GIG: International Pop Overthrow London
DATE: Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th May 2014
VENUE: Surya, 158 Pentonville Road, London N1
COST: £7 Fri, £8 Sat and Sun

This 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 London is an offshoot from the Liverpool IPO which hosts over 150 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!!!! In London there is just one stage, with fewer bands playing so we have the opportunity to see all of them (if we want to). 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.

The Reflections, The MonaLisa Twins, Milky Onions, New Electric Ride, Spygenius, The Provisios, West Of The Sun

The Parkas, The Room, Lee And The Lovedaddies, Lovely, Evette Judge, Nathan Persad, Sonya Titus, James Clarke, Paul Orwell, The 286

Dave Rave, Apples I Am, Cellar Door, Peppermint Apes, Sha La La's, The Xapers, The King Zoots, Camera, Sound of Pop Art, Trambeat

After the exertions of the Liverpool IPO less than a week ago, it was now time to have a few days at the annual London IPO at the Surya on Pentonville Road.

First up was The Reflections, this time stripped down with no keyboards and no bass. Gone were the sharp dressed band from Liverpool, replaced by the more casual jeans and even a flat cap. With just drums, an acoustic and an electric guitar we were treated to a set of great songs performed very well. “Haunted House” and “ Nobody’s Fool” having a great 60’s vibe about them.
The guitarist was delighted at the vintage amp supplied by The Beeb, and used it relishing the reverb and getting a great surf sound out of it too.
“Last Chance To Turn Around” worked excellently even in this stripped down set up. We’re really looking forward to more recordings from this band.

Second on the stage were The MonaLisa Twins. We heard these two girls on Johnnie Walker’s show on the way home from Liverpool, and having missed them in The ‘Pool, this was our chance to catch up with them.
They had a full band, and with the girls both playing cool electric guitars, it was refreshing to see they were not a manufactured band. Their love of 60’s music became obvious right from the start. Unfortunately it was a bit TOO obvious. Four of their songs were actually covers, which was a real shame, because their own songs sounded great.
The harmonies were well worked out and they might benefit from pushing their own songs a bit more.

We knew absolutely nothing about the next band, The Milky Onions, but it didn’t take long for them to impress us. They looked a strange mixture of psychedelic refugees from Haight Ashbury.
A barefooted bass player, Manson look-a-like on one guitar, Jim Morrison on another, they played a great set of quirky electric folk/psych songs. The girl on keyboards also played violin on one of the songs too.
They came across as a fun band and very difficult to compare with any other they were so unique. We really enjoyed this set.
The Milky Onions

It was always going to be hard to follow The Milky Onions, but having instruments in tune may have helped New Electric Ride. The first song sounded as if everyone was playing a different song. The vocals were just as bad. At one point it was hard to tell if one of them was yawning or singing.
The bass player tried his best to interact with the small audience, but it was a losing battle. This may have just been a particularly bad gig for them, but to our ears (and people we spoke to later) nothing seemed to sound right from them.

Pete from Spygenius
Once again we got what we expected from IPO favourites, Spygenius. Peter’s love of Surf guitar was put in the shop window to great effect once again. As was his sartorial elegance. This time his fez was featured atop of his dazzling shirt.
The clever and witty songs performed by this band, alongside the great harmonies that all four members of the band contribute, could teach a lot of other bands a thing or two.
Ruth took over lead vocals once again for her “angry punk rock” song. This is such a contrast to the rest of the set, but if works really well.
You know you won’t be let down when Spygenius play, as was the case here tonight.


We were impressed with The Provisos last year. Their blend of mod and soul music may own a huge debt to Paul Weller at times, but their songs do stand up as their own. The bass player adds very good backing vocals to the guitarist/singer at times.
A stand out track was called “Mackerel Sky”.
The keyboard had a real retro sound, at times sounding like the intro to Sale Of The Century! Great songs well played by a very good band. We got their CD, which unfortunately had no details about the band at all.

It was obvious that West Of The Sun didn’t want to be here. Messing about with mobile phones on stage, and having a singer who couldn’t be bothered to find his personality, it was going to be tough going for them.

In the end it wasn’t. They played four songs before seemingly realising they couldn’t cut it here and left the stage. Maybe if they had a bit of faith in their songs they could have held out for another one at least and tried to win the small audience over. Other bands have.

Saturday didn't start too well, with the the first act getting his dates muddled which meant he didn't show and through the day, other no-shows rearranged the order of play! So things really started from the act no 3, The Parkas. A young mod influenced band, their drummer was late but once they got going they were quite infectious. The crowd was small, but that did not deter this band and they gave it their all, with the guitarist bouncing around on stage. Impressed, we got their CD.

David Bash invented a new genre when he introduced The Room - Prog Pop! Their set was not bad, the songs a bit on the long side for a pop festival, but with the no-shows, were able to play an extra 10 minutes or so.

Lee And The Lovedaddies had no regard for the size of the venue and turned everything up beyond 11. Even though the sound engineer asked them to turn everything down on two occassions, the thump from the bass knocked everything off the amp!! Having said that, the wannabe punk lead singer was actually quite good. A bit like the Go-Gos.

A four piece from Sweden, Lovely were up next. With their Mersey sound, they were distant cousins of The Beatles with a hint of The Chantays "Pipeline" riff with a bit of Chuck Berry and The Searchers mixed in for good measure. We really enjoyed their set of short, punchy numbers. This is what the International Pop Overthrow is all about.

A late change in the schedule, and Evette Judge played a much rockier set than we have heard from her in previous years, with a touch of country. Suported by Paul on electric double bass, she has a really strong voice and sounded good, even if the audience was sparse.

You really have no warning of what to expect when Nathan Persad takes to the stage and tonight it was just as off the wall as it usually is! Joined on stage by Spencer from The 286 and drummer Dan from the Persad 4, his half hour was filled with some crazy rock and roll covers (The Big-O and Little Richard), some Fore numbers and bits of humourous chat thrown in at a pace that would leave The Bolt standing!.

Nathan Persad (L)

James Clarke
Next up, a London appearance for Sonja Titus, a solo singer we had seen at the L:iverpool festival. Her set was the same as the week before, and her performance marred only slightly by a cough she had picked up along the way. Another solid performance though.

James Clarke (without his Five) with his acoustic guitar entertained us next. "Marianne" was the current single and with no band to support, it was stripped down for tonight's performance. It worked well too, with James' tender vocals. There was a bit of a tongue in cheek nod to the second world war at the end of "Sex Bomb". In all we got a half hour of some lovely songs.

The venue rocked next with Paul Orwell. With just one vocalist who was a bit like a young Dave Davis their set was a mixture of full on rock songs and some slower numbers. Both worked really well and we enjoyed listening to them.

Saturday night rounded off with The 286. We have seen this band a number of times and led by Spencer Hannabuss we love the way they mix classical and rock music. The stage is always filled with musicians and tonight was no exception - violins, cello, guitars - they are all there. "Little Louisa" is a particular favourite - really catchy and forces your feet to tap.

Sunday dawned and we were tired, but got ourselves to the venue in time to see the opening act Dave Rave. The early Sunday afternoon time slot is not the best as London sleeps off the effects of the night before, but the small audience doesn't get Dave Rave down! Dave plays at just about every IPO festival, and just oozes energy and it infects everyone. The Beeb got up on stage (again) and sang along. Even David Bash was on the stage, contributing to "Let's Shake". We got another dose of Dave Rave a little later on when a band did a no show and he graciously filled in the spare slot.

Apples I Am are a nod to Mumford and Sons. They have great vocal harmony and their instruments included a mandolin and a violin. They did a great cover of "Fat Bottomed Girls".

Cellar Door were late so they had to play a shortened set. We felt this was a new act as the singer seemed to be very unsure of what they were going to play, they tuned their guitars repeatedly and they were unable to finish their last song. Maybe more practice needed.

Next up, a band we had seen a few years ago at the Liverpool festival - the Peppermint Apes. Since our first experience of this band (who we liked a lot), they semed to lose their way a bit, with focus on the lead singer to the extent the rest of the band were really just there for him! Seems like he has come back down to earth a bit and they have all grown up now and actually played together like a band. The older songs were the stand out ones, such as "Dance Floor Hero". It was a good set.

The Sha La La's had a drumbeat that resembled Spencer Davies' "Keep on Running" and alongside a Style Council influenced keyboard , this was an energetic and powerful mod band. The audience really seemed to like them, and we thought they were good.

The next band The Capers were not really to our taste. A couple of songs sounded influenced by The Searchers, but on the whole the set was quite monotonous and we couldn't hear the backing vocals at all. They had a few technical difficulties which probably didn't help settle them.

The King Zoots definitely got the thumbs down from us. The lead was John Lydon's lost son and they were pretty offensive with the continued use (unecessarily) of the F word. Billed as Mod influenced, they were really just a knock off Sex Pistols tribute band who constantly  yelled at the audience to "Buy our f'ing CDs". Needless to say, we didn't!

The next band had a 4 star review in Uncut and we wondered just what (or who) Uncut had been listening to!! Sound of Pop Art had a weak lead vocal which was drowned out by the backing vocals, and there were no stand out songs. Looking around the audience, we noticed one of the WAGS was completely disinterested, clapping politely and then checking her watch as though she couldn't wait for the set to end!

The night ( and London Festival) ended for us with Trambeat. This ensemble of many, filled the stage (and more) and gave us a set of Northern soul type sounds infused with a bit of hiphop. It was a good end to our night.

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