The Cavern Pub & Club
Mathew Street, Liverpool
Tuesday 17th May 2016

The International Pop Overthrow is in its 14th year in Liverpool, with around 150 bands playing throughout the 8 days. We see as many bands as we can, some we like, some we love, others not so much. This is a personal review of each day and even though some bands may not have been our cup of tea (we can’t like them all!), they are still worth checking out for yourself. Have fun, that’s what music is all about.

Bands seen today (10): The Housekeeping Society, Garfield’s Birthday (*), mylittlebrother (*), Neweva, SHIRR, Tytania, The Transmitters, The Armoires, Affairs, The Arrogants
(*) saw part or all of their second slot

The Housekeeping Society
The 2016 proceedings kicked off in The Cavern Pub, with The Housekeeping Society. This is a band we have seen a number of times over the last few years and we are fans of the main man of this band, Ric Neale, an artist in his own right. This four piece from Leeds features keyboards, bass, guitar and acoustic drum box played with brushes and hands, with a few finger cymbals thrown in. Ric on main vocal was very ably supported with backing vocals from the other three. 

They have recently had their laptop and looping gear stolen and had actually debated on whether or not to actually pull out of the IPO. We are really pleased they did stay the course, as we felt their set was one of the best they have played. For us, live music is just that, and whilst there is a place sometimes for technology, we do prefer “au natural”, without backing tracks, sound effects etc.
Ric Neale - The Housekeeping Society
Ric has a sound that is not unlike ex-Brian Wilson band member Scott Bennett during his Dotted Line days -  with a really, really strong vocal, Ric was sounding great today. The guitar was quite ethereal and at times had a bit of a Glasvegas fuzz to it but it was never overpowering.

Stand out songs for us were “Together” and “Suitcase”, the latter being a romantic ballad about the suitcase that only gets dusted off once a year for the holiday season!
A great start to this year's festival.

Garfield's Birthday in The Pub
Next up, Garfield’s Birthday. We were sure we have seen this band play before and we found out later that they have played the IPO over a number of years. 

A three piece, the bass player did that fancy thing of playing bass and singing at the same time and he even did a bit of dancing too. The bass line was quite melodic throughout and you could see the Brit Pop influences. 

Overall, very catchy, feet tapping tunes, in particular a song called “Mr Newton” which was inspired by David Bowie and “Missing In Action” which was a new song for the band and sounded really strong.

Garfield's Birthday on The Front Stage
The band had a good sense of humour too, mentioning that they were giving their CDs away free and commented on how they half expected to see the pile of CDs on the merchandise table grow, as it became a collection point  for returned Garfield’s Birthday CDs!!!

We caught the last part of their second slot on The Cavern’s Front Stage later on. Again the difference in the quality of the sound in the Club versus the Pub was really noticeable. On the front Stage, Garfield’s Birthday sounded much richer. Nice one.

Band no 3, from Cumbria, mylittlebrother (all one word!) are normally a band of 8 but today they had 2 members absent. Not sure how they would have crammed the other two onto the small stage in the Cavern Pub alongside the drums, 2 guitars, acoustic guitar, bass and keyboard! Our ears pricked up immediately on hearing the first song – the intro was a 2 part harmony before any instruments got played this band were going to be good, and we were not wrong. It is unusual to find such a nugget so early into the festival, but here it was!

mylittlebrother play in The Pub
The lead vocalist was also the keyboard player, Will, who had charisma, a great smile and was engaging with the audience, especially when the acoustic guitarist had to quickly re-tune. Additional vocals came from the acoustic guitarist and one of the other guitarists and sounded superb. We learned later that with the 2 band members who were absent today, they normally get a good 5 piece harmony going. The guys (and gal) that played today were pretty awesome and their full line up must really sound something else, and we have their CDs to check them out!
Their latest EP was produced by former Brian Wilson band member Scott Bennett and includes Probyn Gregory playing trumpet. 

mylittlebrother on The Back Stage
Every song was a toe tapper, great melody, fantastic vocals, harmony and instruments that did not drown everything out. We loved this band and caught their second slot over on the Back Stage of the Cavern Club later on. 

There is a vast difference in sound between the Pub and the Club and tonight, that back stage was theirs for the taking and they took it. This second set introduced some different songs from their first set, and Will, the main man noticed that some of the audience had also been in the Pub and he was genuinely touched by that response. We hope we hear more from this fine band. To find out more about them, click here for their facebook page

four from mylittlebrother

Neweva from Sweden, are a young four piece who seemed to be missing a bass player - there was a bass line, but it was a track substituting for the real thing! 

Vocals were provided mainly by the front man with the odd backing vocal from one of the guitarists although his mic did not seem to be loud enough, and this band went down quite well in The Pub. 

We find bands from Sweden are either pure Pop  or really heavy rock/metal. Neweva veer towards the latter, however they were not as "heavy" as we had thought they would be and in the end, found their set quite enjoyable. The construction of their songs would sit well in a Eurovision contest.

We had a bit of a lull in the bands we had earmarked to see, and after a quick bite to eat we caught the last half of SHIRR in The Pub. From Boston USA, SHIRR was performing solo, with an acoustic guitar. There is no argument she has a really strong voice, and she comes across as having a great bubbly character, brimming with self confidence. The audience  in the pub really took to her, however, for us there was too much vocal range, up and down a bit like Miriah Carey with lots of "ooos" and "ahhs" tagged on the end of every line. For her second slot later in the week, she will have a band supporting her, and she revealed that set will be a bit more dancey - might check it out.

Tytania from Leeds are a four piece who were very promising when we checked them out on Facebook ahead of the festival. From their Facebook, we knew they play a lot of gigs so we expected then to be tight. They were – moving onto each song with hardly a pause, introducing each during the first few bars. 

Whilst they sounded good, and all four contributed brilliantly to the vocals, we did find it a bit hard to distinguish between each song. We cut our time watching them short in order to catch the second slot from mylittlebrother instead.

If you like the 60’s Mod Rock sound and look, then stop when you find The Transmitters. This four piece from Bolton had power and energy as they played on the Front Stage, and also had probably the best guitar player and drummer so far! Unfortunately they suffered from a very transient crowd in the Club this evening, with many coming and going. They played a really solid 60’s sounding mod set, with a drum beat that was not unlike The Knack or Dave Clark, and a lead vocal quite reminiscent of Julian Cope (thanks Davey W for that observation!). We heard our first cover of the night, as they ended their set with the Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog”. Nice set, enjoyed it. You can find out more about this band by clicking here

The Transmitters

The Armoires
On the Back Stage, all the way from Burbank, California were The Armoires. Actually only two of the four were from the band, having the bass player and drummer sourced locally for the IPO! 

They did seem a little unsure at times which we suppose is understandable when half of the band are people you have not played with before. 

However some vocals trailed off and the keyboardist relying heavily on a music stand for the lyrics/music. On the whole they were OK, but we feel would have been much better with the full band which maybe has an extra vocal in there? 

They are playing again on Friday and we will still go along to see them as their songs are good and hold up. For those who know the members of Brian Wilson's band, you could be forgiven for thinking percussionist Nelson Bragg had taken the night off from the the current Brian Wilson UK tour as the guitarist/vocalist could be his brother!
Nelson Bragg look-a-like

We caught the first bit of the Affairs. Another band feeling the need to have technology boost their sound, with a laptop pumping out electronica type sounds and the vocalist danced around the stage like Bendy Ben and sounded like Jim Kerr of Simple Minds. This was quite an 80’s synthesized sound!

We headed back to the Pub to see Mike Badger & The Shady Trio, only to find, despite playing earlier in the evening on the Front Stage, they cancelled this slot. Quite disappointing really as we had looked forward to seeing them play. It seems they never let anyone know either as the sound engineer was caught unawares and even though there were a good few bands milling around, no-one was down to fill the gap!

Our last band of the night was from Lille, France – The Arrogants. Despite playing 3 songs for their sound check (yes, really, three!!!), the sound was awful, though no fault of the sound engineer. Unfortunately we see more and more with young bands, an inexplicable need to turn everything up to 11, guitars on maximum fuzz and the vocal completely drowned out. This is not what they had sounded like when we had been doing our IPO research and checked them out on Facebook! We didn’t stay for the full set – we couldn’t bear it!
The Arrogants

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review! This is Rex from The Armoires. Funny, that's not the first time I've been mistaken for Nelson Bragg. I finally met him at a Pugwash show in Hollywood and told him I'd been mistaken for him, and then I was told he'd gotten a haircut the week after! :-) Hope to see you Friday (we now have two shows, one at the Cavern front stage at 12:45AM and the other at the Cavern Pub at 7; do say hello!