The Ace

The Cola Jet Set

Paul Bevoir & The Family Way

The Fast Camels

The Laynes

The Modulators

Honeybug (off stage)

The Beat Rats

The Heath Robinson Five

The Junipers

The Stay - Daniel Wylie


GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 5
DATE: Saturday 29th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s supposed to be all free (but The Club was charging after 8pm)
Drinking more than Fizzy pop!


First the intro blurb and disclaimer…….International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

Day 5 for us, started in the Cavern Live Lounge with Leeds trio The Ace ( After a few technical difficulties the show started about 15 minutes late, and dressed in matching Paisley pattern psychedelic shirts, The Ace took to the stage. We enjoyed listening to this band – their sound ranged from Mod to Garage to Merseybeat to a bit of Surf with a bit of rolling drums and twangy guitar and a touch of bluesy guitar thrown in from time to time. In fact, the Beeb was very impressed with the creative sounds coaxed out of the guitar, especially for this only being a 3 piece outfit.

Next up was The Beta Rays who did not impress The Beeb very much. Every song seemed to centre around the guitarist's effect pedal and it got a tad monotonous after a few songs.

A quick dash across Mathew Street and we were in the Cavern Pub in time to catch the second half of The Cola Jet Set ( The pub was crammed to overflowing and the small stage could not hold the 8 members of the band, so the bass guitarist had to spill out onto the pub floor. Once again they delivered a great Euro Pop sound with great key changes, which was a good warm up for our mate Dave W who was disappearing off to a Eurovision Party later! Nevertheless, they went down a treat and the audience really, really enjoyed them.

Paul Bevoir ( and his band The Family Way had a tough act following The Cola Jet Set, but his dreamy bubblegum pop made you forget all about the teaming rain just yards away and wrapped its fluffy self around your body giving you that cushioned candyfloss feeling. His set started with “I’m Alright Jack” and then breezed through some of Minty’s favourite songs, basically covering the set we had seen yesterday. A wee toddler was delighted to dance throughout, just showing that the right kind of music stirs the heart of everyone young and old alike.

A mad dash back to the Cavern Live Lounge meant that we managed to catch the 2nd appearance at the IPO for The Fast Camels ( The “technical” problems the sound engineer had been experiencing earlier that morning were still hanging around, and the band were really quite let down on the sound front. We could hardly hear the vocals, and they did a new song from their forthcoming album, where the bassist took the lead vocal but he might just as well have been miming for all we could hear. That aside, the guitars sounded terrific and the guys gave it their all!

The next band in the Live Lounge was The Laynes, another Scottish band. They too had sound issues, complaining of lack of monitors. The sound was very heavy on the lead vocalist and his guitar. The other guitarist had a Fender Jaguar which we could hardly hear and after a few songs we gave up and wandered back over to the pub. We can't imagine the band walking the streets of Glasgow in their Jolly Jack Tar garb though!

The act on in the Pub was a band from New Jersey, the Modulators ( who were on the powerpop scene back in the mid 80’s and after 27 years absent from performing, re-formed especially for the 2009 IPO held in New York. They apparently had so much fun, and went down so well, they were invited to the Liverpool IPO. We were really glad they accepted, as their set was a blinder. Their opener was “She’s So Cynical” and they closed with “Spin Me Around” the type of song that keeps running through your head long after the last chords have been struck and last notes sung. In between they delivered a fantastic set of vintage powerpop! Sometimes the old ones are the best – they had no need for any gadgets and technology. They just played: simple as that and it worked really, really well. After seeing this set, we had a quick re-think on our schedule for the following night to make sure we caught their 2nd appearance!

Another dash back across the street and Honeybug ( were on the stage in the Live Lounge. Each year, Honeybug play at the IPO in one form or another, ranging from a very simple set up to a full on band. This year, it was a stripped down Honeybug (Ni and 2 Ladybugs) that graced the stage. Their set had just started as we arrived, and after a few seconds for our eyes to grow accustomed to the darkness we realised that it was standing room only in the main area. We did finally find a seat tucked away to the left of the stage and then sat back and enjoyed the rest of the show. It was almost a chill out zone, as Honeybug’s songs, heavily influenced by the likes of Jellyfish, were stripped back to the bone and complimented with the lush harmonies of the Ladybugs. Singing some songs from his EP, “Storm Cloud” was particularly strong with a bit of blues and some shoo wop backing. The last song was a cover of Jellyfish’s “That Is Why” which sounded amazing when laid out so bare!.

Another dash across Mathew street, back to the pub where new York's The Beat Rats ( had an extra slot in the schedule. This band just gets better and better. The drummer, the magnificently named Bluto Mongo, is terrific, (he could have taught Animal!) and has amazing facial expressions as he pounds the skins. They play short, punchy garage tunes which really make you tap your foot and dance on the spot - well, the spot was all the space you had, as the pub was packed. All black leather and hair, you would think The Beat Rats have bad attitiude, but you couldn't meet a nicer bunch of guys! This was the 3rd time we had seen them play now, and their songs were really starting to make their mark with us, especially their theme song and also "Thunderella".

From that point, we took up a space in the Live Lounge for the rest of the night. We had a gap in our schedule and we caught The Heath Robinson Five who were not actually on our list of bands to see. This 5-piece told the audience that they are a new band and that this was only their second gig, which is why we assume their performance had 2 covers in it, rather than a full set of original material. Having said that, the 2 covers that they did were actually quite good, "Hey Bulldog" and Joe Jackson's "Different For Girls". They certainly had some melody in their own music, but didn't really differentiate themselves from most of the other young bands we had seen.

Next up were The Junipers ( a 5 piece who blend lazy afternoon pop with West Coast harmony. Unfortunately, the sound engineer seemed to be covering both stages, and the band were left to themselves to set up, which meant they started a lot later than planned and they experienced sound problems during their set. We bought their CD as we felt that they would come across really well on record and that tonight was just a one-off in terms of bad sound. Having listened to their CD, our assumption was right!

The next band Stay, were from Spain and we had heard that the ex Cosmic Rough Rider, Daniel Wylie would be appearing with them. Their set-up was tortuous as the technical difficulties continued, this time with the keyboard effects unit. At the same time, a huge video camera was being set up in the middle of the room and apparently the band's film crew were shooting a professional promo video. Not sure if the film makers knew of the UK law, but at no time were we informed we were being filmed for this purpose, and we doubt they got permission from the Cavern Club either! Minty was quite angry that they essentially hi-jacked the IPO for thier own professional gain. They were not a great band either - 5 band members and only one of them sang (occassional backing from the keyboardist). And, Daniel Wylie was with them, and he got up on stage to perform 2 numbers, one of which was "Revolution In the Summertime".

The June on the other hand had not problems setting up, and within a couple of minutes were good to go! This was a band on our list of must see's but were were quite disappointed with their performance, and they were just another average band.

The back room in the Cavern Club really suits Mellowmen ( who put on an impressive, almost theatrical stage show. The lead man could be the son of Benny from ABBA, and really rocked his keyboard!. This year, we felt they were a bit more leaned towards rock than pshychedelic but they played a terrific set which went down a storm with the audience. The one downer for The Beeb was the smashing of a guitar at the end of the set. Even if it was a cheap one done for effect, the betting is someone who couldn't afford one in the first place may have been sitting there wishing they could have had it.
The last band we saw tonight was The Temponauts but our attention was really diverted from their set to be honest as we met up with friends from Glasgow we had not expected to see! So our night drew to a close, with us having seen 15 out of the 31 bands, so almost 50% hit rate! Not bad.
And here is a Youtube clip of Honeybug - courtesy of Stephen Bailey (thanks).

And one of The Cola Jet Set (again, cheers Stephen)


Kelly's Heels

The Beat Rats (in the Cavern Pub)

The Beat Rats (in the Cavern Live Lounge)

Paul Bevoir

The Cola Jet Set

The Method

The Hype

The Twilight Birds

The Fast Camels

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 4
DATE: Friday 28th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s supposed to be all free but the Club was charging after 8pm)
RATING: Psyched out again (thanks to The Fast Camels)


First the intro blurb and disclaimer…….International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

Day 4 started in the Cavern Club with Kelly’s Heels ( The lunchtime crowd was not immense, but the band powered through a fab set of great pop. Kelly’s Heels have performed at many IPO’s, and being so established you know what to expect from them and they never fail to deliver – we swear they get better every time we see them. All 3 band members vocalise together so well, and they play such fantastic power pop tunes. Their set was paced just right and their final song ended with a crescendo of guitar and drums, it was amazing.

We took a bit of a break after this gig, and caught up with The Beat Rats a few hours later, in the Pub. The Beat Rats ( are from New York and are a true, genuine garage band. They kicked off with “The Beat Rats Theme”, which would be perfectly at home as the theme to a B Movie from the 60’s, and then totally blasted through a fantastic set. We debated on whether the lead singer was Frank Serpico or a good likeness to Charlie Manson but in the end, it was the music which won. This band was hot. They played at such a pace you didn’t have time to stop and catch your breath and the crowd that filled the Pub seemed to really enjoy it all. We were really pleased to hear that they had been asked to cover a vacant slot later that afternoon, so we had the chance to see them do it all again. In this 2nd slot, they were in the Cavern Live Lounge which gave them so much more room to jump around and the sound was so much better. We bought their CD which seems to have their whole set on it…12 songs in less then 30 mins!

We then went into the front stage to see Paul Bevoir ( who breezed through a sunshiney pop set that captured the sun in the depths of the Cavern. He and his band (The Family Way) had a great audience and highlights for us were “Too Late Now” and his new song “The Living Kind”. With Paul’s music, you cannot help but start to tap your feet and bop on the spot and the great thing about this gig was that the drum beat (good though it was) did not drown out any of the vocals or other instruments. His final song was an old Jet Set one, which received a great round of applause. Minty was really thrilled with this performance. The the other good thing about Paul’s songs is that they all have that “Jim’ll Fix It” theme feel good vibe about the. You can’t help sing along with them.

Next up on the front stage were The Cola Jet Set ( who are Spain’s versions of the Shangri-las and The Cookies rolled into one. We did feel they had landed in the wrong country, as with it being Eurovision week, had these girls been in the competition, Spain would have won hands down, especially with all the key changes!. They were bubbly, did loads of hand claps, and smiled constantly while they sang (all in Spanish apart from one song). In fact they could have been singing about horror and murder and we would have been none the wiser! They filled the front stage and not just in terms of audience size, but also in terms of band size, being that there was 8 in all, including the guys paying guitars, drums and keyboards. They had a great girl group sound and the audience loved them.

We ventured into the Live Lounge and saw another Spanish band, The Corderoys. We wished we hadn’t! They took the mick a bit at the end of their set by saying “this is our last song” and as they ended that song, with David Bash ready to wrap up, they promptly started another song, saying that was in fact their last number!! There were quite a few other bands we’d rather have seen get an extra song in.

We stayed in the Live Lounge to see The Anydays, a mod band from Oxford. We were not overly impressed, especially when during the set up the lead singer, wearing dark sunglasses, had to lift them up to actually see what he was doing! There seems to be a recurrent theme here about bands and dark sunglasses…. It’s not cool guys. Not when it’s already dark! If you have to try and look cool…then you’re not.

We went off for something to eat, and returned to the Club about an hour later to find a band playing in the live lounge which did not seem to tally with the schedule. We found out later that the band were not actually on the bill and had basically gate crashed as they believed they were down to play!!!! That aside, they were actually quite good – The Method, form Cardiff, who had a very full band sound and included a trumpeter and a good front man who not only sang but who also played guitar and keyboard. They had a real tribal beat to their music and it sounded great.

Next up for us, was The Hype, a 5 piece from the Netherlands ( who included “The Mighty Quinn” in their set. They seemed to have their own media team and fan base, but it really was not needed as their set drew a really big crowd. They had great tunes and fab harmonies but sometimes took a bit too long in between songs to decide what was next!

In a bid to escape the next band up, Pearl, we retreated back to the Live Lounge and saw a band from Sweden, The Twilight Birds ( This band was very experienced and they played a well put together set which went down a storm. They had more of an Americana thing about them rather than pop, and were not the usual Swedish offering we are accustomed to at the IPO.

We gave Karl Morgan & The Click a second chance, having seen them last year and not been overly impressed. They play some nice catchy numbers but the vocals are still just a wee but high. Indeed, one of our friends was asking if the lead was a girl or Bart Simpson!

We meandered through to the front stage after this and caught another Swedish band, called The Fuzzy Halo but they did not impress us at all, and we were just killing time until the next band hit the stage.

Our final band for the night was The Fast Camels ( This is a band we have seen many times before and never grow tired of. Their set is played at such a frenetic pace, it must be like running 2 marathons in succession! Tonight, despite the late hour, they played a blinder which included a couple of new tracks which captured their trademark psychedelic guitar playing and interwoven psychedelic sounds. Both front men, Drew and Mark, work brilliantly together. Mark does most of the lead and sometimes looks as if he’s not far from passing out he puts so much into it. The new songs sound like another classic album is on the way.

So, day 4 finished in the early hours, with us catching just 12 out of the 34 bands that were on stage. Roll on Day 5.














GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 3
DATE: Thursday 27th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s supposed to be all free
RATING: Bongo Beat ruled the Cavern again


First the intro blurb and disclaimer…….International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

Our day started in the Cavern Pub, with Cardinal Jack kicking things off. This was a young and inexperienced band that appeared to think a band should yell into the mic and be totally inaudible. Certainly not our cup of tea, and we imagine this would be the sort of music that is played to the residents of Guantanamo Bay! We felt they wanted to be Nirvana, but Nirvana had the great hooks and tunes.

The next band was about the same age as Cardinal Jack and they could not have been much more different. The Peppermint Apes ( were really polished with great tunes, an excellent lead singer. These are a band to keep your eye on. They are already getting airplay on Janice Long’s Radio 2 show and made a TV appearance in New York! Their songs had a blend of harmony, foot tapping beats and an overall feel good factor and they looked like a pop group too!

Anthony Rivers is an experienced performer but everything seemed to conspire against him appearing at the IPO this year. He made the most out of a not so perfect situation, as his band was stuck abroad and he had to perform an acoustic set with 2 friends of his dad drafted in to help out, and a music machine. It was a struggle and they did not appear comfortable with the situation.

Bruise ( is really quite atmospheric and alternative, using a looping pedal to create all manner of sounds from the guitar. They played at a frenetic pace throughout their set, and their songs were deep and heavy but have grown on us the more times we have seen them played live. Isobel definitely goes into her own zone when playing these songs. It is kind of hard to believe that this is the same line up as Kelly’s Heels whose music is really quite different.

After the pace of Bruise, things were slowed down with an acoustic set from Spain’s Yani Martinelli ( Yani fronted the band Navy Blue at last year’s IPO and this year she returned for a solo slot. She has a very Beach Boys influenced feel to her music, being light and summery. She also tackled the complex chords of “Busy Doin’ Nothing” – a song that has more chord changes than most bands have in their entire set!! She has a lovely voice and her guitar playing was very good. We look forward to listening to her album once we are back home.

As mentioned in the intro, bands come from far and wide to appear in Liverpool, and tonight, Laurie Biagini ( had travelled from Vancouver, Canada to perform two sets, one in the pub and later on in the night, in the Cavern Club front stage. She brought with her a bit of sun-shiny west-coast style pop and Richard Snow and the In Laws did a fine job being her “house band” for the evening. She certainly drew in a good crowd and went down very well.

Every year at the IPO, we find a bit of a nugget, a band that we had overlooked whilst doing our “research” on myspace, that turn out to be really rather great. We found this year’s nugget tonight, on the front stage of the Cavern club in the form of The Soundcasters ( This is a young band from Kent (with a drummer who looks like a young Rod Stewart) who are really vibrant, playing jumpy catchy tunes and had a large crowd watching them. One of the things that set them apart from many of the other young bands, was their professionalism, especially when the lead broke a guitar string and rather than stop playing, he continued with an off the cuff number whilst a replacement guitar (a rather nice pale blue Gretsch by the way!) was brought to the stage. They showed that their parents must have an excellent record collection as they included a cover of The Band’s “The Wait” complete with glorious Crosby Stills and Nash type harmonies. David Bash summed up at the end of their set, saying “what an impressive band” and we totally agree. We hope that we will have the opportunity to see them again some time. It may be a bit of a novelty that the band is so young, but at the end of the day, their songs really stand up and set them apart from many of the other young bands appearing at this festival. Speaking with some of our IPO friends after the gig, they all agreed this is a great band.

A firm favourite of Minty is Junebug (, a band that has appeared at all of the IPOs we have been to. We have come to expect them to play great powerpop tunes and we were not disappointed tonight.

The front stage was actually running ahead of time, which meant that Richard Snow and the In Laws ( were already well into their set when we got there! Still, as expected, they played really well, and Richard's Rickenbacker sounded fantastic. They went down really well with an appreciative audience.

The finale of the night was the Bongo Beat Party, (, which has in the past been a highlight of the IPO for us. This year, they had control of the stage in the live lounge and it was hard to find a spot to sit, given the throng of people that filled the back room. Ralph, who started the party, is the epitome of what a cool jazz/beat poet is all about, the Chet Baker of the poetry world. He was on top form tonight, and during his set, recounted his recent trip to Italy, performed his great song “Billy Fury, Billy Fury” and finished up with a rip roaring “Louie, Louie”. It was great to see Simon from the Plastic Heroes playing bass.

Mike Badger looks like he has had a make-over! He seemed to be quite at home in the live lounge, with a guitar that looks like he has had for years. His last song was “Adios Los Amigos” which got a rapturous applause.

Then the non-stop energy ball that is Dave Rave ( took to the stage for a totally awesome, high octane, power fuelled set. You cannot restrain this guy! He is totally infectious and gets the crowd going without fail. His “Rock The Party” and “When Patti Rocked” were particular highlights, as was his song "Anne-Marie" which was written with the real Anne-Marie in mind. The Beeb was invited up to help out on backing vocals for a cover of Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy” and he was back up on stage again, (along with half of the audience) for “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” which ended the party in true Bongo Beat style. We captured more fantastic memories that will stay with us for years, so thanks guys.

So Day 3 came to a close. Tonight we saw 12 out of the 25 bands on stage (with one seen twice), so almost back to a 50% hit rate!
We had changed our schedule tonight, and moved the Cavern Club a bit earlier than expected, due a sudden change in the Cavern's policy which was noted on the boards outside the club, that they would be charging a cover charge on everyone after 8pm. That's not really in the spirit of the Liverpool IPO. However, it appears that they did not enforce the charge as our mate got back into the club after 8pm with no financial loss!

See you tomorrow.
And here, courtesy of Stephen Bailey is some Youtube footage of The Bongo Beat party.

And RALPH in the Live Lounge (again, thanks Stephen)

And Dave Rave rocks the party (thanks Stephen)

And what is such a fantastic song "Hey Anne-Marie" - again thanks a lot Stephen for letting us use your Youtube clips.









GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 2
DATE: Wednesday 26th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all free
RATING: Clocking off on a high


First the intro blurb…….International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

We were once again running a bit late today, and missed the kick off to day 2. We wandered into the Cavern Live Lounge at 6 o’clock just in time for Spygenius ( This was obviously an experienced band and the main man had a bit of personality about him, getting a bit of banter going, including recounting the tale of his first argument with his wife (the bass player) whilst on the Magical Mystery Tour. The second half of their set was the strongest, with “Pineapple Drive” a fun, summery type of pop song and a switch from a 6 string Rickenbacker to a 12 string Rickenbacker. Their last song was called “Surf” which had a pounding drum beat, with which you could imagine the surf building. We did however feel that the keyboards drowned out quite a bit of the Rickenbacker so we didn’t get to hear the full jingle jangle sound.

Next up were Clockwise, filling in with an extra set due to another bands’ absence. This band is what powerpop is all about, and we found out that their song “Boom Town” had been played on BBC Radio Liverpool earlier in the afternoon. The highlights of this set were “Everday” and “No Matter What” and the band attracted a decent size crowd towards the back of the room.

We stayed in the Live Lounge and caught a band from Norway, The Quay Porters. This was not a band on our list of “must see’s” and they really were not to our taste at all. There was only one vocalist and he seemed to lack depth, tone and emotion and the other guitarist was either new to the band or was filling in as he had to refer to sheet music throughout. Both guitarists seemed to play the same chords all of the time so there was no variety to their music. The size of the audience at the IPO can be unpredictable and some great bands have played to an almost empty room but we suspect the lack of audience here was down to the music. However, many people like Joy Division, so who are we to judge!

We popped across the street to the pub and took the opportunity to see a few numbers from the Montanas (, a band we had seen last night and liked a lot. They had attracted a really big crowd who really seemed to appreciate their music and we were certainly pleased to hear “Josie” again.

Back across in the Live Lounge, a band from Italy, The Jackie O’s Farm ( had complete control of the stage as they powered through a fantastic set. They had some very punchy numbers including their single in Italy which made them quite famous – Mrs Kali. There was some nice Gretsch guitar playing and the keyboardist, who had taken up the maracas for the rendition of their single, along with the lead singer, really looked like they loved being on the stage and performing their music.

The Live Lounge was becoming our second home for the night, as we stayed to watch Postcards from Places That Don’t Exist ( We found out later that this was only their fourth appearance live, and they did a pretty good job. This was another band where the lead singer was just the lead singer and didn’t play any instruments, and he was a bit like Mike Love of The Beach Boys, even down to the beard and cap! Their songs had all of the right ingredients to make a good powerpop mix – they were short, punchy and quite catchy, although some did end quite abruptly! We think that this band would benefit from some backing vocals to add that extra layer of harmony to the great songs they have in their set. And one word about the bass player….. walking about in the dark with sunglasses on isn’t really that cool!
Then was our highlight of the night – Clockwise ( took to the Live Lounge stage again for the third and final time. This set, slightly different to their previous appearances was totally powered up and absolutely rocked and there was quite a large gathering of people who came to listen, albeit they were a bit shy and huddled towards the back of the room! Even David Bash was taking photos of the band! They finished up on “Peace Love and Understanding” which really resonated throughout the room. Nice one guys – we really, really enjoyed hearing you play.

The Italians were out in force today, and on the front stage, we saw The Bad Love Experience ( a young band from Livorno, Italy. Indeed the lead singer let us know that today was his 18th birthday, and the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him! The guitarist had a blonde Epiphone, John Lennon re-issue which had The Beeb all a quiver! This band had a very raw energy which was quite infectious and they really did stand out from the crowd.

Our last band for the night was the same as last night - The Grande ( Tonight, the lapsteel had a prominent place in centre stage and we could hear it much clearer. They opened with “Don’t Let Me Down” which sounded very strong and there was no let up in quality as they went through their set, ending on a really crowd pleasing number which had some people line dancing, and others swinging balloons around! We get the feeling that this band enjoys their music, and love a good crowd as well.

So day 2 over…. Out of the 22 bands that played today, we caught 8 (only 8??) and one band we saw twice so our hit rate was not so good. On to tomorrow………..











GIG: International Pop Overthrow Day 1
DATE: Tuesday 25th May 2010
VENUE: Cavern Pub and Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all free
RATING: A gentle start with a crescendo of sound


International Pop Overthrow, organised by David Bash, visits Liverpool every year, and puts on a fantastic free music festival for a whole week in the land of the The Beatles. It attracts Powerpop bands from all over Europe and the rest of the world (including this year, Japan, the USA and Canada). It is impossible to see every one of the bands as 3 stages are on the go simultaneously but we try to see as much as we can. We can’t promise to like all of the bands that play and certainly we will favour some over others, and indeed, some bands we like the sound of after checking them out on Myspace, may not be great performing live (and vice versa for that matter) but in this blog we offer our own personal opinion on the bands and the music we hear.

We were running a bit late this year, and missed the kick off to the festival. We wandered into the Cavern Club back stage (now rebranded as the Cavern Live Lounge) and caught the last 3 songs of The Weatherman. The name suggests a band but this was in fact a solo guy with acoustic guitar and a keyboard. He had a Noel Gallagher look about him and from what we heard of his set, wasn’t too bad, and was a nice easing into the start of the week long festival. The next act was down on our list as a “must see” - Armstrong ( From listening to their Myspace site, we had expected a full band to be appearing and were a little surprised when Armstrong turned out to be another solo guy with an acoustic guitar. Armstrong had quite a John Sebastian feel to him and you could also hear the Roddy Frame influence in his music. He banged out some good melodies from his guitar and overall his set was quite good. We bought his CD “Songs About The Weather” from the merchandise stall.

Next up, we went to the Cavern Pub where we caught the tail end to David Gibb’s set. His was a set of quick punchy folk/pop numbers, and his band line up included a violin and an accordion player. We felt they would be a good opener for Mike Harding’s radio 2 show rather that a powerpop band at the IPO.

Monkeeman ( could be classed as IPO veterans but it is the first time we have managed to catch their set. They really rocked things up and had a fantastic drummer who managed to throw in loads of unexpected fill-ins. They beat the British stereotype image of the Germans by showing they had a great sense of humour as well, after being heckled in German by a member of the audience. Their song “Life is Wonderful” was really good and their set finished with (the ironic?) “The Great Escape”.

We had some spare time and caught Soundserif on the Cavern Front stage. We could hear the tinkling of a keyboard and had difficulty locating the source of this. The keyboardist was tucked away in the far corner of the stage behind the amps! This band had both a male and a female vocalist and after a couple of songs, the female voice did grate a bit. We left the front stage about mid-way through their set, enticed away with the offer of a free CD single from the band who were about to start in the Live Lounge.

Identity Parade (the givers of free singles) are from Dublin and had a real Irish rock feel about them. Every song had a very strong drum beat and they certainly rocked. Each band member had a different look to them, ranging from a Mod and Ska, to a bearded hippy! We really liked their song “Six Shades of Blue”.

Back to the Cavern Pub to catch Camera ( We really enjoyed this band as they had a bit more harmony than the other bands we had seen so far, with both the bass player and the keyboardist providing backing vocals. Their really strong song was “Delilah” and up to this point had been the best song The Beeb had heard all day. They went down a treat.

We moved back to the Cavern Front Stage for the next round of bands. First in control of the stage was local band, The Suns ( Last year, the guy behind this band, David Lloyd had performed an acoustic set and this year it was good to hear the band fully plugged in and rocking. They had tremendous support and drew a reasonable sized crowd. Their songs were very punchy powerpop but slowed down a bit for “Soul Desert” which The Beeb particularly liked.

The Montanas (, from the Netherlands also had loads of support in the audience. Their set was really energetic, very lively and the vocals sounded good, especially “Josie” for which David Lloyd of the Suns joined them on stage and stayed for a cover of the Beatles “Taxman”. We did enjoy watching and listening to this band. It is unusual to see a band at the IPO where the lead singer is just that – a lead singer, without playing any instruments, but that did certainly not detract from them sounding great. They also get the award for being the tallest band of the festival!

We had extended our stay by a few hours at last year’s IPO to see Clockwise (, who had travelled from Toronto to appear at The Cavern. When we learned they were on the bill for this year’s festival, we were really excited at the prospect of seeing them again. They performed a high energy, rocking set, which included “Inside Out”, “Boom Town”, “Faders on Stun” (the title track from their latest album), a great cover of Badfinger’s “No Matter What”, with very strong vocals and finished up with a fantastic version of Nick Lowe’s “Peace Love and Understanding”. They looked like they enjoyed playing and the members of the audience certainly seemed to appreciate them too.

Hall Of Mirrors had intrigued us during our “research” on Myspace, with their classification of their sound as “French pop” and a line up that included a violin, and wondered how they would re-create their music in a live environment. The band seemed to be a bit cut down, with just the vocalist (also on keyboard), electric 12 string guitar, bass guitar and drums, and no violin. In all honesty, we did not feel this band were really powerpop and would be more suited to film scores. There was just the one vocal, which was quite similar to Kate Bush and she could certainly hold a note, but this meant that there was no harmony. We also felt the 12 string guitar was wasted a bit as it was wired up to peddles to produce the strange, electric sounds of the band so you did not hear the usual jingly jangly sound a 12 string usually adds.

Our last band of the night was The Grande ( who is another local band. This band impressed us last year and it was good to hear that nothing had changed. The male lead vocals from Ben Sherwen mixed with Melissa’s female vocals still works extremely well and she still shows the strength to her voice on the songs she took lead for. We felt the lapsteel could have been a touch louder for the set but they did a great set, enjoyed playing their music and had loads of support in the audience. Watch out for their debut album coming out later this summer. Oh, and a special mention must be made of the most gorgeous sight on any stage so far this IPO. Sorry Melissa, not you, but the Gretsch White Falcon guitar your guitarist had. Boys and their toys!

So, day 1 started gently with 2 acoustic sets, and progressed to full electric powerpop sounds which rocked the Club and the Pub through to past midnight. From the 25 acts that were on stage today, we caught 12 of them, so an almost 50% hit rate. Not bad!


GIG: Pet Sounds Vs Sgt Pepper – The Brighton Beach Boys
DATE: Saturday 22nd May 2010
VENUE: St George’s Church, St George’s Road, Kemp Town, Brighton
COST: £15
RATING: Pet Sounds Vs Sgt Pepper? No contest


We set off for Brighton early afternoon, in glorious sunshine, which meant the car rooftop was down and the summery sounds of The Beach Boys were blaring from the car stereo all of the way. Arriving with loads of time to spare, the gorgeous sunshiny weather beckoned us to Brighton Pier and ice-cream! As we wandered down the pier (coincidently playing the Beatles the whole time we were there) we wondered if the clash of “Pet Sounds” versus “Sgt Pepper” would be anything like the clashes of Mods and Rockers from days gone by!

Having seen Brian Wilson and his band perform “Pet Sounds” in its entirety many times we really did not know what to expect from the Brighton Beach Boys, other than that is had the potential to be a great show, given the fact that they have been doing this show from time to time over the last 5 years. At around 7.30ish we arrived at St George’s Church with our friends Ashley & Paul and we were guided to the balcony area, with a great view straight on to the stage. Immediately we could sense we were in for a good show, given the multitude of instruments set up, ready for the guys to play. (And Jesus, who may be bigger than The Beatles, was looking down on things.)

The Brighton Beach Boys took to the stage, and opened with a bit of a teaser – the Beach Boys song “California Girls” and the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby”. “Eleanor Rigby” really stood out with the string quintet really complementing the 5 band members who harmonised so well for this song. Minty is not the biggest of Beatles fan but even she had her appetite whetted for more Beatles.

But the Beatles had to wait, as “Pet Sounds” started. We won’t give a song by song account, but focus on what were the highlights for us. Immediately, the drums made the whole showcase of this album being played on stage, in much the same way as Jimmy Hines played the drums when Brian Wilson did his Pet Sounds tours. The drummer, Theseus Gerrard pounded his drum-kit with so much passion which made the first song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” set the tone for the rest of the evening. The next track on the album is “You Still Believe In Me” and for the intro to this one, two of the band members plucked the strings of the grand piano. It was during this song that we noticed that the band layout was not dissimilar to Brian Wilson’s band, in that a percussionist was there beside the drummer, and he also beeped the bicycle horn at the right time!

The first instrumental track “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” was astounding, and once again, the drummer was exceptional. “God Only Knows” was slightly unusual in that the drummer did handclaps to keep the beat, which actually worked really well and for “I Know There’s An Answer” the chorus was from “Hang Onto Your Ego”. What worked on that song was that the bass harmonica was played along with the saxophone (something not done with Brian Wilson’s band as the same guy plays both!). The second instrumental and title track “Pet Sounds” was really outstanding, and included the “drum off” between the drummer and the percussionist and resulted in massive cheers from the audience.

The second half of the show started with a brief instruction on audience participation, where the previous drummer (now switched to maracas and tambourine, whilst another band member sat on the drum stool and pounded the drums) held up placards to instruct the audience on what to do at the appropriate times – “Cheer,” “Laugh,” “Scream,” after which they launched into the title track “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Ralph Brown took to the mic for “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “She’s Leaving Home” which had the most glorious harmonies and fantastic strings. The great thing about Ralph, thespian that he is.. he acted out all the songs he sang with a passion.

“Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite!” gave the band an opportunity to don circus masks, and the guy who took the lead vocal wore a Top Hat. Theseus took control of the Sgt Pepper drum and paraded up and down the aisles beating the bass drum with the Sgt Pepper logo on it!

Ralph Brown took lead vocal again for “Within You Without You” and with the sitar on stage, it sounded great, and got the massive applause it richly deserved. Everyone in the audience sang along to “When I’m Sixty-Four,” featuring an excellently timed hammer on a pipe. By the time the last notes of the Sgt Pepper album had died down and the band left the stage, the audience were on their feet demanding more.

Obliging, The Brighton Beach Boys came back to satisfy their audience demands, and their encore was “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, Good Vibrations,” (that really got EVERYONE up dancing,) “All You Need Is Love” and then the finale to send everyone home “Love & Mercy” in true Brian Wilson style. The string arrangement at the end caught us out when it then went seamlessly into The Beatles “Goodnight” from the White Album for a final, and most appropriate verse, “Goodnight everybody, everybody everywhere…goodnight.”

To sum up this gig, other than putting it down as one of the highlights of 2010 so far, the band obviously enjoyed every second they had on stage, and their enthusiasm and love of the music filtered through to everyone in the audience. They constantly changed set up, playing different instruments as needed – indeed Ralph Brown went from keyboards to glockenspiel to saxophone and back again!

We were really taken by the drummer on the Pet Sounds section, Theseus who not only pounded the drums with as much passion as Dennis Wilson used to, but during the 2nd half, armed with just maracas and a tambourine, really stood out with his dancing around the stage with a mixture of Bez from Happy Mondays and Lee Evans and still kept perfect time!!! Even on Pet Sounds, he seemed to direct the traffic and just firmed up our belief that if you have a strong drummer on Pet Sounds, the rest falls into place. He was the most entertaining drummer The Beeb has seen since Ray Cooper played with Eric Clapton and an orchestra at the Royal Albert hall 20 years ago!
The piano player, Glenn Richardson really stood out vocally, adding great harmonies and the lead on Good Vibrations was excellent.

If you get the chance to see this show, take it. The band mentioned they had been doing this for the last 5 years and now thinking of moving on to cover other albums (we suggested Odessey & Oracle”!!!) so the chances are diminishing.

So, “Pet Sounds” or “Sgt Pepper.” Who won? Easy answer… the audience!
Nice one guys – thoroughly enjoyed it.

And the usual round up about the loos! Clean, but a bit out of the way!