DATE: Sunday 26th May 2013
VENUE: Surya, 156 Pentonville Road, London
COST: £8 charge on the door
OUR VERDICT: A mod blast
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.
Surya on a Sunday afternoon is extremely quiet, and at 2pm when the third day was due to kick off, hardly anyone was around! With one band already unable to play later in the day, there was flexibility to start a little later, giving the sound man a chance to get everything in order and the bar staff to recover from their Saturday night and check in!
Proceedings got underway with Steve Somerset (from The Shadow Kabinet) with a set of acoustic numbers. “What Am I Supposed To Do” was a lovely start, and with a touch of echo on the mic, the melody just oozed over you. The rest of the set kept up that high standard and ending on “These Days” where Steve sang about his ‘heart lying on the floor’ you felt the emotion. Although the audience was fairly small, each and every one of them were very appreciative.
|Dave Rave gets the party going|
With The Beeb spotted in the audience, Dave Rave did an impromptu version of Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy” and The Beeb was invited up on stage to deliver some harmonies for the last half of the song. Lovely stuff.
Other songs in the set were the great powerpop iconic songs, “Shake Some Action” and “Let’s Shake”. Again, a small audience but one that really enjoyed what they heard and saw.
These Reigning Days from Torquay have their own tour van! A powerful trio, the strongest member of the band was the drummer, although all his tattoos didn’t match the image of the paisley shirt! He was really energetic and played the floor tom a lot, which Minty liked. Not a bad set, but again a thin crowd so they sounded a lot louder than was necessary.
|These Reigning Days|
Next up were Shush and we took the opportunity to pop upstairs to the bar to grab a drink. How loud were this band? Even upstairs, we could hardly hear each other talk – God knows what it was like down by the stage! This was a band fronted by a girl, and we felt was quite early Suzy Quatro with heavy guitar.
Not wanting to see three girls prancing to backing tapes, we skipped the next band, Ellamore and took the opportunity to get some warm London sunshine and some dinner.
When we got back, The Reflections were setting up. We had seen this band a couple of weeks ago at the Liverpool IPO, but had no problem seeing them again. The set we had seen in Liverpool was a bit different to that we had seen in 2012, being more psychedelic. Tonight, the bass was very heavy, causing the keyboard to start to vibrate off its stand from time to time, and the drums were quite light in contrast, but a great beat was maintained throughout. We saw a tight set, with a very psychedelic keyboard sound, which we liked. Their final song “Last Chance To Turn Around” sounded great (as it had in Liverpool) and is now firmly a favourite for us. Another strong song was “Lonesome Man”. No doubt about it - the new songs and new style are great.
|The Penguin Party|
Their sound is quite ska influenced, almost Madness-y. The lead man, Dave Milligan, is not shy on stage and has a bit of a Bruce Springsteen look about him. This band is quirky, have good lyrics, have a slot for the banjo (although we could hardly hear it) and are funny too. At one stage Dave proclaimed ”It’s hot up here – we should become a surf band so we can wear shorts!” We liked the new line up, and we loved their set.
The next act was Maria Evangelou, dressed in red chiffon, with a band and two backing singers she took to the stage. Apparently they only had two week’s rehearsal as they were a late addition to the IPO schedule, and taking that into consideration they played a good set.
|Maria Evangalou with her band and backing singers|
Maria is very influenced by Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone. Indeed she did a cover of a Nina Simone song (the song from the Virgin Airlines ad), which was nice enough, but which we felt would have been strengthened had the two backing vocalists contributed on the song, especially at the end to give it added dimensions.
She also did a song which was self-penned, but it sounded just like the previous Nina Simone song mixed with Sam Brown’s “Stop”. Maria certainly has depth and strength to her voice but we felt she is certainly vie-ing towards a solo career. From the way she treated the band and backing singers (constantly referred to “me” and “I” all the time rather than “we” and “us”) we really felt she is not intending to take her band or backing singers with her should she hit the big time. Nonetheless, an enjoyable set.
The Past Tense kept things simple – no pedals and they gave us a set of great Mod Powerpop music. Not for the first time during this IPO, we heard traces of “My Sharona” in the drumbeat during one song. Their set was fast-paced, tuneful and pretty good! The audience gave them a really rowdy reaction and they down really well.
|The Past Tense|
The mod powerpop pace was maintained with The Proviso’s. They certainly looked the part, with the keyboard player being a dead ringer for Paul Weller, and we heard a great set. The vocals were very good, and we could hear the keyboard. We particularly liked the song they finished with “She’s Got It All Going On”, which started with a bit of a slow tempo building to a fantastic crescendo to end on. Great stuff and a good choice to end the set with.
After all was said and done, and we always enjoy the IPO, we're not convinced that Surya is the venue for it. The staff were grand, but the fact that the bar is upstairs away from the action, does lead to everyone rushing up as soon as a band finishes, leaving the place empty for the next band.
Roll on next year though.