Well, everyone in the pub did hear this song and for the first time ever, the entire pub was completely hushed. All you could hear aside from Adam’s vocals and acoustic guitar was the door creaking whenever anyone walked in! His set also included a song called “Portland” which has traces of Brian Wilson. There was a richness to his songs that stilled the Pub and got everyone’s attention. Nice one Adam.

Adam Marsland
The next act was billed as Kevin McGowan but it was in fact Kevin and another guy, collectively called Coloured Dreams. They arrived late so the Pub was then running fifteen minutes late. They still played their full slot and they were not a bad combination and with two acoustic guitars, they were a bit like Neil and Tim from Crowded House.

Norman Kelsey with Adam Marsland
Another acoustic performance followed: this time, Norman Kelsey from California. Adam Marsland joined him on stage, playing a bit of keyboard and guitar alongside, and also providing some supporting backing vocals. Norman has a very soulful voice, with hints of Prince. Together, he and Adam did a ballad “Our Love Is Known By Name” which sounded absolutely gorgeous, along with other tracks from Norman’s latest album On The Rebound, which was actually produced by Adam.

Staying in the Pub, Spygenius were up next. Peter the lead singer joked that having listened to a band yesterday he realised that the audience can’t actually understand the vocals so he encouraged everyone to buy a CD so they could understand them! By the second song, the sound engineer had taken that comment on board and twiddled his sound board so that the vocals were a bit cleaner! Anyhow, as ever, Spygenius didn’t disappoint with a great set of fast paced songs with the backing vocals blending in perfectly. Their song “California”, although about growing up in South London has loads of ba ba ba bahs and aaahhs you could be on the U.S. West Coast instead! We heard some new songs today, “I Want That Girl” had an interesting double drum beat, with a reducing volume and a four beat bass almost giving the song menacing overtones! Sounded great though. It was good to see the drummer from another band who was in the audience, singing along to every word throughout the set.

Next on the cards for us was the Live Lounge in the Cavern Club, and a chance to see more from Boomin’. They were full pelt into their first number when we got there. This band lapped up the back stage, their personalities really oozing through every chord and drum beat. Their song “Kill the DJ” had a great tag in it, singing “live music all the way”. This would make a great single, although they might not get much airplay with that title!. The bass player is definitely the joker of the band with his stage antics. Today, the drummer had a chance to shine, and prove that drummers can sing, after he emerged from behind the drum kit to sing a lovely rock ballad. We would have bought their CD but at a tenner a pop, we felt it was a bit over-priced in the IPO world.
Surf School Dropouts
The Front Stage was running about half an hour late so we were able to catch the full set from Denmark’s Surf School Drop Outs. The sound engineer had his work cut out, as there were eight of them on stage!! We found out later that this was their first ever gig, and we were gob-smacked. They harmonised so well they are in the same league as The Fendertones and Explorers Club and would give Brian Wilson’s backing band a run for their money! The lead vocals were shared between the guitarist, who played a 12 string Danelectro for most of the time, and the keyboard player, who also had a nice falsetto. Their songs are so influenced by the West Coast harmonies of The Beach Boys and David Bash spent most of the time at the front of the stage letting their sound just wash over him.

Spygenius did their second slot next, and we heard a different set than they had played earlier. Their theme from a film that has never been made was really atmospheric with the keyboard and harmony vocals, and they also did what is a bit of a signature tune for them, “Surf” with pounding drums, great lead guitar. Peter the lead vocalist had a Blue Meanie dangling from his guitar which trotted and danced across the keyboard from time to time as the neck of the guitar encroached into the keyboard space in the cramped stage! Not only is this band good musically, but the songs are cleverly written too……. Anyone who says the fundamentals of life are fat men and hairy women deserves to be listened to! Another great set from a band we have seen a number of times and always love to see. We’ll be catching them again at the London IPO.
Spygenius play their 2nd set
Staying at the front Stage, Liverpool band The Suns were up next and this was the chance to hear their set without the vocals being drowned out. Lead man David Lloyd has a great voice and it shouldn’t be hidden underneath the crunchy guitar. The sound was much better today, and “Soul Desert” was a real stand-out song. You could feel the heat of despair. We also noticed the drummer was rather cleverly and to good effect, playing a box of Tic Tacs for added percussion! The set finished really strongly with the title track from their new EP “Demons” which has a brilliant tribal drum beat and the crowd absolutely loved it. Glad we caught this set.

The Suns
We caught a bit of the set from The Most, a band from Sweden we had seen last night. Their songs are short, sharp and pure beat pop. Their set is really good, and we succumbed and bought their new CD which they launched at the IPO.
The Most
Into the Live Lounge and Kontiki Suite, a five piece from Carlisle were just starting. Their material was good but did seem to miss the occasional backing vocal as only one of the band sings, and we thought they could have engaged with the audience a bit more in terms of introducing themselves and their songs. That aside, they did play a really good set - their sound being quite southern California-ish and laid back, and had a nice feel to it - it was a good half hour spent. One highlight was a slightly slowed down version of “Runaway”which worked really well. We bought their CD (which incidentally had lovely artwork on the cover) so will give that a spin. Later on in the night we were to find out that the singer was very amiable, and we reckon  he's an artist who is actually quite shy on stage.
Kontiki Suite
The Ace
If The Ace were a wood preserver, they would do exactly what it says on the tin….. they are ACE! This is a trio (Daz on drums, Jonny on guitar and Nige on bass) from Leeds who wear paisley shirts and have 60’s mod beat down to a tee - their songs are brilliant foot stompers. They had just finished their first slot in the Pub before starting up on the front stage where we saw them, and we have no idea where their drummer gets his energy from to complete a second slot so soon! He is a brilliant drummer and completely wild and mad when he plays. They played a real blinder of a set, and in particular “Oh Yeah” went down a storm - it’s a great mod beat, you just can’t beat. They describe themselves on their Facebook page as “Sugar Shaking Poptastic Mayhem Straight Outta The Garage” and that hits it right on the head. Half an hour playing time was just way too short, but we are really pleased we had the opportunity to catch them this year.

The Ace after their set

The Reflections were next up for us, on the Live Lounge stage. We feel the band has had a bit of a re-invention since they played the IPO last year – they were a bit more psychedelic and the lead guy was playing a keyboard (versus guitar last year). They sounded really good, had a good stage presence and we particularly liked their closing number “No Way To Turn Around”.

The Reflections

The Beat Rats
The it was time to get ratted. All the way from New York, the four black leather clad Beat Rats just rocked the front stage. If a band was moulded to perform here, it is The Beat Rats. From the first chord, the floor in front of the stage was filled with bodies just dancing non-stop for the whole set. Even David Bash got into the groove. They played a blistering set which included some old favourites such as “Mine All Mine” which was dedicated to Jay and Emily who had travelled across from Boston and were big Rats fans, to songs from their latest album “Have Mersey”, such as “Nyah Nyah Nyah” and “I Can’t Wait”. The place was absolutely thumping as the Rats beat out their Mersey beat meets the Ramones tunes. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant show.

The closest we could get to the stage!


No of bands seen today = 12
No of bands seen more than once today = 1
No of different bands seen so far = 26
Total No of bands seen more than once = 4

Top band today...The Beat Rats and Spygenius can fight it out!
Performance of the day... The Beat Rats on the Front Stage


GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 2
DATE: Wednesday 15th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: It’s all free
OUR VERDICT: The calm before the storm

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

We we eased into Day two very gently, our IPO starting with the second act on the bill at the Cavern Pub. Already the Pub was running late and by the time John Cee Stannard was set up and ready to go, the day was twenty five minutes behind schedule. With backing tracks cued up (his band was not joining him today), his set started. It wasn’t a bad set but we are not really keen on the idea of backing tracks being used. If the full band is not available to play, we usually experience a stripped down performance and to be honest, this would probably have worked here, today.

Fun Of The Pier with David Lloyd helping out
Next up, Nottingham duo Mark and Helen who perform as Fun Of The Pier. The acoustic bass gave the rhythm for Helen’s sweet vocals to sing some bright and breezy songs about being happy, the sun and no clouds in the sky. David Lloyd from Liverpool band The Suns joined the duo on stage for two songs, and added a lot of depth to the acoustic sound. Listening to them was a nice, gentle breaking in of the day.

The Jooles had an extra slot today as a band couldn’t perform due to illness, and we were pleased to experience their set again. With the stage in the Pub, you can see the drummer and it was great to see Richard behind the drum kit today – he was loving every minute of it. “Crush On A Girl” sounds better every time we hear it, and we noticed a great wee vocal arrangement going on from all four members of the band. They really do have a great soul, jazz funk kind of sound which the bass guitar really brought out, especially on “Break Up Song” which also includes a guitar vibe reminiscent of old 70’s TV Cop show themes and a fantastic drum beat.

Daria from The Jooles in full swing
We dashed across to the Cavern Club at this stage and caught the last part of the performance from Boomin’, a young band that can best be described as a cross between Busted, McFly and Green Day. This trio oozed personality and could be destined for bigger things. Their energy was unbelievable, the bass player was a bit of a joker, their songs full of guitar and some great backing vocals from the drummer. We hope we’ll be able to catch their second slot.

Boomin' in action

We wandered through to the Live Longe and David Bash was introducing The Most, from Sweden. In our IPO planning we had this band marked as one to catch due to their mod beat sound. The Most is a foursome, with mophead haircuts (although one looked like Joey Ramone), unusual guitars, and really catchy pop songs. They played a fast paced set, full of great beats and hooks. The crowd really loved them and David summed up their style as “awesome mod, authentic beat music”. He has hit the nail on the head with that description. A great set and we look forward to catching them again.

The Most

David Loyd and The Suns

Back to the Cavern Pub for Liverpool’s own The Suns. This is a trio we really like, led by David Lloyd who delivered a mix of up tempo songs and some a bit more laid back. Most songs had a crunchy sounding guitar, David's beloved Gibson SG, which at times was just that little too loud, drowning David’s vocal. We have to blame the sound man for this though. When you did hear it, his vocals were strong and very tuneful. With an EP just about to be released and older material about to re-released, we think we are going to be spoiled when we get our ears around those.

After a bite to eat, we were back in the Club and saw Peter Marchant on the Front Stage The name is mis-leading as this is not a solo artist, but a four piece band with the lead switching between a Brian May type guitar and keyboard. His vocal was something else, able to perform vocal gymnastics with no effort at all! They sang their new single which is out in June – we don’t know the name of it, but it sounded really great, with a tribal, pounding drum beat throughout. They also did a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” which sounded pretty good, but lacked a bit on the backing vocals which would really have enriched it. But we did enjoy this performance.

Peter Marchant
Back into the Live Lounge to see The Jooles once again. This was the second time today and the third time in total! They played a blinder on the backstage, and the sound was great. Just imagine Marsha Brady running away to join a rock band, and that is the singer in the band – a rock chick but with the wholesome look!. Swirling her long hair, shaking her hips, occasionally shaking a tambourine, grinning from ear to ear, she belts out the songs and looks totally at home doing this. The backing vocals from the other three members of the band are great, and the jazz-funk bassline, the mad drumming add to the package. The audience tonight loved them. As far as fronting a band goes, Daria is up there with the best of them without a doubt.

The Jooles rock the back stage

After that we decided to call it a night, knowing that the next few days are going to be long and late!


No of bands seen today = 7
No of bands seen more than once today
No of different bands seen so far = 17
Total No of bands seen more than once = 3

Top band today...The Jooles
Performance of the day... Boomin’ on the Front Stage