GIG: International Pop Overthrow Liverpool – Day 4 (Friday)
DATE: Friday 17th May 2013
VENUE: Cavern Pub & Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool
COST: It’s all free (£4 charge on the door to get into the Cavern from 8pm though)
OUR VERDICT: Ratted Again!

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.

Things ramp up from Day no.4, with the bands starting at mid-day and going through until 2am!

First on our schedule was Swedish band The Plastic Pals. Just the name itself interested us so we made sure we were at the front stage to see them start. We stayed only for about half of their set though before we headed over to see what was going on in the pub. They were not a bad band, just that there was nothing really stand out about them.

Norman Kelsey had an extra slot and he was accompanied by Adam Marsland. The combination of these two was pretty much the same as Wednesday, with “Our Love Is Known” sounding really lush. There were a couple of surprises in the set as improvisation took over, and we got a great acoustic version of the recent Daft Punk number 1, “Get Lucky”. That had a bit of a “wow” factor about it. The second surprise was when The Beeb asked for “Airport Kisses” a song from Norman’s latest album, and he got it! No rehearsal or practice……. This is what sets some performers apart from anyone else….. those who know their material and can play it on spec.
Norman Kelsey and Adam Marsland
 It was acoustic all the way as the next band, Warm Morning, from Italy delighted us With two acoustic guitars and a nice bass line, we were pleasantly surprised as it was so refreshing. Nice harmonies.

Warm Morning

Adam Marsland on the Front Stage
We headed back to the Front Stage and saw Adam Marsland entertain the Friday lunchtime crowd with a set similar to the one he had performed the day before. A lot of the audience at this time of day is just passing through as part of the Beatles tours so Adam did have to contend with the general chit chat of people who were not there solely for the music. However, the noise level did recede while he did “No-one Will Hear This Song” and there was a bit of audience participation on his tribute to “Power Pop Days” although Adam wasn’t too impressed with the standard from us!

Just a short time later, Adam was back up on stage, this time the Live Lounge as he covered an extra slot. The sound in the lounge was very good and although the audience was not massive, they were appreciative and very respectful during the quieter numbers.

The next couple of hours were really manic, dashing between bands. Over in the Pub, we unfortunately missed the first bit of the set from Kelly’s Heels. This is a fantastic trio from London who are real masters of a powerpop tune or two, or three or four…….. Although they play the IPO every year, we haven’t managed to catch them over the last couple of years so it was great to have the opportunity to finally see them this time around. Their sound is textbook powerpop, crunchy guitar, great bass, a fantastic solid drumbeat and catchy, foot tapping songs. There was a sizeable crowd in the pub who seemed to enjoy it all.

Kelly's Heels

The Breakdowns

The Breakdowns followed, with an acoustic set, consisting of two guitars and the lead vocalist from the band. For the first few minutes, there was an awful echo on the lead microphone and the backing vocals were inaudible. The sound engineer lifted the backing vocals and fixed the echo but the whole sound was quite muddy. That was a shame as this could have been quite a good set. We had to leave after four songs anyhow, in order to dash back to the Club where Honeybug were due on stage in the Live Lounge.

Honeybug, from Edinburgh, are another band who appear most years, and each time you are never really sure what you will get. The set-up we have seen has ranged from a full band with lush harmonies provided by a group of backing singers, to the main man (Ni), a keyboard and harmonies provided by Laura and Erin. This year, we got a three piece, plugged in...a keyboard, guitar and drums. The sound on the back stage was not mixed right, with the drums and keyboard drowning out most of the vocals which was a shame as Ni does have a lovely voice. The quality song-writing was obvious.
The Popdogs made their debut in the Cavern Pub at this year’s IPO and we can’t actually believe this was their first gig, they were that good. Lead vocalist James Styring is no stranger to the IPO having performed with Postcards Form Places That Don’t Exist in the past but since we last saw him, has undergone some sort of transformation, looking fitter and younger than we have ever seen him. The Beeb wants a taste of the Lincolnshire water! They powered through a truly fantastic set, promoting their CD “Cool Cats For Pop Dogs” which is powerpop brilliance (see our review in our spin it or bin it blog - ). It was a tight, fast paced set, and the audience lapped up every song. this set was a genuine crowd pleaser. Nice one guys.

The PopDogs

At this point, we took a break from the IPO as we had tickets to see The Katmen in Erics and returned to The Cavern as the last thirty minutes of Friday night ticked by.

Kelly's Heels on the Front Stage

As we returned to the Cavern Club, the Front stage was being absolutely rocked by Kelly’s Heels, of that there is no doubt. The place was heaving, as they played their usual blinder of a set at their typical fast pace, going seamlessly through their set list. These guys have worked together for a long time and are just so tight. Think fast, crunchy guitar, deep bass and a strong and rolling drumbeat and that’s Kelly’s Heels. It is always great to see and hear them play live.


Next up was Wales combo, Junebug, another band who play every IPO but which we have not really been able to catch over the last couple of years. They play fast paced, punchy pop songs too, so playing after Kelly’s Heels was a great fit as the momentum kept going. We could hardly get near the stage due to the throng of people in front of us!

Our final band for the night was The Beat Rats. Still wearing their black leather gear, they commanded the Live Lounge, kicking off with their “Beat Rats Theme” which got people to their feet immediately and the front of the stage became a dance floor for the next thirty minutes. It didn’t matter if the twirls and the swings of the audience who seemed to be jiving for the first time ever, were mis-timed or un-coordinated – EVERYONE was having oodles of fun. Feeling the heat, bassist, Tony, shredded his black leather jacket to reveal a black and white dotted shirt which earned a bit of ribbing from the rest of the band with a cry of “turn off that shirt” from lead man Frank Max! Their set included the great “Ever Since You Went Away” which is from their new album “Have Mersey” and is becoming a firm favourite of Minty’s. We make no apologies for gushing about this band. We absolutely love them, we love their music, we love their gigs.

Our only gripe is that their record label is Cavern Records yet they had absolutely NO promotion from this label during their short stay in Liverpool this year. Had CDs of “Have Mersey” been available they would have been flying off the merch table.

The Beat Rats

No of bands seen today = 9
No of bands seen more than once today = 2
No of different bands seen so far = 33
Total No of bands seen more than once = 10

Top band today...Might have to stop this bit of the blog...too difficult to pick ONE
Performance of the day... The Pop Dogs in the Pub v The Beat Rats Back Stage - too close to call.

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