International Pop Overthrow Monday (Day 6)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Monday (Day 6)
DATE: May 25th 2009
VENUE: Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: Well worth delaying our journey home.

Normally we head off for home on the Monday morning, but having heard Canadian band Clockwise ( on Myspace we really wanted to catch them live. It definitely was worth delaying our journey home. Even at this very early un-rock and roll hour, they put on a great show. "Water On The Moon," showed main man Claude to be as acerbic as Elvis Costello when it comes to lyrics. "Boom Town" and "Surrender" were other stand out songs. It was obvious that this gig meant a lot to them. The WAGs with the band had the cameras and videos going to capture them for posterity. The set was so impressive we bought a couple of their CDs. Meeting the guys after the gig was really nice but was also tinged with a touch of sadness knowing this was our IPO 2009 finally over.

It can be very tiring trying to see as many bands as we can over the IPO week, but every now and again a band pops up that really grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you out of any torpor you may find yourself in due to lack of sleep and regular food. We certainly came across our fair share who did just that. All we're doing now is looking forward to next year. We're pretty sure the spirit of Wil Woodrowe will be there with us once again. He wasn't too far away this year.

International Pop Overthrow - Sunday (Day 5)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Sunday (Day 5)
DATE: May 24th 2009
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: Rocking repeat performances

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

Sunday was a big day for the Beeb. It was the nail biting finale to the Scottish footy season and the title was up for grabs so wearing his green and white hoops of Celtic, he headed off to O’Neills pub to watch the match on the big screen. Minty headed to the Cavern Club, Front Stage to catch Super June & The Tiki Waves ( This band has a great beat throughout, with a percussionist using bongos which complimented the drummer wonderfully. There was only a very small audience to begin with (probably something to do with being half an hour past mid-day on a Sunday and most of Liverpool was still in bed after partying the night before) and Super June seemed to be a bit reticent in her performance for the first song. A few more people wandered in and by the end of the 2nd song, she seemed to relax a bit and produced a great set. They did try to get the audience to sing along with one song, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to sing along to “We love sourkraut” without laughing, even if it was very tongue in cheek! Minty bought their CD at the merchandise table, and loves it. The she headed off to join the Beeb watching the footy.

After the footy (we won’t comment on the result!), we headed back to the Cavern Club and caught a small bit of a band that interested us, Mr Kil, from Glasgow. From what we did see and hear, they sounded good, in a Jeff Buckley guitary kind of way. Unfortunately, their set clashed with another great band, Peter & The Penguins, who were due on at the Cavern Pub.

Peter & The Penguins (, played a different set to the one played the night before, including this time, "You Should Have Seen My Turtle" and "Bumblebee". The Cavern Pub does not always give the best sound and do the bands justice, but the vocals for Peter & The Penguins were spot on. With this band, you know what you are getting and they never fail to deliver a great set, filled with catchy pop tunes that have you tapping your feet. You are guaranteed to have a great time, and if you haven’t seen them, make sure you catch them next year.

Next up, on the Cavern Club’s Front stage was another band we had already seen, but were keen to see again, Honeybug ( This is a small stage to take such a big band, and we don’t mean big as in size (there are 7 members after all), but big as in sound. The harmonies are incredible, with every member contributing. At the start of their set, the vocals were masked a bit by the drums and the keyboard, but John the sound engineer obviously twiddled a few knobs and buttons because by the time they did the Jellyfish cover “That Is Why”, the backing vocals were much, much clearer. The guitarist, Ramage, was once again, excellent and his guitar solo in “Video Killed The Radio Star” was absolutely perfect. Although, having since seen video of him hilariously guitar posturing he may be quite embarressed. Bands are suited to different stages and the Back Stage suited Honeybug better, but that is said, taking nothing away from their solid and poptastic performance today, on the Front Stage.

After a short break for something to eat and drink, we returned to the Cavern Club, Back Stage at 7.30 to catch The Peppermint Apes ( This band, from Basildon, had invited us to be their friends on Myspace a while ago, so we were looking forward to seeing them play live. They must have started a bit early, because when we got to the back stage, they were already in full swing, finishing what we hoped was their 1st number before starting “Miracle to Me”. The tempo slowed down for “You’re Not Alone” (the Beeb really liked this one) and things were rocked up a bit with a new song, “Poor Little Rich Girl”. They have real catchy guitar hooks and we understand they are going to the LA IPO to play there. Good luck guys.

A party of lassies from Scotland sat at the next table so the Beeb, being from Scotland himself, struck up a conversation. Turns out the girls were down to support the next band on, The Sears, who were from Coatbridge, which is the Beeb’s hometown so we stayed to hear them. They are a decent enough band, with the female lead singer being interactive with the crowd. However they are more soul than pop, and by the 3rd number, each song tended to sound just like the last one and they could have done with more of the band providing backing vocals to enhance the sound. They did however have a huge crowd as support which was a big plus.

On the front stage, The Lovedays, from London were taking to the stage. This trio played great blues rock, with a barmy bass player and a charismatic front man who seemed to put their hearts and souls into every song. They had a really deep heavy blues groove with “John The Revelator” and the Beeb really enjoyed this gig. Once again though, not a typical power pop IPO band, but great in their own way.

Paisley & Charlie, a duo, from London and Brighton had been likened (by one of our friends) to Dollar. At the start of their set in the Cavern Pub, the sound was awful with lots of feedback. We could barely hear Paisley’s vocals above the keyboard. Once the feedback had been fixed, we realised that this duo let the side down in terms of live music. It was pure synthesised pop pre-programmed into the keyboard, with Charlie playing the odd additional note or two, and Paisley singing along in a karaoke style. We left after a few bars of the second song.

Back across the street, into the Cavern Club Back Stage, The Foxes were well into their set. This young band had a good sound, and we noticed they had brought their own amps. It would have been nice to have caught their whole set, but from what we heard, we liked this band.

Next up, on the bill were GK & The Renegades, a local band who had started to grow on us as a result of listening to them on Myspace. What a disappointment it was to learn that they were a no show. No other band was slotted in to perform in their place (we assume due to very short notice) but it gave John the sound engineer a chance to break and get some fresh air (being well into a 14 hour shift buried in the depths of the Cavern all day!) and it gave us the chance to sit, relax and be able to talk to one another without having to yell over the loud music. The back stage became a chill out zone for 45 minutes!

Then it was back across the street to the Pub, to catch Jeremy once again. Jeremy ( is your quintessential performer and can cope with any set back. Towards the end of his first number, he pulled the strap off his guitar when jumping from the stage and undeterred, put everything back together and started up again, with “Big House”, sharing the stage with local lass, Susan Hedges, who has a real bluesy soulful voice. After that, it was a different set to the one he played the day before, with “Big House” segued into “Revolution” this time before continuing into “Instant Karma”. A couple of covers followed, again with Susan supporting. Jeremy needed to retune his guitar but unfortunately managed to break a string. Rather than delay any further he called for a guitar to be loaned to him for the rest of his set, which included a surf instrumental piece, with Pipeline and Misserlou.
The audience levels at the IPO can be hit or miss and vary for no apparent reason. During Saturday’s slot on the back stage, the audience was sparse. Tonight, the Pub was full to overflowing which gave Jeremy little room to manoeuvre, so he climbed on the stage railings and played his guitar from there! There is not much else you can say about Jeremy – he over-ran his set but the audience really loved him and it was great to see him again.

The Front Stage at the Cavern Club was hosting a band from London, Automat. This 5 piece was colour co-ordinated in red and black and has a sax player among the ranks. The lead singer looked more like an accountant than a pop singer, but they played some chunky pop, with perhaps a bit of a reggae beat underlying it.

Our final band for the night was the second outing for Smash Palace (, playing on the Cavern Club Front Stage at half past midnight. These guys are GREAT, and included a Badfinger Cover “No Matter What”. Being the second (third if you count the acoustic set in The Grapes) time we caught them, a few of their songs really sank in, especially "She." Stephen Butler was another highlight as far as guitarists at the IPO go. And the new album is a gem. A great way to end the night for us.

International Pop Overthrow Saturday (Day 4)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Saturday (Day 4)
DATE: May 23rd 2009
VENUE: The Grapes, Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: Rocking

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

Today, we started in the Cavern Club, back stage to see a band from Keith in North Scotland, The Chymes ( . Talk about fab harmonies and pure psychedelic pop. There was a bit of The La’s about this band and were well worth seeing.

Then we wandered across Mathew Street to the Grapes pub to see The Grande (, a band we had already seen on Wednesday, this time “unplugged” with just the band’s front man Ben and Melissa. Unplugged you really do hear the strength to Melissa’s voice. We saw the full band play again, this time on the Cavern Front stage, later that afternoon, where they were really at home. The sound was excellent, and with a few friends in the audience, had a great crowd watching them. This is a band to watch.

The small stage in the Grapes was taken over next by Stephen Butler and some of the other band members from Smash Palace (, a band who travelled all the way from the East Coast of the US. For the Grapes, they were able to fill the sound out more, having the benefit of a keyboard with them and their set went down very well, including a Beatles’ number “I’ll Be Back”. Apart from filling the sound out with the keyboard, they also did 3 part harmonies.

The full band played later on, on the Back Stage of the Cavern Club and we managed to catch the 2nd half of their set. They played to quite a large appreciative crowd, and even did “Juliette & Me”, requested by “Dave from Liverpool” in the audience! You can tell this band is experienced and well seasoned – they were tight, knew their songs and can be summed up as US Powerpop at its best. Stephen proved himself to be an excellent guitarist and we resolved to ensure we caught their next slot on the bill so we could see their full set.

Next up for us was Honeybug ( from Edinburgh, filling the back stage in the Cavern Club. With Honeybug, you never quite know what to expect, nor how big the band is going to be. This year they were a 7 piece, including 3 backing vocalists. The guitarist with the band, Ramage is probably the best guitarist at the whole IPO this year. It might have been a computerised guitar but it was used to the best possible effect, and the guy really could play. Ni, the lead man is a dead ringer for a Peter Kay character, with the personality to go with it. Their set was mainly their own excellent material but did also include a fabulous cover of Jellyfish’s “That Is Why” and rounded off their set with a totally awesome version of “Video Killed The Radio Star”. This was maybe the best reaction any band got to any song through the whole IPO. This band was made for the Back Stage.

The evening was just beginning, and next up was a firm IPO favourite (in fact this guy has played at more IPO’s worldwide than any other artist). Jeremy ( loves music and you can see this in everything he plays. You never know how big the audience is going to be at the IPO, as people filter in and out of the stages with no rhyme nor reason and although the audience for this slot was sparse, Jeremy gave his all and even did his trademark, playing the guitar above his head, jumping off stage into the audience, and just being the great showman that he is. His blues song, “Big House” transformed into “Instant Karma” which worked really well. Passionate right to the end, he finished off with a Kinks cover, “You Really Got Me”. This is the strongest vocals we have ever heard from Jeremy, and really enjoyed his show.

We caught part of the set from Radio Days on the Back Stage and they sounded quite good and very Ramones influenced and the lead singer had one of Paul Weller’s old haircuts!. The band was mono chromatic, dressed in black, and all had black and white guitars. We had tried to see this band earlier, at The Beaconsfield and were sorely disappointed with that venue. It seemed to lack discipline (as well as a sound engineer) and we gave up after one song. It seemed to be a different band playing later that evening on the Back Stage!

Next up, The Rutles, oops sorry, The Fore from Kent, on the Front Stage. This band could be the Rutles, with their obsession with the Beatles style, and their short catchy pop tunes. Having two 12 string guitars for most of the set really beefed the sound up. Maybe not the most original band, but worth catching if you just want to listen to easy feel good pop.

On the Back Stage, were a local band, 10 Reasons To Live, where the bass player and the front man were the personalities of the band.

By 11pm, when Peter & The Penguins ( took to the front stage the Cavern Club was heaving, and you couldn’t get anywhere near the front! The sound was tight, the harmonies in place, and the reception from the crowd, fantastic. They played many new songs, but also retained in their set, some old favourites such as “Took Me By Surprise”. Good, solid pop from Scandinavia. Always a great band to see at the IPO.

Our final band for the night was from Sweden, the Mellowmen. The lead, on keyboard was a Rick Wakeman lookalike who was passionate about his playing. He generated so much energy and sweat, we were scared when he touched the mic, for fear he would be electrocuted!! The band put so much into their set and really seemed to enjoy themselves. Our only downside to the gig? It was a constant barrage of rock from start to finish, with no breaks or spaces in the songs for you to catch your breath.

International Pop Overthrow Day 3 (Friday)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Friday (Day 3)
DATE: May 22nd 2009
VENUE: The Grapes, Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
Hectic but still coping

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

Today, we started in the Cavern Club, front stage. We were hoping to see Raymond Meade, ex-Ronelles front man but he was unfortunately not able to make the journey down from Glasgow. The first artist we did see was James Meynell (bass player from Squire), who had a solo slot on the bill. His vocals are not strong and he seemed to struggle to stay in any kind of tune. There was an awful lot of “hum” coming through the amp and the guitars were muddy. In our opinion, James is an acquired taste, like Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, and we did not acquire it!

Next, in the Cavern Pub was a band on our “must see” list – The Fast Camels ( , from Glasgow. These guys jumped straight into a fast and furious set, with great guitars and strong drums, thumping through to deliver their own blend of unique pop rock, finishing with a resounding “Der Nazi Tea.’’ It’s hard to describe Fast Camel’s music. Each song seems to have half a dozen different themes going through it, just like The Beach Boys “Heroes And Villains.” We also caught their 2nd slot later on, at the Cavern Club Back Stage, and although it was 1am and the audience had thinned out, the Fast Camels were just as enthusiastic and gave their all in their performance. Some of the best bands we have seen at the IPO have played these late slots to a minimal crowd, which is a shame. Maybe fewer bands with more reasonable times would be a better approach to increase the quality of the festival?

Next up, this time on the Cavern Club Front Stage, an old IPO favourite from Finland, Ben’s Diapers ( who played a blistering set starting with “Road Songs” and ending with “Loneliness” (we think that was what it was called). This band performs some really great Scandinavian pop harmonies, and we really enjoy seeing them play.

The Dirty Royals were next on the front stage – they are a good honest hard working band who really loved being on stage. They wore military garb but we doubt they were all from the same regiment. Their frenetic energy was awesome. Their final song segued into Ottowan’s “Hands Up” which had some of the audience dancing along.

Junebug ( are another band who appear at every IPO, and their set on the Cavern Club Front stage was more rockier that we have heard them before, slowing down only once, for “Abergele” before picking up the pace once again for a very strong finish to their set.

On the back stage, The Junipers ( were a pleasant surprise. This 5 piece from Leicester included keyboards, which made their sunshiny pop very Zombies influenced. This band plays the type of music you can listen to whilst lazing in your back garden on a hot, sunny day, although at one point we were almost singing “Save All Your Kisses For Me” to one of their songs! Their 2nd slot on the bill, on the Front Stage sounded a bit more psychedelic and it was a real shame that they did not bring any CD’s to sell on the merch table. A really good sunshiny pop band.

Next up, another firm favourite at the IPO, Squire ( . Mod Pop at its finest, with songs such as “My Mind Goes Round In Circles” and “Girl On A Train”. Squire always attracts a large crowd (and seem to have a large entourage as well), who you can imagine have left their scooters at the front door.

Day 3 of IPO seemed to be the day for all of the old favourites, and Kelly’s Heels ( were another band who has appeared at all of the IPOs. They were introduced on stage as “high energy powerpop” and that sums this trio up in a nutshell. They are totally passionate, and are a totally well seasoned band. The vocals from Bob Kelly were spot on (he must be tired of hearing comments about 118 118), and they can boast as having the best drummer at the IPO.

We wandered into the Back Stage and caught the 2nd half of Albert Ross & The Otters’ set. This is usually a 6 piece outfit, stripped down to only 3 members for the IPO, which meant that Albert doubled as the drummer, using only the bass drum as well as playing guitar. The bass guitar was a little too heavy for our liking, and we don’t think guitars should be played sitting down when you are performing at a Powerpop festival! Whether it was because the front stage was setting up for the next act, and people had wandered through to the back (like us) to pass the time, or whether Albert Ross has some fan base, but the audience was actually bigger than average!

Next on the back stage was the band Minty had been really looking forward to hearing, the School ( . In fact, speaking with some friends earlier in the week, all had said they wanted to see this band. The programme described The School as “girl group bubblegum kitsch”. Technical difficulties meant a delayed start as a substitute keyboard was brought in, but once they started, there was no stopping them, as David Bash found out when he tried to jump up near to the end of their set to do the usual MC announcements, and was told (by the school mistress) “get off the stage, we haven’t finished yet”!!! The School are really fantastic, blending harmonies with a violin, handclaps, and pure 60’s style girl group pop. The best band of the day for Minty!

Killing time in between acts we wanted to see, we caught a bit of Andy Lewis, which included a female lead who screamed into the mic for the first song. She seemed to mellow a bit after that, but this was a bit too jazz funk and we went back to the back stage to see The Gurus.

The Gurus are a 3 piece from Barcelona and they were surprisingly harmonious whilst sounding like The Ramones. This was raw energy and powerpop through and through. They also drew in a good crowd.

Karl Morgan & The Click came recommended, and we saw them on the Front stage. I was left wondering if the lead vocalist’s voice has actually ever broken. They had a good sound, but the lead vocals were just a little too high for us!

So, day 3 in summary. Today showed the rich diversity of music on show at the IPO when our two favourite bands were The Fast Camels and The School. Two great bands who sound absolutely worlds apart, the only common thing being great songs.

International Pop Overthrow - Thursday (Day 2)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow Thursday (Day 2)
DATE: May 21st 2009
VENUE: The Grapes, Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: Bongo Beat, Beats All!

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

Our IPO day started at The Grapes pub. The venue is a snug little pub and when we arrived, Peter & Gabi, from the Good Intentions were just over half way through their acoustic set. There is not much to “unplug” from The Good Intentions, and the harmonies worked well in this small, intimate venue.

Next up was Dave Rave ( and Mark McCarron, each with an acoustic guitar, delivering a set which included Peggy Sue, a homage to Liverpool and calling up Simon and Marc from Plastic Heroes, did another rendition of “Hey Anne Marie” (Anne Marie of the song was sitting with us, and her face was a picture). They pulled a rabbit out of the hat as far as we’re concerned when they announced they would do a Brian Wilson song, “Love & Mercy”. Nobody does Brian Wilson songs with acoustic guitars because generally speaking, although sounding very simple to play, Brian Wilson songs can actually be extremely complicated. An extra voice for this song was added to the harmony, when BB accepted Dave Rave’s invitation to join him on the stage. The acappella ending sounded really good (even if we do say so ourselves!). Dave was enjoying himself so much, he lost track of time eating a bit into the time slot for Maximum Ricky.

So Maximum Ricky took to the stage, not the whole electric band, but the lead singer with a Gibson SG guitar but the other band members were in the small audience.

After his short set, Plastic Heroes’ Marc & Simon showed what they could do, totally unplugged. After the full-on rock treatment from last night, the stripped down acoustic set just proved how strong their songs are, and how versatile these guys are too. They really do look like they enjoy playing their music. Dave Rave was invited up and together they did another stonking rendition of “Shake Some Action”. There are no boundaries for Dave Rave, who uses all available space as a stage, even popping out onto Mathew Street at one point! This is what live music is all about – the ability to go with the flow, being on the same wavelength as the other musicians to such a degree that you can pick up a guitar, and start singing without a set list (unless you call a couple of song titles hastily scribbled on the back of an empty guitar string envelope, a set list), performing just off the cuff, and still making it sound brilliant.

We popped into the Cavern Club, to catch The Generous Days ( on the front stage. A 4 piece from Oslo, we were attracted to their My Space site as it was in the yellow & green Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds design. They were a lot more “rocky” than we expected, but we really enjoyed their set. Although the 2nd guitarist provided occasional backing vocals, this was mainly a single vocal band. Usually this set up does not mix with us, as we do like harmonies, however, the lead singer had a strong voice which meant backing vocals were not needed in support at all times. The guys enjoyed themselves on stage, and the 2nd guitarist lost his whammy bar but that did not deter him, and the drummer had red sparkly drumsticks!

We took a short break and retuned to the Cavern Club, this time the back stage, in time to see Zender perform their 2nd slot. We had already caught their first slot last night and had been impressed. This time round, we bought their CD, “Acid Avenue”. It will be interesting to hear this CD with Zender as a full 6 piece set up. This gig, on the back stage was much less intimate than last night’s at the pub, but the sound was much stronger.

Next up on the back stage, was an old favourite of ours, Richard Snow & The In-Laws ( Richard had to pull out of his earlier gig at The Beaconsfield because of electrical problems. Some people take this health and safety too far if you ask me. Whatever happened to giving your life to rock and roll? Imagine how much of an edge it would give to a show if you knew you could be blown to bits any second! Only kidding! As soon as Richard’s Rickenbacker rang out with “Real” we knew we were in for some classic jingle jangle pop songs of the highest calibre. He proved us right when he played a new song “Stop Your Crying,” and “Middle Class Girl” both of which were gloriously harmonic.
The band did a great energetic cover of “Hippy Hippy Shake” and then dedicated a song to IPO ambassador, music lover and all round good guy, the late and much missed Wil Woodrowe. The final song “Girls On The Tube” ended a great set, before Richard went off to find some rubber gloves before his next gig.

Ascona, from Germany were next on the bill, a 4 piece which David Bash described as melodic indie pop. These guys certainly rocked and pulled in a sizeable crowd.

The front stage was our next port of call, for the Bongo Beat / Viper label showcase kicking off with Ralph’s second gig of the IPO ( & Obviously the reaction he got from the first gig, had him hyped up for this one, and right from the start the band and the audience were buzzing. We had a good idea of what to expect, having seen Ralph perform the night before and our expectations were met and exceeded, with the backing from Dave Rave, Plastic Heroes and Mark McCarron. It is really great to watch live music like this and even better when the artists really enjoy what they do. This was the second time we had heard “Billy Fury, Billy Fury,” and we were singing along with the chorus.

Once Ralph’s set had finished, we took the opportunity to dash to the Cavern Pub to catch the last 20 minutes or so of the last appearance (this year anyway) of The Breakdowns (, a great band from Nottingham. The lead singer, who had a lovely Ibanez guitar, had a Phil Oakey type haircut (half short, half long) and looked a bit like Wayne Hussey from The Mission. He had a slightly gravelly voice which carried off his songs just fine, and the band’s slower number “Don’t Go” sounded really great. Their finale was a song very much influenced by “Roll Over Beethoven”, and the quite large audience in the Pub seemed really appreciative of them. We certainly liked them.

As The Breakdowns unplugged their equipment, we made the dash back across Mathew Street, and back into the Cavern Club for the continuation of the Bongo Beat party on the Front Stage. Up first, Plastic Heroes (, with a slightly altered set from the night before, but just as terrific, oozing energy and really giving the audience a treat. Towards the end of their set, they called Dave Rave to join them and we were treated to another superb rendition of “Hey Anne Marie”. They finished with “15 Years” to rapturous applause. Another fantastic set from a fantastic band. These guys are well worth seeing again and again.

The finale was lead by Dave Rave, the consummate performer, where the edge of a stage is never a boundary. This man’s sense of fun is infectious, and encourages full audience participation. “I Saw Her Standing There” was a rousing performance sung by a member of the audience while Dave rounded up the girls to dance on stage. “Shake Some Action” sounded as fresh as it did the first time we heard it, and the final, final song, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” from the Blues Brothers movie was nothing short of splendid, with everybody, including Ralph and Mike Badger (from Viper label) on stage and with BB helping out on vocals again.

The Bongo Beat showcase can be described amply with 2 words, PARTY and FUN. These guys join together to play on each other’s sets, and find the energy and enthusiasm to give it their all every time. So a huge thanks to the guys on Bongo Beat for two nights of confirming what good time rocking live music is all about. Good luck with the gigs in Birmingham, London and Paris, and thanks for embracing us as friends in the Cavern.

International Pop Overthrow (Day 1)

GIG: International Pop Overthrow (Wednesday – Day 1)
DATE: May 20th 2009
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: it’s all FREE
RATING: A quiet start, rave ending

Disclaimer – there are over 170 bands appearing at the IPO this year, ranging from a single performer with acoustic guitar to full on heavy rock bands. Whilst we cannot see all of the bands appearing this year, our blog is our personal opinion of the bands we do see. We cannot be expected to enjoy all of the bands we see - ones that we think are great, others may think are not so great, and vice versa.

The IPO kicked off at 3.45pm in the Cavern Pub with a band announced by David Bash, as being from all over the UK – The Understudies (, are a 4 piece with roots from Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, described in the programme as “dreamy indie pop fuzz”. This band had caught our eye on MySpace, not just for their music but for their great profile picture. They kicked off with “Chip Pan Glam”, a song reminiscent of 70’s T-Rex style glam guitar and worked through their set list, which also included one of our favourites from their Myspace page, “Grousebeat” which starts with a “Be My Baby” style intro. Bree, the girl playing keyboards (and glockenspiel and tambourine) really complements Brian’s lead vocals. Technical hitches were seen mid way into their set when the Bass amp blew, and while Ben, the sound engineer ran off to seek a replacement from the Club, The Understudies continued with no bass player for one song. The replacement amp arrived, and the group were back on track. Being the first band on, the audience was not huge, but they were appreciative.

The Understudies’ second slot on the IPO bill was later in the evening, taking control of the Back Stage at the Cavern Club. This time, there were no technical hitches, and the sound was much better. The audience was a bit bigger than that at the pub and were just as appreciative, even calling for an encore, which was taken up with a slower number (the only extra one they had rehearsed, apparently), “If I Come To You” which would not have sounded out of place alongside the Joe Meek production “Please Stay”. BB spoke with the band afterwards and they seemed to have enjoyed their day out in Liverpool.

The first act on the Cavern Club front stage, was Richard Brooke from Leeds, a one man outfit, (just him and a guitar), who seemed to shout the lyrics (maybe to cover his nerves?).

Following Richard Brooke, David Lloyd (of The Suns) took to the front stage. The Suns are a Liverpool group who have appeared at the IPO on previous occasions. This time, it was just David and an acoustic guitar. Whilst he is obviously much more stage crafted than the previous act, there is only so much he can do with an acoustic guitar.

Back across to the Cavern Pub, and next up The Grande (, another Liverpool act, and one who had also caught our eye on Myspace. The girl in the band, Melissa certainly caught BB’s eye, and it turned out she was not just “eye candy” - she could sing as well! The last song in their set, was the best, and was a great finisher… “Don’t Let me Down”, with a tribal drum beat, and based on an old blues song, “Spoonful”. This band was certainly worth seeing, and they have another 2 slots on the IPO bill on Saturday so we hope to catch this band again.

Next up at the Pub was a Belgium band, Zender ( Usually a six piece (including drums and keyboard), this performance was only a bassist and the lead vocalist/guitarist. Nonetheless, the energy and enthusiasm shone out and their set was very enjoyable, and well worth seeing.

Another European act followed, Racoon, from The Netherlands. The singer introduced the band and said he didn’t care if the audience liked them or not…….he also said their set was “stripped down” for the pub, promising a heavier set in the Cavern Club later. However, their “stripped down” sounded exactly like their Myspace music, and we did not make the effort to see their 2nd slot!

Later in the evening, we were back in the Pub, watching The Good Intentions (, a band well suited to the Pub, playing basic country / folk /railroad songs, singing of Poor Boys and Cowgirls with the blues. The lead singer was wearing a Nudie style shirt to suit the style of music. Their set included a tribute song to Jimmie Rogers, which was missing a yodel or two, but very pleasant nonetheless. We wonder if this band has ever appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival?

We stayed in the Pub for the rest of the night, for the Bongo Beat Party. Bongo Beat is a record label, based in Canada, and the owner Ralph was first on stage. Ralph is a true entrepreneur, signing bands that are willing to let him sing! Seriously though, Ralph’s enjoyment of performing was obvious to the audience, and his set included a tribute to Billy Fury (aptly called “Billy Fury Billy Fury”), which was a rocked up version of “On The Road Again”. This gig was FUN.

Next up for Bongo Beat was The Plastic Heroes (, a 3 piece who had backed Ralph. These guys are young, energetic and look and sound just like Pop Stars should. We have never seen a bass player enjoy himself so much (also looked like Brian Jones), the drums were strong (played by a young Ray Winstone lookalike) and the main vocalist, Marc was pure rock star chic. We had looked forward to seeing the Plastic Heroes and we were not disappointed.

The Bongo Beat Party continued, although a bit more subdued, with Mike Badger, a local Liverpudlian. The sound was not great, as the Burns guitar sounded quite muddy.

The party reached its crescendo with Dave Rave (, a Canadian who is a complete nutter (in the nicest sense of the word), and a modern day Freddie Garitty lookalike. Dave Rave oozes infectious enthusiasm throughout his performance. The small stage had Dave, The Plastic Heroes and a 3rd guitarist which obviously constrained Dave somewhat, but he gave up and used the whole pub floor as his stage. This set ROCKED, with “Shake Some Action” and “Rock The Party”. A new song was performed, one that was written on the journey up to Liverpool, “Hey Anne Marie” a tribute to IPO regular Anne-Marie! At some stage, Simon, the bass player was enjoying himself so much, he lost a string (never seen that happen to a bass player before!). Some of the set appeared to be ad-libbed and this added an extra edge to the whole show.

We can’t wait to see The Bongo Beat Party again, on Thursday night – this time on the Cavern Club front stage, before they leave Liverpool to do a mini tour around the UK and Europe.

So, a fairly quiet start to the IPO, in terms of the mix of bands / artists, but finished off on a real, suitably entitled “Rave”.

And the blog wouldn’t be a blog without mention of the loos! Only the Pub loos were sampled on this night, and although never renowned for their luxury, on this occasion were clean(ish) and fully stocked!