GIG: International Pop Overthrow – Day 2
DATE:: Wednesday 16th May 2012
VENUE: The Cavern Pub & Cavern Club (Front Stage and Live Lounge)
COST: All free

The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 150 artists, across 5 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles form folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!!
During our time at the festival, we can’t see every artist / band, but we do aim to see as many as we can. Some of the bands / artists just aren’t our cup of tea, some are good and some are just pure nuggets and our blog is a personal account of what we thought of each day, highlights and lowlights included.

Day Two kicked off  in the Cavern Club Live Lounge with an act we had not intended to catch. From the blurb in the programme, We Are Alien ( did not grab our attention but how different they were in real life!!! Expecting a folky/acoustic mum and daughter act, what we saw was a rock duo with enough punch and kick to orbit the Earth twice over!!!
We Are Alien

Mum on drums and a very confident daughter rocking her heart out on vocals and guitar, having the time of her life on stage. She had a lot of charisma on stage and you not help but to like her. All those hours practicing her rock chick poses in front of the bedroom mirror paid off. Joking aside, she's as natural a performer as we've ever seen at the IPO. After a real rocking time, they ended on a slow number which we felt was better placed elsewhere in the set, and they should have finished on what was actually the penultimate song – that would have left a great impression on the audience. That said, it was a great start to Day Two.

Fun Of the Pier
Next up, acoustic duo Fun Of The Pier, (!/funofthepier) delivering some bright, breezy summery pop, singing of fun and being happy. The audience at this time of the afternoon was not huge, but they did clap loudly. This was the second year Fun Of The Pier has graced the IPO stage, and their confidence has grown immensely. Their set also included a song we empathised with totally – about people who rudely talk while bands play, and a great breezy cover of “Everybody’s Talking”. Nice set guys.

Taking the opportunity to grab a Starbucks, we got back to the Live Lounge just in time to catch Lincoln five-piece Postcards From Places That Don’t Exist (!/pages/Postcards-from-places-that-dont-exist/142090075852986) They kicked off with a really rocking number and kept that pace up for their whole set. As each song ended, the applause seemed to be louder and louder.
Postcards From Places that Don't Exist

James is an excellent front man for the band, he had a good voice which at times sounded a bit like Lennon’s, and terrific backing vocals were delivered by the bass guitarist and drummer. It’s hard to describe their style – a bit Beatles influenced, a tad of the Searchers about them but in reality they have their own style which really rocked the back stage. Their set included three covers which reduced the amount of their own material showcased, but still it was a great thirty minute set, and their cover of "Stand By Me" was really, rather good.

The Grande

Across to the Cavern Pub and The Grande were setting up, sans Melissa and the lap steel guitar for this set. This is a well-established band, who have played the IPOs for as long as we can remember. Their set today was one of good solid country rock, including some numbers we recognise from previous IPOs and a cover from The Band in memory of Levon Helm. The pub was fairly packed and reacted well to this band. For their second slot, later in the week they have promised the full band line up, including Melissa on vocals and the lap steel guitar.

Ashbury Keys
Next up at the pub was our second opportunity to see Houston band Ashbury Keys ( Once again we saw a really energetic set of fantastic power pop music and the stand out song for us was “Hero”. The vocals were strong throughout the set (although a bit drowned out as the guitars were turned up for the last 2 songs), the guitar playing rocked, and the drums really banged out a great beat. They seemed really at home playing in Liverpool over the last couple of days and we are glad we caught them. We managed to listen to their EP in the hotel and it was great too.

Back across at the Cavern Club, front stage and Postcards from Places that Don’t Exist were back on the bill. Same set as earlier in the day and good to see it a second time.

Midnight Playground, on stage in the Cavern Pub was a gap-filler for us. A young local band, vocals completely drowned out by the guitars and the drum summed them up. We didn’t stay long!

We Are Alien
So, back to the Front Stage of the Club and we caught, once again, We Are Alien. You could see how excited they were at being on the front stage, and the daughter really engaged with the audience who really seemed to love the set. Her confidence seemed to have increased, being much more comfortable with the slower numbers, and they certainly rocked!

Next up, a four-piece from London, The Reflections (!/pages/The-Reflections/194146040595598). These had a great 60’s vibe. The drummer was brilliant, with shadows of Hal Blaine throughout. The lead guitarist was a bit like Johnny Marr using gear from the Ventures! He had a great surf twang and reverb all through the set. The lead singer was expressive, and the backing vocals were so full, it was like all of the band were singing, but only two of them had mics. A highlight in their set was a song (we think was called)  “Last Exit To Brooklyn”. This was a very tight band, totally together and they stormed through their set with no interruptions. We liked them a lot, and took advantage of the fact they were giving their EP away as a freebie.

The Reflections

Norman Kelsey
Norman Kelsey ( who had made the journey all the way from Los Angeles, was the next act up on the front stage. He is very soulful, just him and an acoustic guitar, and when he sang falsetto, there were hints of Prince and Smokey Robinson influences. He obviously loves sharing his music with everyone, but sometimes it was a battle over the audience background noise, a common conflict for acoustic performers at that time of night as the club starts to fill up. Norman was very engaging with his audience, and gave us an unplugged version of his newest single, "Your Majestic Rejection" which also sounds great,  and it was another couple of CDs in the bag for us.

The Merrylees
Through to the Live Lounge (Back Stage) and Edinburgh band The Merrylees were starting their psychedelic country & western set. Immediately we could see a bit of the Fast Camels about them  - the Gretsch guitars and the changing rhythm and tempo in the middle of songs were the give away here! We enjoyed their set but it was the Gretsch guitars that really made the sound for this band. Their final song was "Ghost Riders In the Sky" which was a great finish and left the audience cheering for more!

The Hacienda
Back to the front stage for our last band of the night, from Italy, The Hacienda. The front stage audience was filled with Italians, patiently waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the band to set up! Once the band got going, they got going…… at a frenetic pace, hardly stopping for breath as they powered through their set. The guitars drowned out any sound from the keyboard, and this was fast paced Italian pop!.

Exhausted, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.
So ended night number two.

The Stats
Total number of bands seen today = 10
Number of bands seen more than once today = 2

Total number of bands seen = 21
Number of bands seen more than once during the IPO = 4

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