GIG: International Pop Overthrow London – Day 3
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.

Steve Somerset

Dave Rave gets the party going
Dave Rave and his entourage had arrived and the party started! With Mark Foley on guitar and Simon Nelson on bass, and a drummer, Dave Rave stormed through a great set and what a good atmosphere there was. Guest guitarist Marc Olivier (who, with Simon makes up The Plastic Heroes) contributed on three songs, adding his own style.

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.

Mark Mikel

A late change to the schedule and US artist, and the man behind The Pillbugs, Mark Mikel was up next. With a 12 string acoustic, his voice was almost Bowie-esque, confirmed when three or four songs into his set, he did a Bowie cover which slotted in nicely.

Not only is Mark a good singer, he has a great sense of humour which we saw in between songs. Usually with just an acoustic set, the stage can be a bit big but this was not the case today. He filled the stage with his music. On the strength of his performance, we bought a Pillbugs CD.

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 Reflections

The Penguin Party
The Penguin Party were up next, with a slight change to their line up versus what we had seen last year – a different drummer and the introduction of a keyboard player (who had amazingly long hair). This band have fun and you can tell this through their songs – one about a transvestite roofer and another about the commute to work, where you could really feel the “rage and frustration” coming through. Although if everyone played guitar with as much gusto these guys, there would be no pent up frustration in the world!

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.

The Proviso's
Our IPO came to an end with the last band for the night, The Soundcasters. Another IPO favourite we have seen this band many times and have seen them grow from a young group of guys to a team of great musicians and singers. Their songs are sharp, toe tapping tunes which take you on a musical journey across a multitude of musical influences from pop, to reggae to ska to jazz, all in the same song and they deliver each and every one with a high level of energy. Their set included a number of songs from their recently released album (which we bought) which were great to hear, and they ended on the fantastic song, “French Habit” which is a track from their new album, but one they have included in the their set for a while now. We certainly ended our IPO on a high.

The Soundcasters

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.

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