BRIAN SETZER

The Forum
Kentish Town
London

Tuesday 11th July 2017

Rockabilly Riot
Tickets for Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot sold like hotcakes when the show was announced, being the only UK show on his tour and we were very lucky to be able to nab tickets. Unreserved seating on the Balcony meant getting there early to be first in line to get a good seat at the front! It was pouring with rain but this did not dampen any spirits.

Brian Setzer is looking fit- a few pounds shed since we last saw him, dressed in a pinstriped suit and sporting his trademark blonde quiff he kicked off his London Rockabilly Riot with a Carl Perkins cover "Put Your Clothes On".


With a career spanning the best part of 30 years, there is no way you can cram all of the old favourites into a single gig, but the set was a really balanced mixture of covers, solo stuff and Stray Cats songs.


He was looking good, he was sounding great and his riot band of drummer, double bass player and a boogie woogie piano player were superb. He changed guitars a few times, from orange to black to green - all Gretsch as he powered through this blistering set. The Quiff had melted by the end of the show!





The encore included a great version of "Sleepwalk" and everytime we see Brian Setzer play this tune, it is always different as he adds his own twist to it. Tonight was no exception and you can see the video of this below.

Thank You London

Sleep Walk - Setzer Style


Set List:
1 Put Your Cat Clothes On  (Carl Perkins cover)
2 Rumble in Brighton  (Stray Cats song)
3 Vinyl Records
4 Stray Cat Strut  (Stray Cats song)
5 Nothing is a Sure Thing, Baby
6 Stiletto Cool
7 Cry Baby  (Stray Cats song)
8 '49 Mercury Blues  (The Brian Setzer Orchestra song)
9 Whatshername
10 Drive Like Lightning
11 Slow Down / Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
12 Gene and Eddie  (Stray Cats song)
13 Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys cover)
14 Runaway Boys  (Stray Cats song)
15 Jump, Jive an' Wail  (Louis Prima cover)
16 Fishnet Stockings  (Stray Cats song)
17 Let's Shake
Encore:
18 Sleep Walk  (Santo & Johnny cover)
19 Rock This Town  (Stray Cats song)

DARREL HIGHAM

The Borderline
Mannette Street, London

Thursday 15th June 2017



It was a basic set up - a drum kit, stand up double bass and Darrel Higham with his rockabilly quiff and guitar to give us just over an hour of some great rockabilly tunes. No need for fancy stage sets or guitar pedals. This is pure raw rockabilly music.

The influence of Hank Williams and Eddie Cochran is very transparent in Darrell's solo material. His set tonight had a few covers included but it centred mainly on his latest two album releases, "Hell's Hotel" and "One For The Road" which was great as we had not heard anything from the "One For The Road" album before.

The songs are short, punchy, with that simple drum beat, bass slapping and guitar twang that is synonomous with the rockabilly beat, but each individual enough to avoid sounding like the same song over and over again.



We really enjoyed this gig. Not only for the music but for the intimate setting too as The Borderline is a small venue.

After the gig, Darrel was extremely generous with his time to say hello to people, have photos taken and sell his CD's which seemed to be flying off the merch table. Would not hesitate to see him play again.


Darrel's back up guitar - the White Falcon teasing us.



Video of "And The Angels Cried"


MARI WILSON

Bush Theatre
Shepherds Bush, London

Sunday 4th June 2017


"Said he was giving me a Taffeta dress.... that's Just What I Always Wanted" - the opening lyrics from what is one of Minty's favourite songs and the theme of the gig which celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the release of this iconic 80's song.

The gig was a total sell out and no wonder, as Mari pulled out all the stops, with a full band and backing singers to support her, including original Wilsation Saxophonist Stewart Curtis, and James Nesbitt who has been the staple guitarist in her solo shows for a few years now. The big band really made for a great party atmosphere as Mari lead us through what has been a brilliant musical career .

Her first album "Showpeople" was really celebrated as well as her most recent release "Pop Deluxe", a covers tribute to all those fantastic 60's girls who ruled the charts, such as Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black and Petula Clark.

She can belt out those classics when she needs to and then she can sit perched on a stool and deliver such a soft, slowed down version of "24 Hours From Tulsa" which leaves you with the hairs standing on the back of your neck, and too scared to breath lest the sound break the hush that fell over the mesmerised audience. The reaction to "24 Hours From Tulsa" was amazing.

The crowd were delighted when long time friend of Mari's, Marc Almond joined her on stage to duet on two classic Dusty Springfield songs, "I Close My Eyes & Count To Ten" and "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself".

She has a great sense of humour and a cheeky laugh and kept the audience entertained in between songs, not that there was much of a break between songs mind you, as the whole set flowed so smoothly and included 4 costume changes. Mari has the knack of finding great outfits for her gigs. Starting out in a 60's style sequinned mini dress, she also wowed us with an orange and red chiffon combo, sexy black leggings and sparkly top and jacket and her final costume, a lovely little black dress with sequin trim. Truly stunning in all of them.

The encore of 3 songs ended with that 80's Pop Classic "Just What  Always Wanted" which had everyone on their feet and brought the show to close. What a brilliant night.





Cry Me A River, with Stewart Curtis on Sax


A mention has to be made about the support act. This was a solo Rockabilly gal, Emily Cappell with a rather good looking guitar. A pure young talent, who really entertained us with her self penned songs and a great wit. Each song had a story, mostly humorous, which made everyone giggle (wonder if her first love will ever find out!) and it was a great 20 minutes of entertainment. Here's hoping we get the chance to see her again, and hopefully she'll become a very successful singer/songwriter.

Emily Cappell


BMX BANDITS

St Lukes
Glasgow

Saturday 27th May 2017

The BMX Bandits do not play live very often, and with a new album just released, this launch party gig was one not to be missed. By the time the BMX Bandits took to the stage, the place was packed and we found a bit of space at the back by the sound desk, which is always a good place to be!


Members of The BMX Bandits come and go, each contributing to their piece of the band's history and back catalogue which is vast, spanning just over 30 years. This is a line up we have seen a few times now, so it's pretty stable.


Davey Scott
The one constant is Duglas T Stewart, his gentle soul and his apple (although tonight, he also had a banana). His sidekick, Chloe fills the female vocal parts very well, as well as playing a bit of guitar, keyboard and some percussion.

Great backing vocals are provided by the rest of the band and tonight we got the added bonus of Pearlfisher, Davey Scott who joined Duglas on stage for a few songs which was great to see and hear.


Chloe


With 30 years in the bag, the set list for a gig must be hard to decide on.

Tonight we got a good selection of songs from the new album "Forever" and some great songs from yesteryear including staples such as "Serious Drugs" and "Your Class" which has been in the set for the last few gigs and has become a very firm favourite with us.

Oh, and the new album is wonderful. Full of classic Bandits songs already.



After the Gig - The Beeb with Chloe, Duglas and Stu Kidd


The Beeb and Duglas


Booty







THE BEACH BOYS

The SECC
Glasgow

Friday 26th May 2017

We travelled all the way to Glasgow to catch The Beach Boys - the incarnation that is Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Years ago, this outfit was the act that just rocketed through the back catalogue of the hits. Since musical director Scott Totten and former "CEO of Falsetto" from Brian Wilson's band, Jeff Foskett have been firmly implanted in the band, the performance has expanded to include more obscure Beach Boys songs, to the extent that The Beach Boys now give a performance, that for the casual fan, could almost rival Brian Wilson and his touring band.




It was a great show. Mike Love is the quintessential front man, who dazzles the crowd with his gold rings and sparkly eyes. His voice is not as strong as it has been in the past, and in his defence we feel he does recognise that he cannot sing every song anymore, which also gives the great opportunity to include the songs sung by others in the set. Both Jeff Foskett and Scott Totten stepped up for many leads, and drummer John Cowsill did a fantastic "Wild Honey". Bass player and former member of (a recent version of ) The Four Freshman, Brian Eichenberger also added some superb lead vocals.
Jeff Foskett

All through the show, the big video screen at the back of the stage displayed loads of video, which was quite distracting at times because you can't watch the video and the band at the same time!!!

John Stamos was included in the UK leg of the tour. OK, he is nice Eye Candy for the girls, but he did prance about a bit too much, demanding the spotlight every time he was on the stage. Aside from adding vocals (he took the lead for "Forever"), and strumming the guitar, he was behind the drum kit a lot which we felt left John Cowsill a bit out in the cold. Cowsill is a brilliant drummer for The Beach Boys and we did miss his brilliant tom beat throughout the whole show.

Bruce Johnston sang lead on his signature song "Disney Girls" but other than that he seemed very quiet, and apart from joining in for the acapella nod to the Four Freshmen with "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring", pretty much just kept behind the keyboard for the duration of the gig.

Bruce Johnston
With a dedication to the two Wilson brothers who sadly are no longer with us, Carl Wilson's vocal was used for "God Only Knows" to the backdrop of Carl videos. The same was done for "Do You Wanna Dance" with the vocal from Denny Wilson.

Tim Bonhomme
Overall the sound was very good, clear from where we sat. An addition to the sound on this tour was a Sax player and Tim Bonhomme on a second keyboard - this did make a difference.


The video backdrop was also used effectively for a break in the show for Mike to pay tribute to those who had been killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist bombing earlier in the week, with all the victim's names and photos displayed on the big screen. It was quite touching, but the cynics in us noticed that Mike and Bruce were reading verbatim off text taped to the floor by the microphones, so it was very scripted. All in all, this is a band who have improved greatly since we first saw them years ago. And despite his critics, kudos have to be given to Mike for still putting in a lot of physical effort keeping this show on the road, and doing so many gigs every year.
Mike Love
Mike Love & John Stamos
We were very fortunate, through a friend of the band, to obtain backstage passes, so after the show we had the chance to say hello to Jeffrey Foskett and Mike Love, who graciously posed for photos and signed memorabilia for everyone. We also met Mike's wife, Jacquelyne, who was an absolute delight and great to speak with.
With Jeff Foskett

Meeting Mike Love

The Beeb & Jacquelyne Love

One comment about the SECC - we had front row balcony seats as these usually give a great, uninterrupted view of the stage. What we did not know at the time of booking is that people have to walk across the front of the balcony to get to their seats so we had a constant stream of traffic!! Grrr


INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW DAY 5 - SATURDAY

The Cavern Pub & The Cavern Club
Mathew Street, Liverpool
Saturday 20th May 2017

Bands seen today = 16
Dave Rave & Hailee Rose, Marco Rea, Colin’s Godson, Honeybug, Nathan Bennett, The Hepburns, Yoav Arbel, The Know Escape, The JetBeats, Clown Capers, B-Side, Dream Factory, Kontiki Suite, The Real Me, The Fast Camels, Johnny Remember Me,

The International Pop Overthrow is in its 15th year in Liverpool, with around 140 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.


Another mammoth day for us with 16 bands caught today.

Since the time Dave Rave has been appearing at the IPO with Hailee Rose, we have not been able to see them perform as they have always been scheduled to play on the Monday/Tuesday slots after we have gone home. So, we were delighted to have the opportunity to see both in action this year, opening the 5th day in the Cavern Pub. 

The set was a mix of songs with leads from both Dave and Hailee, apart from when Simon, the bass player, took control of the microphone to sing what is now an IPO anthem - "Hey Anne-Marie". This is a song we love and which was written during an IPO a few years ago about, well, what it says on the tin..... Anne-Marie.  

The lunchtime pub crowd were tremendous, and the place was getting quite full as people stayed, rather than just wandering in and then back out again. Why were they staying? Well, Hailee has a great set of pipes on her - a really powerful voice that got everyone's attention and Dave Rave is a very personable and infectious performer who has the ability to draw people to him.The good thing about Hailee's voice is that it is a natural voice and she does not feel the need to go all 'Mariah Carey' through climbing up and down the scale and back up again in the space of 10 seconds that so many young female singers seem to think is the right way to sing nowadays!!!  
Dave Rave and Hailee Rose
The set included two covers. Their version of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" was slowed down and sounded really good and they finished with a rousing version of "Respect" with Hailee taking the lead and doing Areatha justice. The audience loved it and judging from the smiles on stage, Dave, Hailee and the band loved it just as much.
Marco Rea with Jim on bass

Marco Rea is an amazing singer/songwriter from Glasgow. Not all of his band, The Wellgreen were available for the IPO this year so this was a solo set, Marco on guitar, with Jim on bass to keep things trotting along. 

We got a great set of Marco penned gentle songs and the good thing was the large pub crowd was respectful enough to not overpower an acoustic set with constant chit chat. 


The Beeb



The finale was a rousting version of "Red Light" and we cold see the audience's heads bobbing and feet tapping. We feel they appreciated this set. 

Much later on, in the Cavern Club, Marco did his second slot. This time, The Beeb was on the stage with Marco and Jim, providing some backing vocals and a bit of harmonica. You just can't keep The Beeb down!!!
Marco Rea




















Colin's Godson
We managed to catch another performance from Colin's Godson

The set was the same as yesterday's but that did not matter. 

The narrative in between songs was just as hilarious second time around and the songs themselves still held their own.

It was a pleasure to have been with them on their interplanetary journey.





Ni, Honeybug
Honeybug has graced the IPO in many guises since we've been attending the festival, ranging from Ni on his lonesome through to 3 piece, a four piece and even an entourage of seven! One day he'll hit the right formula!! (kidding). 

We never know what to expect each year and that makes it even more fun. This year we got a duo........ 80's Synth Honeybug. 

We got songs such as an old favourite, "Lady Luck" which we have heard in the past completely stripped down to a lounge style, this year spruced up to an 80's disco dance track, complete with the drum and bass machine. Wonderfully inspired. If Ni had been around in the 80's he would have been king of the charts with that set!


Honeybug

A last minute switch in the line up due to a major traffic incident delaying some people from getting up to Liverpool in time, meant we did not manage to catch Fun Of the Pier this year. Instead we got Nathan Bennett in their slot. Whilst it is nice that the IPO host wanted to give Nathan the chance to play, it was grossly unfair to bump other acts to accommodate this, especially as he did have a second slot already in the line up later on..... so it was not as though he would not have been able to play at all.
That aside, he did have a nice voice and looked vaguely like the actor Tom who played Miranda's love interest in the BBC sitcom. However, his set did seem to be a "work in progress" affair, with a disproportionate number of covers and he had to refer to a notebook of lyrics most of the time.  

The Hepburns, from South Wales, were introduced as being influenced by Burt Bacharach, and the horn player certainly gives this band the Bacharach vibe, in particular the flugal horn which really gave the set a lounge style sound. Close your eyes and you could be forgiven for thinking this was LA Lounge band, Mellocads. Mid way, the tempo changed to a more Latino rhythm before closing on a festival type song. We really enjoyed their set and got their CD too.
The Hepburns


Yoav Arbel
From Israel Yoav Arbel had piqued our interest. He was good, but by this point we had absorbed enough keyboard and left early. 

We heard later he did a brilliant version of God Only Knows. Sad to have missed that one.




The Back Stage was needed to accommodate everyone in The Know Escape. This band is the latest project from Mark Mortimer who is a bit of an IPO veteran and has appeared in a few guises over the years. With 8 on stage, it took forever to get everyone set up, including Mark himself who seemed to need to tune up 3 guitars and then go and get his jacket on! The set up included a large brass section which added volume and oomph, however we left after a couple of songs as they did not set us alight. There was nothing that really stood out.
The Know Escape


The JetBeats


The JetBeats were born to play at The Cavern. Having seen them yesterday in their leather jackets, today they were suited and booted, 60's style and sounded right at home on the Beatles stage. 

They really do nail that 60's beat sound and could easily have been the band on "That Thing You Do", they sound that good! 

Their songs are happy, upbeat and infectious to the point that you cannot do anything other than to bop your head, tap your feet and sing along to the chorus' in your head.  Totally recommended.







The JetBeats


Clown Capers



Clown Capers appeared for the fourth time, filling in for some late cancellations. Every time they have played, it has been a good solid set, with some great tunes. The lead guy's beard is still the best beard of the IPO!







B-Side



B-Side had a bit of a different sound this year - starting their set in a very Pink Floyd, Prog Rock style with mood and extended guitar solos.

 It was a bit of a surprise, but not bad! Mid-way through they reverted back to their Beach Boys' influenced, summer, happy style songs and we were delighted to hear again, their single "The Sun Brings Out the Girls" which has always been a great crowd pleaser.  


B-Side's Sean Macreavy brings out the Sunshine



On this song in particular you can really appreciate the influence of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys on Sean Macreavy and it would not be out of place on a "Beach Boys Best Of" album, with the harmony and summer feel.







Another Mark Mortimer project, Dream Factory took over the Back Stage with their 9-piece formation who were basically the same members of The Know Escape from earlier in the evening. Having a 4 piece brass section really gave the band a bit of a Big Band / Northern Soul sound. They were good, but the line of music stands and IPad holders across the front of the stage was a disappointment because it showed this band were not really gig ready and you also could not see them either as they were a bit hidden!
Dream Factory
Kontiki Suite

It was a pleasure to see Kontiki Suite back this year. 

From Cumbria, this band has a lead singer who appears to be painfully shy and not keen on chatting to the audience. 

They have moved from a gentle west coast pysch sound to more prog rock variant and the drummer sang some great backing vocals. An enjoyable set and we do like their albums

It was great to be able to catch the second appearance from Spanish band The Real Me. again they delivered a great set of toe tapping, head nodding and sing along in your head  tunes. This is traditional powerpop for sure... brilliant vocals, great guitar and catchy hooks and choruses.
 "Oh Jen" is definitely one of the best songs of the IPO  and hearing their songs for a second time prompted Minty to buy both of their vinyls. 
The Real Me

Andy - The Fast Camels
Next up was one of Glasgow's finest, The Fast Camels. Scheduling on Sunday meant that this was the only opportunity to see Drew, Mark, Joe, Andy and CJ on stage this year. 

What a delightful set they played, kicking off with two new songs which has really whetted our appetite for album no 4. 

They are very psych influenced, with roots that give a nod to Arthur Lee but with a great individuality that means you cannot say "They sound like.....". because they have their own sound, their own style of chord progression. Over these last few years, the boys have really come into their own, being very comfortable with their look and their sound. It is a great group effort too, with everyone contributing, including writing the songs.

Despite consciously moving to a more commercial sound last year, in all honesty they have not really departed from their psych influences. The songs are a little shorter than in the past, but the sound is still their own. Another stunning set from the Glasgow boys, which went down very well.


Drew & Mark,  The Fast Camels

We did catch one more band, Germany's Johnny Remember Me. In our IPO research we had noted these as Joe Meek influenced, with a bit of a sound quite similar to eighties band H2O. Maybe it was late and we are doing them a great injustice, as we had been all banded out, but nothing has stuck in our minds about this band.