GIG: International Pop Overthrow
DATE: Tuesday 12th May 2015
VENUE: The Cavern Pub and Club
COST: today it is all free
OUR VERDICT: a kicking good start

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 Liverpool hosts around 140 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!!!! 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.

Bands seen today = 10
La Classe, Pacific Soul Ltd (twice), 4 Brothers, Tom Jarvis, Micah Gilbert, Jose Estragos, The Parkas, Esa Linna and the Dawnbreakers, Midland Railway, Gentlemen Rogues (part)

IPO Vol 17, The Parkas – Stereocolour, Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band – You May Never Hear Surf Music Again Vol1and2, Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band – Super Hits of the 70’s Vol1and2.

La Classe
IPO started with act no. 2 for us this year and as we entered the Cavern Pub, La Classe from Paris were just setting up. This five piece used three keyboards and threw in a tiny bit of trumpet to boot. Whilst their songs weren’t bad, they were toe tappers, and the lead singer had a good voice, they threw in too many false endings – almost every song had that dramatic “pause”. They had a few supporters with them, one a bit too enthusiastic who clapped really loudly along to the songs!

Next up was Pacific Soul Ltd. Having travelled all the way from Los Angeles, members of this recently formed band were known to us through their other musical achievements. Norman Kelsey, on keyboards has appeared at quite a few IPOs, with his soulful, almost Prince-esque vocals. Adam Marsland, on guitar, had entertained us a couple of years ago in Liverpool and we also saw him play with his Chaos Band in LA in 2011. Teresa Cowles on bass, a member of the Chaos Band, is also just about to make her debut Big Screen appearance, playing Carole Kaye in the biopic of Brian Wilson “Love & Mercy” due out next month. The fourth member, we didn’t already know, Jon on drums.  Immediately, we knew how professional these musicians were, going straight into their signature song “Pacific Soul Time” which got the audience interested. This was West Coast Pop meets Soul and really worked.
Pacific Soul Ltd

Their set included a great version of Norman’s “Majestic Rejection” which is a soulful ballad, reminiscent in part, of the old 50’s doowop harmony groups that he has included in his solo appearances in the past. This song sounds great when it’s just Norman, but with the backing of the band, it sounded even better. Adam took the reins on “When I Get To Portland”, and had a bit of a Boz Scaggs thing going on. The harmony added by Teresa and Norman just made us melt and the crashing of the cymbal at the end stirred thoughts of waves crashing on the shore.

All too soon, they reached their last song, which is also their current single, “Blue Summertime” and Adam and Norman switched instruments and Teresa took command with the lead vocal. This is a song that brings a hot summer night to life. Although the pub was not full, there was a decent sized crowd and they were loud with their appreciation. What made this band stand out from others is their professionalism. There are no awkward seconds of looking around the other band members uncertain of what’s next, who starts the song etc as they went through their set seamlessly.

Check out their website and the youtube video of their single:

Across the street to the Cavern Club, we had a lull in our planned schedule and had the choice of Rikki Jordan or Tom Jarvis to pass the time. Popping our heads into the Live Lounge (Back Stage), we saw Rikki Jordan part way through his set, playing to backing tracks, something we are not fans of at the IPO, we opted for Tom Jarvis instead, on the Front Stage. From Chester, it was Tom and his acoustic guitar. This was a typical singer/songwriter set and we caught only a couple of songs before heading back into the live Lounge to see the next band on our list.

4 Brothers
4  Brothers were actually only 2! Accompanied with just an acoustic guitar we got half an hour of harmony vocals – these were South Wales answer to The Everly Brothers. They did a good performance but the crowd were tough today. We wonder what the four brothers would have sounded like!

Next up, also on the Back Stage, Micha Gilbert. This band had caught our eye as being from Scotland via Athens, Georgia. Micha is the lead singer, with an enthusiastic bass player, lead guitarist and drummer making up the band. This is a typical powerpop band, with 3 or 4 minute punchy, toe tapping, head nodding numbers, with a good lead vocal and strong backing vocals (from drummer and lead guitarist). 
Micah Gilbert

This band went down very well, as the Live Lounge had filled up again and the applause was loud. This was a solid, great performance, and you could tell they enjoyed it, and the audience did too. Speaking with the band after, The Beeb learned the drummer works in his old hometown of Coatbridge. We will most likely catch their second slot tomorrow.

Back across the street, and in the Cavern Pub, once again filling some time, we caught the second half of the set from Tom Jarvis, so put this together with the first part we had seen earlier on, we had a complete set! The songs we saw performed this time included 2 covers. We feel you can usually get away with doing one cover in a half hour set not two, but when we see a singer/ songwriter perform we do prefer they do their own material……. but that’s just us being fickle?. The two covers he did (Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean” and Katy Perry’s “Roar”) seemed to go down well with the audience though and the applause and cheers were loud.

Jose Estragos
From Spain, Jose Estragos was up next. A three piece form Madrid, we are sure they played last year under a different name. This band is not unlike ‘Me First And The Gimme Gimmes’ who take well known songs and speed them up and do the complete song in less than 2 minutes! They kicked off their set with a rousing “When The Saints Go Marching In” and the party started!. 

At one point the band were in the audience and climbing on bar stools to play (they must have seen Jeremy perform at one point!) which added to the overall fun-ness of this band. They did a great version of “Release me”, compete with a great key change (although they introduced it as a Tom Jones’ song!) and towards the end of the set, did a Spanish song to the tune of “Dear Prudence”, a bit of a Surf music inspired instrumental, where the girls in the audience did a bit of formation dancing and a double speed “From Me To You”. Despite there being a high number of covers in the set, this was a fun band and good to watch live.

David Bash introduces Pacific Soul Ltd

We spent the rest of the evening back in the Cavern Club…… the second appearance of Pacific Soul Ltd was just as good as the first, if not better (the sound on the Front Stage is miles better) and the audience was a lot bigger. A change to the set was the introduction of a song Adam Marsland had written for the The Standells. They finished up with their single again, “Blue Summertime” and easily get our vote for the best band of Day 1!

Pacific Soul Ltd delight the front stage audience

The Parkas
In the live Lounge, London band, The Parkas had not long started their set, and we joined them part way through “Substitute” a cover of The Who’s classic song. This is another band we have seen play at the IPO before (and also at the London event) and who have a gregarious lead singer who is a great front-man, and older brother of the lead guitarist who writes all of the their material (at the tender age of just 17). 

These guys are young, fresh, vibrant, energetic and have a really great, polished sound. The vocals are strong, the music obviously Mod influenced but not a direct steal from the established Mod Bands, they played well together and entertained the crowd immensely. If the 17 year old guitarist is writing this kind of stuff now, think what he is going to achieve over the next few years!
It's a bit odd to see siblings in a band and not at each others throat for a change. No Oasis or Kinks in-fighting here.
They did do a second cover, which ended their set -  the Stone Roses “I Am The Resurrection” but it sounded brilliant in their style.

The Parkas

Esa Linna and the Dawnbreakers
We stayed where we were and saw Esa Linna and the Dawnbreakers, all the way from Finland. This was Scandinavian rock and it sounded good. The girl who played keyboards (though with just one hand) also had a good voice and took command of the lead vocal on a couple of songs as well as providing excellent backing vocals on the rest. The lead singer, Esa Linna himself, has a pedigree of being in punkpop/powerpop and rock bands and he looks every part the rock guitarist (though he pays bass). He also has a sense of humour, livening things up with a power song called “She’s Not Human” which he said had been written about his wife (we think ex-wife!). All in all, a good solid powerpop set.

The Boa
Midland Railway
Next up, Midland Railway, described in the programme as “quirky and enigmatic”. With feather boas adorning the microphone stands, they were quirky indeed. 

Is the lead singer the best vocalist we’ve heard? No, but he delivers a set of well written songs, including the line “I wasn’t into punk in the 70’s possible because I hadn't been born”!!! and a brilliant song about Pokeman in the 80’s. They also have the most flamboyant drummer of the IPO. If you want a fun, challenging, intellectual band, then this is for you.

Midland Railway's drummer, David Novan

On our way out, we stopped to hear the final 3 songs from a band form Austin Texas, Gentlemen Rogues. We are planning to see this band tomorrow but stayed for a taster. They played some good pop rock with fuzzy guitar. More tomorrow no doubt.
Gentleman Rogues

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