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.
|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|
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!
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!
|Drew and Mark - a great team|
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|