GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 3 (Thurs)
DATE: Thursday 15th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: It’s all free
OUR VERDICT: We got Ratted!

This is blog is intended to be a way for us to capture our personal memories from all the gigs we go to see. The International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool hosts over 130 artists, across 3 stages, ranging from solo acts with an acoustic guitar to full on rock bands covering different music styles from folk, pop, rock and everything in between!!!! Whilst we can’t see every artist / band, we try to catch as many as we can. Some we like, some we love, some are pure nuggets and some are just not our cup of tea. This is just our personal opinion of the acts we see through the IPO festival, highlights and lowlights included. If there’s a band we are not fond of, do still check them out as tastes differ and you could have a different opinion from us.

We are into Day 3 now, and our schedule for band watching today is very hectic. Kick starting our day in the Cavern Pub was Adam Marsland, all the way from Reseda, California. His set started with two upbeat, rocky numbers, one of which he told us morphed from his time with The Standells. The next song was from his new CD (so new it is not officially released yet!) “No-one’s Gonna Hear This Song” which is a lovely quiet song. Well, everyone in the pub did hear this song and for the first time ever, the entire pub was completely hushed. All you could hear aside from Adam’s vocals and acoustic guitar was the door creaking whenever anyone walked in! His set also included a song called “Portland” which has traces of Brian Wilson. There was a richness to his songs that stilled the Pub and got everyone’s attention. Nice one Adam.

Adam Marsland
The next act was billed as Kevin McGowan but it was in fact Kevin and another guy, collectively called Coloured Dreams. They arrived late so the Pub was then running fifteen minutes late. They still played their full slot and they were not a bad combination and with two acoustic guitars, they were a bit like Neil and Tim from Crowded House.

Norman Kelsey with Adam Marsland
Another acoustic performance followed: this time, Norman Kelsey from California. Adam Marsland joined him on stage, playing a bit of keyboard and guitar alongside, and also providing some supporting backing vocals. Norman has a very soulful voice, with hints of Prince. Together, he and Adam did a ballad “Our Love Is Known By Name” which sounded absolutely gorgeous, along with other tracks from Norman’s latest album On The Rebound, which was actually produced by Adam.

Staying in the Pub, Spygenius were up next. Peter the lead singer joked that having listened to a band yesterday he realised that the audience can’t actually understand the vocals so he encouraged everyone to buy a CD so they could understand them! By the second song, the sound engineer had taken that comment on board and twiddled his sound board so that the vocals were a bit cleaner! Anyhow, as ever, Spygenius didn’t disappoint with a great set of fast paced songs with the backing vocals blending in perfectly. Their song “California”, although about growing up in South London has loads of ba ba ba bahs and aaahhs you could be on the U.S. West Coast instead! We heard some new songs today, “I Want That Girl” had an interesting double drum beat, with a reducing volume and a four beat bass almost giving the song menacing overtones! Sounded great though. It was good to see the drummer from another band who was in the audience, singing along to every word throughout the set.

Next on the cards for us was the Live Lounge in the Cavern Club, and a chance to see more from Boomin’. They were full pelt into their first number when we got there. This band lapped up the back stage, their personalities really oozing through every chord and drum beat. Their song “Kill the DJ” had a great tag in it, singing “live music all the way”. This would make a great single, although they might not get much airplay with that title!. The bass player is definitely the joker of the band with his stage antics. Today, the drummer had a chance to shine, and prove that drummers can sing, after he emerged from behind the drum kit to sing a lovely rock ballad. We would have bought their CD but at a tenner a pop, we felt it was a bit over-priced in the IPO world.
Surf School Dropouts
The Front Stage was running about half an hour late so we were able to catch the full set from Denmark’s Surf School Drop Outs. The sound engineer had his work cut out, as there were eight of them on stage!! We found out later that this was their first ever gig, and we were gob-smacked. They harmonised so well they are in the same league as The Fendertones and Explorers Club and would give Brian Wilson’s backing band a run for their money! The lead vocals were shared between the guitarist, who played a 12 string Danelectro for most of the time, and the keyboard player, who also had a nice falsetto. Their songs are so influenced by the West Coast harmonies of The Beach Boys and David Bash spent most of the time at the front of the stage letting their sound just wash over him.

Spygenius did their second slot next, and we heard a different set than they had played earlier. Their theme from a film that has never been made was really atmospheric with the keyboard and harmony vocals, and they also did what is a bit of a signature tune for them, “Surf” with pounding drums, great lead guitar. Peter the lead vocalist had a Blue Meanie dangling from his guitar which trotted and danced across the keyboard from time to time as the neck of the guitar encroached into the keyboard space in the cramped stage! Not only is this band good musically, but the songs are cleverly written too……. Anyone who says the fundamentals of life are fat men and hairy women deserves to be listened to! Another great set from a band we have seen a number of times and always love to see. We’ll be catching them again at the London IPO.
Spygenius play their 2nd set
Staying at the front Stage, Liverpool band The Suns were up next and this was the chance to hear their set without the vocals being drowned out. Lead man David Lloyd has a great voice and it shouldn’t be hidden underneath the crunchy guitar. The sound was much better today, and “Soul Desert” was a real stand-out song. You could feel the heat of despair. We also noticed the drummer was rather cleverly and to good effect, playing a box of Tic Tacs for added percussion! The set finished really strongly with the title track from their new EP “Demons” which has a brilliant tribal drum beat and the crowd absolutely loved it. Glad we caught this set.

The Suns
We caught a bit of the set from The Most, a band from Sweden we had seen last night. Their songs are short, sharp and pure beat pop. Their set is really good, and we succumbed and bought their new CD which they launched at the IPO.
The Most
Into the Live Lounge and Kontiki Suite, a five piece from Carlisle were just starting. Their material was good but did seem to miss the occasional backing vocal as only one of the band sings, and we thought they could have engaged with the audience a bit more in terms of introducing themselves and their songs. That aside, they did play a really good set - their sound being quite southern California-ish and laid back, and had a nice feel to it - it was a good half hour spent. One highlight was a slightly slowed down version of “Runaway”which worked really well. We bought their CD (which incidentally had lovely artwork on the cover) so will give that a spin. Later on in the night we were to find out that the singer was very amiable, and we reckon  he's an artist who is actually quite shy on stage.
Kontiki Suite
The Ace
If The Ace were a wood preserver, they would do exactly what it says on the tin….. they are ACE! This is a trio (Daz on drums, Jonny on guitar and Nige on bass) from Leeds who wear paisley shirts and have 60’s mod beat down to a tee - their songs are brilliant foot stompers. They had just finished their first slot in the Pub before starting up on the front stage where we saw them, and we have no idea where their drummer gets his energy from to complete a second slot so soon! He is a brilliant drummer and completely wild and mad when he plays. They played a real blinder of a set, and in particular “Oh Yeah” went down a storm - it’s a great mod beat, you just can’t beat. They describe themselves on their Facebook page as “Sugar Shaking Poptastic Mayhem Straight Outta The Garage” and that hits it right on the head. Half an hour playing time was just way too short, but we are really pleased we had the opportunity to catch them this year.

The Ace after their set

The Reflections were next up for us, on the Live Lounge stage. We feel the band has had a bit of a re-invention since they played the IPO last year – they were a bit more psychedelic and the lead guy was playing a keyboard (versus guitar last year). They sounded really good, had a good stage presence and we particularly liked their closing number “No Way To Turn Around”.

The Reflections

The Beat Rats
The it was time to get ratted. All the way from New York, the four black leather clad Beat Rats just rocked the front stage. If a band was moulded to perform here, it is The Beat Rats. From the first chord, the floor in front of the stage was filled with bodies just dancing non-stop for the whole set. Even David Bash got into the groove. They played a blistering set which included some old favourites such as “Mine All Mine” which was dedicated to Jay and Emily who had travelled across from Boston and were big Rats fans, to songs from their latest album “Have Mersey”, such as “Nyah Nyah Nyah” and “I Can’t Wait”. The place was absolutely thumping as the Rats beat out their Mersey beat meets the Ramones tunes. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant show.

The closest we could get to the stage!


No of bands seen today = 12
No of bands seen more than once today = 1
No of different bands seen so far = 26
Total No of bands seen more than once = 4

Top band today...The Beat Rats and Spygenius can fight it out!
Performance of the day... The Beat Rats on the Front Stage

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