GIG: International Pop Overthrow
DATE: Friday 15th May 2015
VENUE: The Cavern Pub and Club
COST: £4 after 8pm in the Club
OUR VERDICT: A complete Dream

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 = 14
Fun Of The Pier, Zipper, Spygenius (twice), Lady Moscow (twice), Soundserif, Honeybug, Aerial, The Men, The Dreamboats, Royal Parks, The Maureens, RAF, The Jeremy Band, Village Green Machine

Number of bands seen in the IPO so far = 41

The Men – Four Good Men and True / Return, One Two Die Four – self titled, Aerial – Why Don’t They Teach Heartbreak In School, The Maureens, The Dreamboats 7” vinyl and download, Jeremy – Love Explosion / Searching For The Son / Bright Morning Star / The Solar King

Fun of The Pier
Day number 4……Eek, we were a couple of minutes late today and missed the start of Fun Of The Pier. This duo from Nottingham have played a good few IPOs and we manage to catch at least one of their sets every year. Fans of Crowded House will connect with this pair, Helen on acoustic guitar and vocals and hubby Mark on bass guitar (with a few backing v’s thrown in here and there) as they take you on a happy half hour, where you can leave your doldrums at the door. 

Even the songs about not so happy themes sound bright and breezy – when they introduced “Inconsiderate”, their song about inconsiderate people who pay to go to a gig and then talk all the way through caused a ripple of nervous laughter through the Cavern Pub as they recognised themselves in that group!!. The last 2 songs were performed with guest David Lloyd joining them. The second acoustic guitar boosted the sound, and Helen’s vocal really shone through. A nice start to what was going to be a long day for us.

The Spanish sunshine was brought to the Cavern Pub by way of Zipper, a three piece from Madrid. The girl bass player did all of the vocals in this band, which at times had a bit of a rocky girl group sound going on with hints of “Be My Baby” fused with the GoGos and The Runaways. 

To be honest the vocal was a bit drowned out by the fuzz of the guitar, but the “ooh, ooh ooh’s” did shine through, along with the overall melody and beat. The audience seemed to like this band as well, it didn’t matter that some of the songs were sung in Spanish – they seemed to love it and were applauding and cheering loudly.

Spygenius, aka"SpyIdiot" in the Cavern Pub
Next up, Spygenius, (this year also called SpyIdiot or Spythreenius, or Ruthless by the band due to the absence of the usual bass guitarist Ruth). We caught both of their sets, once in the Cavern Pub and the other later on in the evening in the Live Lounge (Back Stage).

The pub sound can be hit and miss, and with the jangle of the Italia guitar, the vocals were a bit hidden, which is a shame as the lyrics are very cleverly constructed. 

Having said that, you do still get a great set from this band and the pub audience liked what they heard. Maybe a bit more sedate than we have seen them perform before (same songs, just a bit slower!) but they never fail to impress us. The second set on the back stage with a better mix also went down well with the audience.

Spygenius aka. "Spythreenius" on the Back Stage
Lady Moscow
Up next was the most quirky band we have seen in the IPO so far…. A mad band from Norway, with an accordion, violin, banjo in the mix and they had a very Balkan/Folk style with a big nod to Tom Waits. Lady Moscow was, well….. different,  and we caught both of their sets too!!. The violinist (who resembled Isa from Still Game) danced around without a care in the world whilst fiddling. We were not always sure when one song finished and another started as a few seemed to roll into one another, but once the band did stop for breath, the audience went mad! 

It was full band participation, and a memorable song was “We Are The Circus” which about summed the band up! On the Front Stage for their second appearance, some of the band members came out into the audience and the bass player climbed onto the speakers!! Their last song was a rousing number, which was almost like a Viking call to arms! Brilliant stuff and quite refreshing.
Soundserif from Italy played the Back Stage and we caught just a piece of their set…. With no charisma on stage, a sedentary female (part time) vocalist and a drum beat that just didn’t seem to fit with the vocals, we didn’t stick around too long.
With Honeybug you never really know what to expect. We have seen this Edinburgh band play loads of times and the guises we have seen are a solo keyboardist, keyboard with a couple of harmony backing vocals, an 8 piece band or a full on rock band. When we learned Ramage was in town, we knew we were going to get the latter and that is exactly what we got. 

With a strong drumbeat, solid bass line, some great rock guitar playing and the added enhancement of the keyboard and strong vocal, Honeybug delighted us with a much rockier set than we’ve heard in a long time. It was strange to hear some of the songs we have heard in the past as full on rock tunes, rather than the quiet harmonised pieces our ears have been blessed with before, but do you know what? It worked, especially in the Live Lounge where you can rock out at full throttle.
Next up for us, on the Front Stage was another Scottish band, Aerial. This band had some toe tapping harmony going on and could also rock out, although our pal thought the lead singer was a bit nasally. That’s OK for us as Mike Love from the Beach Boys sounds the same, and we are big Beach Boys fans after all. A great stand out song was the title song from thir album "Why Don't They Teach Heartbreak At School?." This was an enjoyable half hour and we did buy their CD as a result.
The Men from Sweden brought in a huge camera on an equally huge tripod! It was a bit pretentious, especially as space is a bit on the scarce side on Friday nights in the Front Stage. However, that was behind us, and it did not detract from what was a brilliant show. Colour co-ordinated, this band were a great crowd pleaser, with short, sharp, punchy tunes reminiscent of the 60’s mod pop sound, with a clear Yardbirds influence. The lead singer was a great front man, playing the maracas, harmonica and tambourine (not all at the same time!!) as well as delivering a great lead vocal, and all whilst bounding around the stage dancing. This band were tight and professional. They knew what they were doing, they knew how to wow an audience and they did just that. Brilliant to watch and hear.
The Men
Hold on to your hearts ladies……up next was THE Band of the IPO this year. Dressed in white tux jackets, white shirts and black trousers and bow ties, The Dreamboats, a four piece of drop dead gorgeous (Minty’s words!!!) guys, all the way from Mississauga, a suburb of Ontario, Canada won the hearts of everyone at the IPO.
The Dreamboats
Visually they were fantastic. All had a magnificent stage presence and the guitarists and bass player rocked, danced back to back, doing a bit formation dancing and just generally really enjoying being on stage. The drummer was pretty fantastic too. This is how rock and roll should be, as they blasted their way through a set of original material, clearly influenced by the pre 1964 rock and roll era, with just a couple of covers thrown in. They just ripped the whole place up - their energy and level of fun was off the scale. The crowd reaction was phenomenal - we have not seen anything like it, the girls were screaming so loud!!! 
Scenes around the green room after The Dreamboats show
Check out The Dreamboats playing a fantastic version of Johnny B Goode - awesome guitar playing

Royal Parks sounds like a band, but it is a solo guy. Whilst we saw his set, there was nothing to make it memorable. Mind you he was on after The Dreamboats and the Cavern was still buzzing form that performance. With the number of bands we have seen, he was quickly forgotten. No fault of his though to be fair.
The Maureens
The Maureens from Holland are a band that give you a lot of harmony, and are influenced by the West Coast sound. This is sunshine pop. Each song had a good rhythm and with 3 guitars you got that jingle jangle sound, and the vocals blended together very well. It worked for us.

We saw RAF again, having been impressed with them the night before. This time they were on the Front Stage, and it suited them. This band was really infectious and rocketed through their set of Mod Rock Punk, during which, the first 6 rows of the audience were dancing non-stop. 
A real stand out song was “Zombie Girl”. Despite Minty being a rockabilly at heart, we joined in with the chant “We Are The Mods”. It was a bit weird to see the arms punching the air in time to the chant, as from the back it did resemble the Nuremberg Rally!!! Still, another great performance, and one that got a brilliant reaction from the audience.

The Jeremy Band are a firm favourite at the IPO and we do our best to make sure we catch at least one of their sets. 

We know what we get with this band – catchy, magical pop songs, with lots of guitar and antics from the main man, Jeremy. Tonight was no exception as he spread his message of love through the audience. 

Considering this was the last band on the Back Stage tonight and it was after 1am, the numbers in the audience was pretty good, and really appreciated this power pop sound.
The Jeremy Band
Village Green Machine
Our last band tonight was Village Green Machine. It’s not easy being the last band on, as the crowds seen during the night have mostly dispersed, but there were still a fair few milling around, and this band got their attention. RAF particularly loved them. 

We were already familiar with this band (we have their album “England’s Dreaming Spires”). The programme describes this band as “psychedelic beat music with timeless appeal” and that just nails it. Very brave to perform this as a three piece, but the strength of the songs carried the set. Terrific stuff.

Mod Band RAF dance to Village Green Machine
And so, very weary, after a 14 hour music fest……… see you back tomorrow.

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