International Pop Overthrow Liverpool is nearly upon us. This will the 14th IPO event in the city and I have not missed one yet. (I’ve even dashed to the venue direct from the airport after a holiday to catch a show).
The event rolls up to the Cavern Club and Pub on Mathew Street for eight days and features well over 100 bands each of which get a couple of slots over the event.
It is impossible to see everything so there’s a handy schedule here at the official IPO site, which includes links to find out more about each artist. There’s also a free programme at the event with short bios for the bands and the schedule, but you need to keep an eye on the running lists outside each venue too as any last minute changes are to be found there.
The main thing is that there is always something going on, so if you a band isn’t to your taste on one stage, there are alternatives. And who knows, you may be in the right place at the right time to discover your new favourite band.
The whole shebang is free, apart from the regular door charges at the Cavern Club. (Details here) Sadly there is no “frequent flyer” type deal with the venue other than buying daily tickets for weekends in advance. I have to say that the door charges do seem to affect how some of us plan out who we will see, particular at times with no pass outs available.
I am unable to do as much of the event as I used to these days, mostly because I have a day job, but I will be trying to post from the event. This will depend on the extremely dodgy free wifi in the Cavern Club (unless they’ve improved it immensely since last year) or whatever phone data signal I can get while underground.
I’ll edit any “live blog” posts as and when I am at a keyboard rather than a mobile device and photos should be uploaded daily to an album at my flickr account. (Be warned, there will be fuzzy phone pics posted throughout the week too)
As the show opened with a touching tribute to the much-missed Chris Squire, it seemed bizarre that he was still with us when we bought the tickets for this concert. Seeing his bass in the spotlight on the stage while Onwards played over the sound system was moving, as was being aware of the lack of his presence throughout the evening. That said, Billy Sherwood filled his shoes extremely well on bass guitar.
The first half of the show saw a performance of the entire Drama album. I’m rather fond of this album, particularly the epic Machine Messiah and Does It Really Happen, so it’s safe to say I was looking forward to it. I was far from disappointed and quite probably sat there with a stupid grin on my face for the duration.
Tagged on to the Drama portion of the show was Time and A Word (dedicated to the late Peter Banks) which was followed by Siberian Khatru taking us to the interval. I’d like to take the opportunity to appreciate the fact that Yes have a countdown on screen for the interval giving everyone plenty of chance to get back to their seats before the lights go down again.
Part two brought us the Fragile album. It seemed a bit more relaxed performance-wise than Drama, maybe because it was more familiar territory. Reaching its crescendo with an ever building rendition of Heart Of The Sunrise (the ultimate in epic tunes to listen to as dawn breaks) Fragile made way for Don’t Kill The Whale and Owner Of A Lonely Heart before an encore of the ever popular Starship Trooper ended the evening on a familiar high.
As I said, Squire’s stage presence was missed but the musical performances were as good as ever. I really like Jon Davison’s voice and with the harmonies from Billy Sherwood sounding a bit different to Chris it actually made you listen to the more familiar songs with fresh ears.
Our evening wasn’t quite over with the end of the concert though. Thanks to a visit at work from Alan White and his lovely wife Gigi, I had passes for an after show meet and greet. After the paying meet and greeters were done we were allowed in to get autographs etc. I was introduced to Billy who was lovely and happily posed for a photo after his autograph duties. I also managed to grab a selfie with Geoff Downes before it was time to go home.
It was a fabulous night and I’m hoping for a full show of Tales From Topographic Oceans next time!
What can I say, back in February when I started this new music blog I had the best of intentions but occasionally real life has other ideas.
Let’s start again shall we?
New content will be with you this evening and I will shift some of the old Sisterbluebird blog posts to here too. (I think I can back date them so everything should remain in the correct order timewise.
Spread the word, we will be up and running at full pelt from now on. (Okay, maybe not full pelt but I’ll do my best.)
One of the perks of where I work is that we have some interesting visitors. The other week Richard Langham popped by. He worked for EMI in the 60s and is the last remaining member of the production/technical team to work on the Please Please Me album for the Beatles. He was very nice and happily shared his stories with us.
With dynamic basslines, some of which would fit in with classic rock bands, and searing Ramones influenced guitars coupled with the distinct vocal stylings of James Styring (The Popdogs) this power-pop offering is, quite frankly, bloody marvellous!
Each track becomes such an instant favourite that it’s hard to pick out the highlights but if pushed then my favourites are Death Of A Western Heart with its atmospheric opening, Rock And Roller Toons with its occasional Soft Boys-esque harmonies and power-punk driven Lemonade which I think may have burrowed so far into my brain it may never leave.
This album is easily going to be one of the soundtracks for my summer.
I decided to move everything onto webspace that I’ve been paying for but haven’t actually used in a while. This has led to a name change for the blog too. SisterBluebird is no more, but all the post are still online at sister-bluebird.blogspot.co.uk but the Sisterbluebird.co.uk URL currently points here (and eventually will stop working when my domain name contract runs out)
Anyway, this blog will be becoming more populated in the coming weeks, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!
Oh, and the blog header is randomised. There’s seven at the moment but a couple more may sneak in. It should change with each visit.