The Cavern Pub and The Cavern Club
Mathew Street, Liverpool
Saturday 21st 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 (14): Lloyd & Daly, Fun Of The Pier (*), The Junipers (*), Marco Rea (*), The Wellgreen (*), Honeybug, Duncan Maitland (*), Cocktail Slippers, Las Annettes, The 286, The Len Price 3, Escapade, The Fast Camels, JB and the Villa Borghese
(*) saw part or all of their second slot or had seen them on a previous day

Saturday was the day the Scottish contingent arrived, and it was another marathon 12 hour day spent buried in the Club and Pub.

We were eased in gently, with Lloyd and Daly, who opened the Back Stage today. Think of James Taylor, Michelle Phillips and the like and you have this duo down to a tee. Their vocals blend really well together and were never drowned out by the acoustic and electric guitar. Our Saturday lunchtime listening pleasure was a Laurel Canyon inspired set, which included a surprise nugget of “The Right Time”, a cover from the latest Brian Wilson album “No Pier Pressure”. Dave Lloyd is no stranger to the IPO, having performed almost every year we have attended, either as a soloist or with his band The Suns. This musical partnership with Lauren Daly is a good one.

Lloyd and Daly
Fun Of The Pier and Richard Snow
Husband and wife acoustic duo Fun of The Pier have played the IPO for a number of years. Today, they had a special guest appearances from fellow Nottingham musician, Richard Snow and also Dave Lloyd.

The additional guitar and backing vocal from both Richard and Dave gave an extra layer to, and strengthened their sound, which allowed them to compete every easily with background noise from the crowd in the back stage. 

Fun of Pier manage to give their songs a happy, breezy sound, no matter what the subject of their song is. “Inconsiderate”, the song about people talking through live music performances is still a firm favourite with us. It is just a shame that the irony is lost on the people who do chatter!

Imagine the perfect CD you would play in the car driving along Pacific Coast Highway, with the sun belting down on you, the warm breeze ruffling your hair and a gentle surf lapping along the coast…… well, that is the sound of The Junipers.

The Junipers in the Pub
They have a real sun-shiney feel to their music that washes over you, head to foot and back again, leaving a warm and lovely glow in its wake. A band of five, with Robyn Gibson providing gentle lead vocals, and the rest of the band providing the harmony you would expect from a West Coast influenced band, the whole sound just gels. 

The Rickenbacker guitar gives that soft psych sound too. With a new album out recently, we got to hear some of the latest material too. Thoroughly recommended.

The Junipers play the Back Stage

Marco Rea
The Scottish contingent arrived today. With a solo billing, Clydebank musician Marco Rea switching between the keyboard and guitar (and a little backing from his band, The Wellgreen) treated our ears to a soft set of his well-crafted songs. 

Very melodic, great vocals, harmonies to die for….. what more could you possibly need or want? Well, there is more, as a quick change around of instruments and places, and then we had a set from The Wellgreen

The Wellgreen

Scottish pop has always had a place in our hearts and these four guys never disappoint. Opening with an acapella song, their set included a few pop style songs, lots of harmony and also the ballad “She’s the Greatest”, a song that has such great vocals it makes the hair tingle at the back of your neck. 

The crowd loved Marco and The Wellgreen. We love these guys and we saw both of their sets.
The Wellgreen on the Back Stage

Ni, Honeybug
Honeybug, from Edinburgh has appeared at the IPO in a few guises, but the last few years has maintained a set-up of Ni on keyboard and vocals, and a couple of backing vocalists to add the ooohs and ahhhs and harmony. Ni is entertaining as well as a great performer, keeping the audience engaged and chuckling between songs. The added vocals from the backing singers really adds to the overall sound.
Later in the evening The Fast Camels delighted us with a great set of inspired psychedelic sounds. With a new album on the horizon, we had the pleasure of hearing some of the new songs too. Although influenced by their love of all things Arthur Lee and Love, they are a unique band. Their songs take you on a roller-coaster of sound and tempo. 

The Fast Camels

Mark and Drew, The Fast Camels

The chemistry between Drew and Mark on guitar and vocals is second to none (they’ve been mates for years) and they instinctively know what the other is doing. 

Bass player Andy came into the fore taking the lead on vocals for one song and sounded great, Joe knocks seven shades of !!!! out of the drum kit exceedingly well (he really is a terrific drummer) and CJ the latest addition to the band adds superb backing vocals, tambourine and an overall eclectic visual display of psychedelic dancing! 

Put all of that together and you get a great 30 minute gig. Loved every minute.

The Beeb with The Fast Camels

We were happy to have the opportunity to catch the second appearance this year from Duncan Maitland. With a well written song, a singer/songwriter can make the IPO work with just an acoustic guitar and a great voice. There was not a repeat of the audience babble heard in the pub crowd yesterday so we were glad this audience was actually listening. This set was a little different form yesterdays, but it did include the song about the mass murderers, which is really growing on us. We recommend people check out Duncan’s solo work – It is rather good.
Duncan Maitland

It was a thrill to see all-girl Norwegian band, Cocktail Slippers. They totally wowed the IPO 2 years ago, with their raunchy girl-rock image and brilliant stage show. No splits form the lead singer this year, but still a great performance. This all-girl band are managed by Little Steven, and that tells you what kind of sound they have - great vocals, crunchy guitar and a fab look. The lead singer has the knack of making every male in the audience feel like she is singing just to them!

Cocktail Slippers

It was good to see the Norwegian lasses in the audience watching and thoroughly enjoying another girl group, Las Annettes. This girl group from Barcelona has a wholesome look, with matching colourful outfits and choreographed dances to their delightful 60’s style girl group songs. 

Backed by a band that is a mix of Spanish guys and Paul Bevoir and Mickey Dias from The Jetset, and with great big smiles on their faces as they sing, and a few well-placed hand claps here and there, Ana, Estel and Violeta do their songs mainly in Spanish. You may not understand what it is they are singing about, but you know it is all happy stuff. 
Las Annettes
They did a couple of songs in English - their latest single “I’m Not Your Girlfriend” which had some airplay this week on a local radio station and Paul Bevoir’s composition “Kiss Me” which is a bit of a nugget in Minty’s opinion. The whole package – songs, music, outfits, dances, smiles –  is fab.
The 286

Schedule clashes meant that we only caught the tail end of The 286’s set. This band is the brainchild of Spencer who is probably the tallest musician at the IPO. 

This band brings pop and rock together with the classical essence of Violin and Cello, and what you get a cornucopia of sound.  It will not be a surprise to see Spencer scoring films in the future with this kind of inspiration.

Since we last saw The Len Price 3 at an IPO, they have had exposure in the media and on regional radio etc so it was a surprise to see them on the bill this year (as the IPO does not pay!). This Mod band from London look the part of a Mod band from London and they sound like a Mod band from London, with their cockney accents really exaggerated! The singer, had a habit of looking like a scared rabbit in headlights, with a constant look of surprise on his face – we assume it is part of the stage act, but maybe not. They are a no frills type of band, just powering through their set full throttle, with no space or interlude for chit chat with the audience. This approach meant that they could maximise the number of songs they played. Anyhow, if you like traditional Mod Rock, this band is for you.

By the time Escapade had their slot, the IPO in the Club was being run only on the Back Stage, so there was a bit of a captive audience . 

This band is very Gallagher influenced with their sound firmly planted in the vein of 90’s Brit Pop. A young band of Leicester City supporters, they played a good solid set which, seeing as we were not going anywhere, we did not mind listening to.

JB and the Villa Borghese

The last band we saw tonight was JB and the Villa Borghese – basically Janne Borgh from Sweden.  He is another artists who plays some straight, punchy powerpop and sounds good. Unfortunately we were shattered by this time and headed off back to the hotel.

It had been quite a marathon day, seeing 14 different bands, three of which we caught both sets from!

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