Sunday, 27 May 2007

The Owsley Sunshine, The Plimptons, Paisley Riot - The Cavern Bar - International Pop Overthrow

I popped into the Cavern half an hour ago, its free entry to the International Pop Overthrow festival now, back when I first came four years ago it was like a fiver, but now, free, lending it not the air of a ground-breaking cultural gathering, but a cramped pub with live music somewhere near the back.

The weather's great so I wander the streets trying to find Probe Records. Elsewhere the Plimptons and their entourage hurtle towards the city by train.

I'm having a cappucino in noshncoffee, foregoing my usual stack of burgers at BurgerKing and usual attempts to get school friends, now resident in Liverpool, to come out for a drink.

Two or so hours later, back at the Cavern, I've located one Plimpton and half of the Owsley Umbrella are here. Onstage are a mod/Merseybeat/pop band who sadly can now only be reviewed with a view through the stag night folk in red polo shirts who invaded their stage and outnumbered the rest of the crowd. Maybe "Kev's Stag Night" is a secret Scouse code name for the local learning disability centre. Is it really necessary to play air guitar on an inflatible sheep?

On the other stage, in the back room are a nameless band, the singer looks like a young Elvis Costello, Paul Plimpton says they sound a little like SilverSun, but Busted might be closer to the mark.

The crowd begins to thin by the time "The Owsley Sunshine" hit the stage, but McGazz, formerly of My Legendary Girlfriend, has joined us to watch the bands.

There seems to be only two member of The Owsleys here, Nick and Stephan, but they're doing a good approximation of Joe Kane's Mighty 'Sunch.

I'm struck by treasonous thoughts and concerns about the band being so interchanagble. Stipped down at the Cavern today, they sounds good, fewer instruments to get lost in the noise.

The rest of The Plimptons arrive with seconds to spare.

The hit the stage on fire. Perfectly in tune and stuff, and absolutely unbiased, I have to say it was their best ever Liverpool gig. A couple of new songs, starting off with the the album closer, "Impulse Records", arguably their most accessible song, mainly cos it sounds like Pulp.

I think they got the balance right between playing and between song banter, but maybe the commercial break in the middle could have been framed better. They have to sell albums to pay the bus fare, its no cheap.

Very concerned about Paisley Riot who were on next, the sound guy said he was going to turn the guitars down so they didn't drown the vocals and the band say NO.


Noisy and melodic. Some of their tunes rocked generic, but with no hook, nothing to cling onto. Despite the enthusiasm with which they introduce the songs I couldn't find any pulse.

In the back room is some Edinburgh band, possibly called The Snakes, they dressed like late '90s nu-metal, but sounded like I'm guessing Maroon 5 sound like if I'd ever listened to them.

Outside in the street, there's a drunk teenager called Kelly crying, and my BurgerKing has run out of Whoppers, this is how the universe ends.

Back at the batcave, in the other room, Blackout are on stage, they appear to be a trio of eleven or twelve year olds, lack of tits doesn't rule out the possibility that they're all girls. They rock quite a bit. Messy drums, could be a Ramones tribute act with a few modern influences thrown in, like the Pixies maybe.

Crikey, they're from Los Angeles, California, do their parents know where they are?

Ooh, Justin Timberlake is in the audience here. How many EyeSpy points do I get for him?

Hmph, I've lost the Plimptons, they're not quite where I left then sat next to the main stage, but there is a large heap of their detritus, obscene sketches of each other and rejected setlists. All their gear is gone too. They're not in any of the dressing rooms, maybe they followed me outside and are even now lost in this town's maze-like streets.

Frantic minutes pass and I find them onstage in the Cavern Pub on the other side of the street, halfway throughtheir set. This time they're in costume, Martin in girlfriend's dress and wig, Adam drinking spilled beer of the floor.

This time round they're even closer to the audience than they were earlier, and the crowd are terrified. Some people are dancing, and joining in with the choruses of the songs, but all the stops when Martin leaps forward and starts hurtling around on all fours licking people's faces and throwing CDs around.

I think they won over a few people, or at least left people scarred. We sold four CDs, which just about covers my petrol money.

Next on stage at the Cavern Pub were the band me and Paul saw earlier with Kev's Stag night, alas we have to leave. Its a long drive back to Glasgow.

So, over 150 bands playing over seven days, on four different stages, and I missed most of them. It was free though, so hey ho.



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