Monday, 19 May 2014

Sons of Jet - International Pop Overthrow - Cavern Pub and Club (Front)

Sons of JetI'd been waiting to see these chaps ever since James has dropped me a line to say they would playing at the event this year, and even more so after hearing the single (which they were giving away free at the gigs)

They did not disappoint. The songs are all immediately catchy with strong, distinctive vocals and a superb guitar sound reminiscent of early 60s instrumental groups.
Sons of Jet
I already love the tracks on the single and I hope the other songs they performed become available soon.

For me the highlights were We Cut Our Hair (dedicated to Stu Sutcliffe and the early Beatles Hamburg days), Broken Record (from the single) and the rather nifty cover of When Will I Be Loved featuring my good friend and IPO buddy Brian Barry (of Minty and The Beeb blog fame) on harmonica.

The Pub set was so entertaining that I didn't leave afterwards as planned, I popped across the road to the Club to catch the second set and enjoy it all over again!


More videos - 

Two Weeks Running - International Pop Overthrow - Cavern Pub and Club (Front)

Two Weeks RunningThis band from Bolton provided a fine example of what a difference a venue makes. In the Pub their set seemed noisy and the vocals were lost in the brick wall of sound issuing from the stage. You could hear that there were some tunes trying to break free but the sheer volume just stopped them getting out there. Over in the Club they sounded like a different band, the powerful guitar riffs finally escaped, filled the space and the set felt far more energetic and vibrant.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool t-shirts

Every year at International Pop Overthrow Liverpool there is an exclusive event T-shirt. They are only for sale at the IPO merchandise stall in the Cavern Club and when they are gone, they are gone.

This year's design is especially cool, and it's the first one in colour too. The back print features all the bands that are playing at the festival.

There are a snip at £10 each and only available at the event.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mark Ell Band - International Pop Overthrow Liverpool - Cavern Club (Front)

Mark Ell BandI was only nipping into the Cavern Club this evening to purchase my IPO Liverpool tshirt, but a friend on facebook who I have known for several years (more than I'm willing to count since I used babysit her and her brother when I was at school) mentioned this band today so I stuck around for a couple of numbers before I had to leave.
The opener Barmy Army (?) was pretty catchy and the next one sounded good too, so this will be another group that I'll be looking into once the event is over and I can catch my breath!

It was an early dart for me today after a long and unusual day in work. But please remember to check out Minty And The Beeb Go Gigging for more posts about the event!

Split Sofa - International Pop Overthrow Liverpool - Cavern Pub

Split SofaI went to see these guys on a whim and I glad I did. I enjoyed the set especially the ringing guitar sounds that were very reminiscent of some of the west coast 60s stuff I was over indulging in not so long ago. There was a nice bit of bass going on in there too.

I would have liked to have heard them in a better sounding room, no offence to the sound guys who do a sterling job but the Cavern Pub isn't all that acoustically pleasing. (I don't think the comings and goings of the clientèle help particularly, but then again that's just the way it is.)

I'm definitely going to investigate these guys further though.

Links -

French Boutik - International Pop Overthrow Liverpool - Cavern Club (Back)

French BoutikI popped over to the Cavern Club after seeing The Shakers thinking I would catch maybe the last couple of songs by this band before leaving for the evening. When I got over the road and down into the depths on the club I discovered that things were running a tad late and therefore I got to see the full set of their French pop ditties. That's the beauty of International Pop Overthrow, I get to go from pounding rhythm and blues to 60s euro-pop simply by crossing the street.
My favourite was the last song Tip Toes.

They play again tomorrow (Thursday) on the Cavern Club front stage at 8.30pm.

Links -
Facebook Page

The Shakers - International Pop Overthrow Liverpool - Cavern Pub.

The Shakers
The Shakers are one of the resident bands in the Cavern Club and can be found in there most weekends pounding out classic Mersey Beat tunes for their appreciative audience. Tonight, however, their set was mostly made up of their own songs from their new LP Whole Lotta Shakers.  Mind you if you were played any of the songs blind and told they were obscure 60s beat singles you would believe it. The band capture the very essence of the driving beat and bass of the early rhythm and blues groups of the area, then mix in a couple of jangly rock and roll guitars and some seriously strong harmonies to cook up songs that sound like they have travelled through time to the modern day.

Highlights included the surf tinged "Draggin' Me Down" and the hook laden "Here She Comes Again." Their cover of "Love of the Loved" should get an honourable mention too! Their set was brilliant way to start for me to start this event, it's set me up for the rest of the week!

They play again on Friday on the back stage of the Cavern Club at 7.15pm.

The LP is definitely worth checking out. It's available as a download for all the modern cats, and on vinyl for the hep cats! (And a review will appear here eventually, it's on the list of things I really need to write about but never seem to get the time)

The Shakers
Links -
The Shakers on Facebook
Buy A Whole Lotta Shakers on vinyl.
Download it from iTunes
Download it from Amazon

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Yes - Manchester Apollo 10th May 2014

This was the final gig for me in a run of five in eleven days and I was beginning to flag a bit. As the band took to to stage to great applause I did wonder if there was going to be sound issues as at first it didn't seem to gel (could have just been me though), however as with other gigs this week the tech crew were obviously on the ball and the sound was very quickly sorted and everything flowed really well after the first couple of minutes. I don't think the sound people get enough credit when every goes right and every gig I've been to lately has been spot on (or adjusted swiftly to be spot on) so here's a big thank you to the people who helped make them all an aural pleasure.

Anyway, back to last night. On this tour Yes have been performing three of their classic albums - Close To The Edge, Going For The One and The Yes Album. The line up is Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and Jon Davison and they really appear to be having a ball on stage.  Davison's voice is brilliant and filled the venue. Every track was warmly received, certainly by those in our immediate surroundings. Some people leapt to their feet after each one to show their appreciation.


Behind the band a screen enhanced the show with trippy visuals and also gave a countdown during the interval so everyone could back in their seats in a timely fashion. It all added to the feel of the show.

I find it hard to pinpoint highlights apart from my obvious favourite tracks which are And You And I and Starship Trooper (probably my favourite Yes song, after all I did name this blog after the opening words).
Awaken was amazing, I think I drifted off somewhere else during that, not in a bad way I hasten to add. Something similar happened during Perpetual Change. The end of both halves of the concert had people rising to their feet en masse for standing ovations.

After the completion of the three album set the band gave an encore of the perennial favourite Roundabout. Took a while for people to get up and dance but it rounded the evening off and off we disappeared into the rainy Manchester night feeling thoroughly entertained and satisfied with the whole thing.

Flickr Set of edited photos
Flickr Set of unedited photos

Yes Setlist O2 Apollo Manchester, Manchester, England 2014, Three Album Tour

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Rick Wakeman Journey To The Centre Of The Earth - Liverpool Philharmonic 9th May 2014

After what felt like an incredibly long day in work yesterday, I rounded things off with another dose of Rick Wakeman and co doing Journey To The Centre Of The Earth at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Essentially it was the same show as the Royal Albert Hall so I thought that instead of waffling about it all again I would just post some photos from the encore and leave a few comments about the performance.

- Somehow the first "half" seemed a bit more rushed than at RAH, not the music, just the talk in between. 
- Eleanor Rigby in the style of Prokofiev is still amazing!
- Occasionally the music overwhelmed the narration soundwise, but it was quickly adjusted.
- How much fun were the orchestra having?! Loved the cellist giving it loads of welly during (I think) Ride of Your Life in the encore. And throughout the show there was a lot of smiling and seat dancing from musicians
- Dance of a Thousand Lights is still breathtakingly bloody beautiful! 
- At the back of the stage at the Philharmonic Hall is a piece of kinetic artwork called Adagio. You hardly ever see it at concerts as they curtain off the back of the stage. Because there was an orchestra and choir to accommodate the piece was visible and during the encore they turned it on, which was a really fab touch from the venue.

Once again it was a great performance, though I do think the RAH gig may have just pipped it soundwise. (But only just, as the Philharmonic is a brilliant venue for sound)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

International Pop Overthrow UK is almost here!

Every May International Pop Overthrow spreads its wings and flies over the ocean to the UK shores. Now in its 12th year in Liverpool and 4th in London the events bring a plethora of people and performers together for the purposes of pure powerpop pleasure.

The atmosphere and camaraderie at the events is amazing. I have made some amazing friends over the years and seen some brilliant bands at the Liverpool events. Sadly this year there's a few regular faces missing but the flip side is that there's new bands to discover all the time. The scheduling of IPO Liverpool means that if the band on stage isn't really your cup of tea you can pop over to the next stage (or the one across the road) and see what's going on there.

As I have a proper day job these days my time at the event is more limited than it used to be but expect updates here as and when I can (the drawback of the Liverpool event that the Cavern is underground so no mobile data signals and last time I tried it the wifi was about as much use as a chocolate teapot) For better, shinier, more detailed updates on the shenanigans bookmark Minty And The Beeb Go Gigging - they will probably have reports from the London event too (I'll get there one day!) 

The Liverpool event event runs from May 13th - 20th at the Cavern Club and Pub. 
The London event runs from May 23rd - 25th at Surya on Pentonville Road.

For all the details about the UK events (and those in the USA and Canada) pop along to the official International Pop Overthrow website by clicking here!  

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Seekers Liverpool Philharmonic Hall - 4th May 2014

I was supposed to see this concert last year, but Judith Durham was taken ill with a brain haemorrhage and for a while it was uncertain whether she would sing again. Thankfully she made an excellent recovery and after a delay of only a few months the tour was rescheduled.

The Seekers are a band that I am aware of due to my dad. Music has always loomed large in our house and dad would often sing us to sleep (or play his guitar for us) with folk hits from the 60s. So accompanying him to and sharing this concert was pretty important to me.

The band were brilliant. Judith's voice sounded strong and clear throughout the show. There was an interval and another little break for her in the second half where Keith, Bruce and Athol entertained us without her. The pure joy on her face at being on stage and the affection that the band have for her shone for the duration of the whole show.

There was a wealth of beloved songs in the setlist. The highlights for me were Morning Town Ride, the Gospel medley leading into the interval and Red Rubber Ball (co written with Paul Simon by Keith).

Vintage footage was projected behind the band throughout the evening, and although it was clear that everyone has aged in the last fifty years it was nice to see how gracefully they had done so.

I can't fault the performance, it was better than I had allowed myself to hope it would be and evoked so many memories for me and I'm sure it did the same for my dad. The tour is being billed as the Farewell Tour and it's one heck of a way to bow out.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Ian Anderson Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 2nd May 2014 (updated with videos)

I think this was my fourth Ian Anderson gig. I have to be a bit vague as I really can't remember. It could be my fifth, but I don't think so.

Anyway, this tour is all about the Homo Erraticus album, and because of various factors the night of the show was the first time I'd heard it in any form.

Like the Thick as a Brick Two tour before it, this was a multimedia show. The live band, in costume, were accompanied by visuals on a big screen introducing and illustrating the songs. Also as before, some of the vocal duties fell to Ryan O'Donnell, his voice being a great match to Anderson's.

The production flowed perfectly and I will be investigating the album further once I get a bit of spare time.

The second half of the show was billed as the best of Jethro Tull and that's pretty much what was delivered. Again some of the vocal duties were passed on to Ryan, but this was mostly trading off verses or middle eights here and there, apart from Teacher where he was lead vocalist. The blending of vocals this way worked well, even the second half was more of a production than just a concert. There was archive footage shown behind the band and graphics to take us back to the time of each song.

I don't think I've ever not enjoyed a show from Ian Anderson (even the ones I can't recall from my ever diminishing memories) This night was no exception.

Set List
(Homo Erraticus)
Heavy Metals
Enter the Uninvited
Puer Ferox Adventus
Meliora Sequamur
The Turnpike Inn
The Engineer
The Pax Britannica
Tripudium Ad Bellum
After These Wars
New Blood, Old Veins
In for a Pound
The Browning of the Green
Per Errationes Ad Astra
Cold Dead Reckoning

(Best of Jethro Tull)
Living in the Past
Sweet Dream
With You There to Help Me
A Passion Play
Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die
Songs from the Wood
Farm on the Freeway
My God
Encore: Locomotive Breath

Give Sons of Jet a listen!

These chaps (featuring James from The Popdogs) are going to at International Pop Overthrow Liverpool later this month.
Thursday, 15th May
The Cavern Pub - 7:15pm,
The Cavern Club (Front Stage) - 9:15pm
and they will be giving away copies of this debut CD single.

James Styring - lead vocal
Martin J. Brown - lead guitar, backing vocal
George Duffy - rhythm guitar, backing vocal
Neil Leak - bass guitar
John Dowd - drums

Facebook Page
Reverbnation Page

Friday, 2 May 2014

Rick Wakeman Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Royal Albert Hall 30th April 2014

After an anxious wait for the tickets to arrive and the announcement of a tube strike over the day of the gig, I was beginning to fret that a disaster of an evening could be looming. However, the tickets arrived just before I needed to leave home for the week and my gig buddy for this adventure, Paul, booked a parking space and drove us from Milton Keynes into the big bad smoke and back again. Anxiety suitably subdued all that was left was to enjoy the gig.

I genuinely don't seem able to find the words to convey how much I enjoyed the show. Starting quietly with hat tips to those key players at the beginning of his opus, Rick treated the audience to an excellent choral version of Morning Has Broken, a version of Life On Mars? with vocals by Hayley Sanderson and a splendid rendition of Summertime by Ashley Holt. Rounding off this short  introductory section was a breathtaking Eleanor Rigby in the style of Prokofiev. I have heard this before but that night it just seemed that much better than before, leaving us eager for more after the interval.

After a quick dash to the merch table and an ice cream for Paul, we were settled in for the second half. As the orchestra finished their preparations Paul pointed out that he could see Rick in the wings complete with cape. I confess than I may have appeared to be far too excited by this, but in my defense this was the first time I had experienced a cape at a Rick gig. It was a spendid, shiny cape of silver and gold. 

Phillip Franks took on the role of narrator, sat on a throne by the huge organ in the hall, and the Journey began. I was pretty much lost in the show from then onwards. The sound in the hall was brilliant. It looked like everyone on the stage was having a ball, especially Rick who had a huge grin on his face most of the time. I'm going to admit to fnding the Dance of a Thousand Lights (transplanted into Journey from Return)  especially beautiful and moving.  Two screens had a images of caves and water for as and when appropriate in the story and the audience, thankfully, treated it as a classical piece and saved their applause for the very end of the story, and were on their feet immediately for a well deserved ovation.

The encore consisted of a bit of Return To The Centre of the Earth and a repeat of the whole end of Journey, this time with solos from members of the English Rock Ensemble, leading to Rick having a quick wander around the orchestra and choir with his keytar.

The final bow saw another ovation and then with a wave from the protagonists it was all over and time to gather ourselves together and head back to the car. 

Recently, friends have been discussing their top concert experiences, this one is right up in the top five of mine, without hestitation. 

I can't wait to do it all again at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on the 9th May.

My RAH photos

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