San Diego Troubadour's own Steve Thorn was at the tenth anniversary of the International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles this summer catching a number of acts that are regulars on "The Time Machine" playlist.
Pictured from left to right: Drummer Dave Dietrich, Lisa Mychols from Nushu, JAM Records artist Jeremy, Tom Richards from The Waking Hours, Michael McCartney from The Time Machine and Glowfriends band members April Morris and Mark Morris.August 4, 2007 - Saturday
International Pop Overthrow LA Journal
One week done at IPO X. Gasoline costs and sleep deprivation aside, I'm holding up well...that's a surprise.
The high quality of the shows? That's NO surprise. I've been enjoying myself immensely, checking out nearly five shows during the first seven days.
The 10th aniversary of IPO has brought out many people from the AUDITIES discussion group....Cathy Gale, "Hey Jude" Judy, Arthur Bang, Dean Micheli. I also ran into Elliott Kendall, MIA from IPO for many moons. Elliott sang "Everybody's World" on the IPO Vol. 2 CD and left a lasting legacy on the 90's swing movement with his Le Hot Show CD. Elliott had a great merch booth at Southern California record shows for years, selling rare pop. It was through Elliott where I first heard about IPO. He has my lasting gratitude.
Powerpop's radio bookends, Michael McCartney (Hawaii) and Adam Waltermire (Florida) also made the trek over for the first shows. We should be hearing killer CDs on their broadcasts in the months ahead. Thank you gentlemen -- it was a pleasure to meet you both!
The Tokens' set opening night at IPO was as wonderful as the other scribes have made it out to be. It had a very similar vibe to Tony Rivers' IPO appearances: a cramped stage filled with older musicians; an inordinate amount of time (by IPO standards) setting up; and a superb set as the result of the meticulous attention to detail. Great harmony pop never goes out of fashion!
On Saturday, 7-28, I visited Fitzgerald's in Orange County for a wee bit of blarney and IPO. The opening band, Poplord, was from Fresno, the first of several bands playing this year's fest hailing from the Central Valley. Poplord is part of that "smartass lyrics and keyboard" school of rock -- think of Steely Dan and the Brilliant Mistakes. I mean that reference as a compliment and I hope they play IPO again. Dave Stephens was next: he continues to grow as a first-rate LA songsmith. Suite 100, minus one of their vocalists (out with a strep throat), still came and delivered the goods. One half of Nushu -- Lisa Mychols -- rocked with her usual authority. Cheering her on was none other than Darian Sahanaja of the Wondermints. The afternoon continued with sets from Jeffrey Scott and the Popdudes. Jeremy concluded the matinee with his "rock star" antics pushed to new and hilarious heights.
The standout band for me Saturday night was the New Fidelity. They are certainly going to be remembered as the best dressed band of IPO X, looking quite sharp in their Carnaby Street suits. These dedicated followers of fashion also had haircuts of circa-1966 Kinks. Speaking of Ray Davies, the New Fidelity turned in a great version of "I Need You," the often neglected song of garage rock's greatest trilogy: "You Really Got Me" / "All Day and All of the Night" / "I Need You." If 60s maximum R&B is your cup of tea, check this band out!
Sunday, 7-29: Quite wound up and moved by Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripkin entering the baseball shrine, I was all set to head to West LA and the Joint nightclub for the afternoon sets. The normally low-key Sunday freeway pattern (as low-key as it gets for LA) changed abruptly with the fatal accident of a motorcycle cop. The tragic scene kept the freeways bottled up for hours. I did arrive in time to see Paul Starling. His music sounds like a mixture of Brian Wilson and Nilsson -- very nice. I could only stay for Four Eyes' set in the evening lineup. Had to hit the road!
Other Auditeers/Myspacers (spacemen, space ladies, space cadets?): keep the posts coming!Posted by Steve Thorn
Pop Garden Radio
August 4, 2007 9:51 PM
It was great getting to meet you, at last.
August 4, 2007 10:04 PM
The Tokens...what a band. They do a much better version of "Portrait of My Love" than Steve Lawrence. And a better version of Wimoweh than Pete Seeger.
The Time Machine
August 5, 2007 7:50 PM
The Power Pop trek was worth the journey.
Stephen, it was a real treat getting to talk with you and hang out listening to some wonderful artists.
The night was such a perfect night for a variety of artists. John Batdorf had opened the show with his signature sound. It was a great way to begin IPO. I had just met John earlier this year when he came to Maui to perform on my radio show so it was really cool to see him play guitar in his element. The biggest suprise was how much I was blown away by his surprise guest - Mark Rodney jumped onstage towards the end. Oh my gosh - it was Batdorf and Rodney performing at freakin' IPO! These guys were HUGE in Hawaii back in the seventies. Many of Hawaii's acts of that decade were influenced by Batdorf and Rodney including Kalapana, Country Comfort and Cecilio & Kapono. This was a treat for me. :=)
Movie Star Kiss followed John and they rocked onstage.
The Mello Cads were unbelievable! David Ponak had me giggling with his musical journey. This was only the third act. The night was off to a fantastic start.
The Syrups were fantastic. The siblings and their bickering on stage was quite humorous as their mom sat in front of the stage. Cool harmonies and rocking the joint at the same time.
If you're a fan of either The Tories or Avion, you would have not been disappointed as Steve Bertrand performed his latest batch of solo album songs acoustically. I'm always a sucker for that kind of performance.
Now when the clock rolled just a wee past ten o'clock...The Procession hit the stage and they had everyone's attention. Well...I can't speak for the bartenders in the back but it appeared that everyone else was glued to their harmonies, pounding keyboards and cool guitar chords that are right up the old power pop alley.
Rob Bonfiglio and Carnie Wilson followed with a killer set. A number of songs from The Skies Of America were performed and hearing those songs stripped down clearly demonstrated how strong all of Rob's songs are. His music should be all over the radio. Carnie performed "God Only Knows" and I nearly cried like a baby in Molly Malone's. I guess sobbing in an Irish pub is an everyday occurrence but I was sober. :=)
In Hawaii, we call it "chicken skin music", it's where the emotional impact of the song gives you musical goosebumps and hearing Carnie and Rob did that to both of my arms. They did a wonderful job on "Devoted To You" by The Everly Brothers.
The Tokens closed the show. I wish that I could remember more details but just as The Tokens were hitting the stage, David Bash and the band asked if I'd video tape the performance so I was bit distracted at the end of the night. So if I stood in anybody's way that night, I apologise.
The next show at Fitgerald's was filled with rockin' sounds! I missed out on Poplord and Dave Stephens due to traffic. I understand that Dave Stephens really rocked the joint and I'm still bummed that I missed it. Dave has been on our radio playlists for over a year and this was my one chance to see him live with his band so you can see why I was quite upset. I caught the tail end of Suite 100. Wow! What an awesome sound.
I'm glad the traffic didn't slow me down to catch Nushu. Another one of those acts that has been dominating our playlists the last year with their catchy "Popsound!". How can anyone not dig the sounds of Lisa Mychols? The band really rocked. They may have been the most rocking band up to that point of IPO considering that Tom from The Waking Hours was on guitar. Holy smoke!!! He plays with such speed that none of my photographs could capture him. He was the only performer that was always a blur in my photography that weekend. *lol
Jeffrey Scott did a great job. Me like...
Popdudes! Popdudes! Popdudes! Yes! Yes! Yes! When a band member hits the stage wearing a "Wings Over America" tour t-shirt you know that something special is coming. I was so in awe of both Mike Simmons and Kenny Howes that I all I could do was say "Hi". Covers from Rick Springfield to The Raspberries had my toes-a-tapping. :=)
John Borack on drums was amazing!
Closing out the afternoon show was Jeremy. I was blown away by how rockin' Jeremy's set was! His Beatle-ly songs off his albums were given a much louder and raw rock and roll sound. I don't know if that's how his music is always from stage but it was mind blowing. This Maui boy got to witness Tom Richards play guitar in what will be a musical performance that I will never recover from. Joining Jeremy onstage were the Glowfriends and Lisa Mychols who along with Tom did in a twenty minute set what it took The Who to do in two hours when I saw them two years ago. Oh my gosh...Hendrix and every punk band from the late seventies and early eighties would have been proud.
I wish that I could have stayed for more of the festival but it wasn't in the cards for me. When my flight got delayed - I got all excited with the thought of an overnight stay to see John Hoskinson, Eugene Edwards, Kenny Howes, Barry Holdship Four, Morty Shallman, The Glimmer Stars, Les Fradkin and Chris Von Sneidern performing Tuesday night but they fixed the jetplane and off I went down the tarmac.
My biggest disappointment as I mentioned earlier was how bummed I was that I missed Dave Stephens and his band rock out. I was very fortunate to hear him and his guitarist Ricardo Vadana perform a set sometime after midnight. It was a musical treat that I was honored to hear.
I was bummed that I didn't get to see a single band with Robbie Rist onboard. Robbie's song "Special" is still one of our most played songs on the radio and we're hoping at The Time Machine that an album from Robbie himself will surface soon.
My other disappointment was not getting a chance to meet Anna Borg and Elliot Kendall who were both in the same room with me Friday night and I didn't even know it. Elliot has done so much for our radio stations for over a decade that I could thank him forever. Apparently I was told that we were within a yard or two from one another. In fact, Anna ended up in my original seat! How did I not know this until the following day? I'm the tourist from out of town while everyone else knew one another so I guess I was the odd one out. That being said - I really appreciated meeting so many fellow Auditiers after all of these years.
Arthur Bang! Super cool! I even got to meet his radio co-host Veronica which was a real treat. Judy B - you are the sweetest! Cathy Gale - thanks for putting up with my constant road direction questions while lost on the freeway - you're a human map and you rock! Roni - next time we'll "talk story" more!
I was really touched that so many artists knew who I was. I would be minding my own business when various musicians would come up to me and say hello and give their thanks for playing their music on the airwaves out in Hawaii. How they knew who I was in the dark venue just amazes me. I guess the power of MySpace photos has more impact than I first thought. *lol
It was a blast getting a chance to finally meet in person Nelson Bragg and Rick Hromadka! If you haven't had a chance to hear either Nelson's new album or Rick's latest Maple Mars release - don't hold back. Get your copy now!
I should end this with two musical notes. I started my California stay by catching The Bangles in concert the night before the International Pop Overthrow. The Abby Travis Band opened for The Bangles. Abby pulled double duty that night as she is also the bassist for The Bangles. The band rocked and their show was longer than the last time that I saw them two years ago. They did a splendid version of "Go Where You Wanna Go" from The Mamas and The Papas. It was dead on! So my West Coast adventure was off to a great start.
My entire road trip soundtrack was filled by "Sonic Crayons". Oh my gosh - this album from Ken Sharp is un-freakin'-believable. Ken has outdone himself this time around and for any of you Rob Bonfiglio fans - you will find that he compliments Ken on this album with his musical craft.
Songs like "Orange Cellophane", "Get Yourself Together", "Rush Rush" and "Better Everyday" are just a few of the songs that had me reaching for the volume knob with a smile on my face. You can get his latest album from his MySpace page and catch him live at IPO at 7PM August 6th at The Cat Club in West Hollywood. Cool beans!
Still unpacking my suitcase from two purchases at Amoeba. Two trips to the car - good grief. I'm a music addict and need help. Not helping my addiction were Adam Waltemire and The Retros own Jeffrey Glenn who constantly handed me CDs with questions like "Have you heard this?" that had me going broke before my first show at IPO. *lol
Thanks Jeff for letting me tailgate you around town so I wouldn't get lost. :=)
Stephen...you and your lovely wife both rock! Look forward to seeing you both again soon!August 7, 2007 - Tuesday
IPO LA--JOURNAL 2
When the July 31st lineup was announced, I received a lot of e-mails from people judging it as THE show to see at IPO--LA. If the great turnout (for a Tuesday night) was any indication, they were right.
Some of the highlights of 7-31-07:
JOHN HOSKINSON--Although I have heard him on disc, this was the first opportunity to see him perform live. He appeared enthusiastic, a natural reaction to becoming a dad! Apparently, dad, mom and the baby are doing fine. He couldn't been happier--certainly reflected in his fine set.
MORTY SHALLMAN--Sadder but wiser music and lyrics from a talented tunesmith who held his own with the other fine singer-songwriters on the bill.
CHRIS VON SNEIDERN--My favorite IPO live performer--the heir apparent to Emitt Rhodes.
BARRY HOLDSHIP--I've seen Barry several times, but he and the BH4 were truly on their game Tuesday night. A magnificent set.
KENNY HOWES--Always pondered what Kenny would sound like at IPO with a band supporting him. It finally happened, and it was great! To use a Thanksgiving reference: by bringing a band, Kenny got to eat with the big people this year--and what a musical feast it was!!
MICHAEL STUART-WARE--Love's drummer led Les Fradkin's band through the Forever Changes opener, "Alone Again Or." Something to one day tell the grandkids.....
EUGENE EDWARDS--Sorry Michael McCartney...couldn't stay for the whole set. But I'm sure on this night of nights he ended the show on a high note.
JOHN BORACK--Kudos to John for four reasons.
1. Keeping time with the Popdudes (during the opening weekend).
2. Pounding the skins with BH4.
3. Wailing away with Kenny Howes!!
4. His exhaustive thesis on powerpop, Shake Some Action, comes out in September!!
IPO--LA You Tube sightings: Pretty in Stereo, Scarlet Crush, New Fidelity. Type in: International Pop Overthrow: Los Angeles
Happy viewing!Posted by Steve Thorn
The Time Machine
August 18, 2007 2:48 PM
It's nights like this that I wish roundtrip airline tickets were closer to twenty dollars. Thanks for the wonderful review.
:=)August 14, 2007 - Tuesday
IPO--LA: GIRLS NIGHT OUT!
Trying to put things together from the Friday evening
show and a few shows from the second week...
Girls Night Out--After a year off, this unique "concept" evening (instead
of an album, Sinatra fans) made a triumphant return to IPO--LA last Friday
night at Club Good Hurt in West Los Angeles. The all-female lineup featured
everything from country pickin' to a Ronnie Spector salute.
ANNETTE SUMMERSETT started the evening with a well-received acoustic set. I've only seen her as a solo act; maybe some year she will pull a Kenny Howes and bring a band along for the show. DIME BOX BAND is Kristi Callan's (formerly of Wednesday Week) latest musical project. Picture the Flying Burrito "Sisters" and you'll get the picture. I like everything about this band, from their harmonies to the dresses which make them look like actresses performing a scene from a summer stock production of "The Grapes of Wrath." But is it power pop? Nope. Does everything have to be? I am entirely sold on their high lonesome sound and hope to hear a full-length CD from them someday. From the prairie to a more urban landscape...MONOGROOVE was next. A very intense set...no mistaking them for alt. country.
PAULA KELLEY was making her second appearance at this year's IPO, having performed earlier with Banquet Hall on July 29. The Paula Kelley Orchestra is always a joy to see. Burt Bacharach's melodic influence combined with Paula's witty lyrics. ANNY CELSI brought her orchestra as well, and guest musicians included Adam Marsland, Teresa Cowles, and Evie Sands. Anny performed "Be My Baby" in honor of Ronnie Spector's birthday. She even brought a cake! Excellent set and damn good cake...thanks Anny!
ROXY MONOXIDE will billed as 70's glam, but I heard big hair 80s as well.
Still, a lot of fun to watch. They are trying to set up future shows at Good
Hurt--a good call. THE HONEYSUCKLE JONES REVIVAL concluded the evening with gospel-influenced rock.
Other acts from other IPO-LA shows:
THE BOBBLEHEADS (Aug. 5 matinee): this band's preoccupation with power pop's close cousin, bubblegum, is irresistible. A great live act. Be sure to have your "ba-ba-ba" parts ready--you will be singing along!
FRANK BARAJAS AND THE SHAKEDOWNS (Aug. 5 evening): West Texas rock inhabited by the ghosts of Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and Bobby Fuller. Brilliant.
GLOWFRIENDS (July 29, matinee): After performing at IPO--LA, Glowfriends performed live on KUSI TV's "Good Morning San Diego." Check out their performance at the following site:
That's it....go out and support the "Sweet Relief" CD!Posted by Steve Thorn
Pop Garden Radio
August 14, 2007 6:49 PM
I would have loved to have still been out there to see Anny and Paula. I am sure that I would have really enjoyed their shows.
I was out there for the Glowfriends, but I was elsewhere in town. This was my first IPO without seeing them, actually.
The Time Machine
August 18, 2007 2:44 PM
This was a night that we would have loved to been at. Great music and a cake? Anny Celsi rocks! We've been wanting to see Paula Kelley perform live for years and we hope that we still get a chance. Annette Summersett and the Dime Box Band are two acts that would have been a blast to see. Even though we couldn't stay for the entire International Pop Overthrow, we're glad that you caught all of these acts and appreciate the write up.