Paul Bevoir & The Family Way
The Fast Camels
Honeybug (off stage)
The Beat Rats
The Heath Robinson Five
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)
RATING: 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 (www.myspace.com/theaceuk). 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 (www.myspace.com/colajetset). 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 (www.myspace.com/paulbevoirmusic) 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 (www.myspace.com/thefastcamels). 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 (http://www.themodulaters.com/) 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 (www.myspace.com/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 (www.myspace.com/beatrats) 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".