Cavern Pub and Club.
Mathew Street, Liverpool
Wednesday 18th May 2017
Bands seen today: 8
Alice & The Lovers, Huxley Rittman & the Rusty Hitmen, The Armoires (2nd gig), Spygenius, The Cherry Bluestorms (2nd gig), Plastic Soul (2nd gig), Brave New World, Modigliani
The International Pop Overthrow is in its 15th year in Liverpool, with around 140 bands playing throughout the 8 days. We see as many bands as we can, some we like, some we love........ others not so much. This is a personal review of each day and even though some bands may not have been our cup of tea (we can’t like them all!), they are still worth checking out for yourself. Have fun, that’s what music is all about.
|Alice & The Lovers|
Bluesy jazz was on the menu as Alice & The Lovers performed in the Cavern Pub. The name is maybe a bit misleading as this is a duo with guitar and bass.
The pub was unusually busy and even more unusual was the respectful audience, who were quite quiet during this performance. Alice has a very strong and rich voice, with a good vocal range without being squawky like Adele or Alanis Morrisette.
With supplementary vocals from the guitarist, this duo were really very good. They went down really well with the Pub audience.
The place rocked a bit when Huxley Rittman & The Rusty Hitmen took to the stage. A little bit of Green Day influence, with melody and a good balance of guitar / vocal, this foursome from Boston USA are part of the Big Stir tour and we had already seen three members of the band on stage supporting the other US bands. Their set of original material was interrupted with one cover – a pretty good take on “Funky Town” which went down very well.
|Huxley Rittman & The Rusty Hitmen|
The Armoires were performing their second gig on the Back Stage tonight so it was another chance to see this West Coast band. If you close your eyes, you are not in the Cavern Club, but by the coast, with the sun beating down on your back and the coastal breeze ruffling your hair as the jingle jangle of the Rickenbacker, tinkling of the keyboard and the sweet voices of Christina and Rex swim over you. The more we see this band the more we love them, and they seem to be right at home in the Cavern this year.
|Pete from Spygenius|
Spygenius are firm favourites at the IPO, having seen them play for a number of years. As always, the set is varied, with songs from way back when, to more recent times. Tonight the set included a couple of songs from their first album, and the two tracks included on the "Big Stir" compilation CD.
This is outstanding guitar and keyboard based pop with harmonies and clever wordplay (as excellently described in the programme). The guitar sound is from a rather nice Italia's which really give that striking psychedelia buzz, and the vocal harmony really came through the mix tonight.
It was also the second gig of the IPO for the LA band The Cherry Bluestorms. Deborah gracefully did some psychedelic dancing whilst playing her large tambourine during what for us was a really strong performance. The sound was spot on, with cleaner vocals coming through and less guitar fuzz than we heard the night before. Tonight the Rickenbacker got more airplay, and this really did bump up the jingle jangle synonymous with Psychedelic powerpop. You can tell from their performances that this is a tight band, they know their songs, they are polished performers and take themselves seriously. They really suited the Back Stage.
|Deborah from the Cherry Bluestorms|
|Steve Wilson in full flow - Plastic Soul|
Today was the day for lapping up the American talent as we also saw the second gig from Plastic Soul. This time, Steve Wilson was in charge of the Front Stage, with the low ceiling and arch always associated with the stage The Beatles played on.
Plastic Soul really do epitomise the US powerpop sound with short, sharp songs, plenty of guitar and a great beat. Those who are going along to any Big Stir gigs on the UK and Ireland Tour are in for a treat.
|Brave New World|
We stayed with the Front Stage purely to retain the stools we have managed to commandeer, and caught a set from Brave New World. They started the set quite poorly, with what sounded like an out of tune guitar. After a couple of numbers that guitar was replaced and they seemed to improve. It is hard to say what sound they have as it was quite varied, but they did end their set with a song that can be best described (thanks to Kerri) as real psychedelic and very trippy.
Our last band for the night was worth waiting for. We had a feeling during our IPO research that this would be one of the nuggets and we were right. Modigliani, from Italy had a fair number of friends in the audience to support them. Not that they needed to bring home-grown support - the crowd in the Front Stage were right with them all the way through. The stand out song for us was "Paul McCartney", which had such a full sound with lots of harmony and backing vocals and had the crowd singing along to the chorus. It was also the only song we had heard before the IPO, so we had not expected the band to have a female as the prominent lead singer. She was really good. We would describe Modigliani as "infectious pop". Their set included two Beatles covers, and the girl lead singer really shone out with these. Nice one guys. Loved it.
|The Beeb meets two from Modigliani|
One thing we love about the IPO is the friendships that get formed and how years of absence mean nothing. Tonight, Ben's Diapers were in the house (they play tomorrow) and it was great to see Mikka, the drummer (and the main spokesman for the band) after what must be six or seven years.
|The Beeb with Mikka from Ben's Diapers|
So night number 2 has ended. Roll on no 3, we are ready for you!