Lovers Lane
ATT Internet 75

International Pop Overthrow returns!

| April 12, 2011

International Pop Overthrow is about to make its 10th anniversary swing through Chicago, with a two-week run that will present more than 75 power pop and indie rock bands at The Abbey Pub and Red Line Tap. The diverse lineup includes newcomers like Archie Powell & The Exports and Lannie Flowers, as well as seasoned veterans like Million Yen, New Duncan Imperials, Jeremy, and Graham Elvis. The Luck Of Eden Hall, Panoramic And True, Penthouse Sweets, Ellis Clark & Epicycle, Swinger, and Material Re-Issue are also on tap. The annual celebration has a Windy City connection that dates back to the very first IPO, which was held in Los Angeles in 1998.

Back then, a trio of Chicago-based bands, The Idea, The Critics, and 92 Degrees, trekked out to the West Coast to be part of the event, and made a strong impression on IPO founder David Bash. Three years later, he would add Chicago to his festival’s itinerary. International Pop Overthrow currently travels to 13 cities, including the crown jewel of the circuit, Liverpool. The lineup is different for each location. 

“Chicago is the third city in which IPO has realized its 10th year,” Bash noted in a recent e-mail. “Los Angeles and New York being the first two, but of course it carries with it a very special meaning in Chicago. I named the festival International Pop Overthrow, to pay tribute to one of Chicago’s most beloved pop bands, Material Issue, whose debut CD is called International Pop Overthrow.”

Material Issue drummer Mike Zelenko, one of the six musicians contacted via e-mail for this preview, expressed how he felt when he first heard about the tribute. “We thought it was cool that someone would want to do that, and thought it would turn on new people to our records.” 

Lead vocalist/guitarist Phil Angotti, the founding member of The Idea, still remembers the excitement of his initial IPO performance. “The first IPO in L.A. was really great fun. I met a lot of fans from around the world actually, which was a pleasant surprise. I had a feeling it would come to Chicago — it made sense.”

92 Degrees bassist/vocalist Mike Galassini still cherishes being there for the birth of IPO. “It was really exciting, there were bands from all across the country,” he recalled. “Not only was playing the show a highlight, but watching great bands and hanging out into the late night with the other bands was crazy. I don’t think we slept for days.” This year, Galassini will be performing twice at The Abbey: a day-time show with 92 Degrees on April 17th, and with The Valley Downs, the band he formed with his wife, Marianne Shimkus Galassini, on the 23rd. 

The 23rd is also the night Material Re-Issue performs at Abbey, with original members bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Zelenko, along with singer/guitarist Angotti. The gig comes shortly after the release of the International Pop Overthrow 20 Anniversary Edition. Angotti, whose current band features Zelenko on drums, is honored to be performing the songs first created and sung by the late Jim Ellison.

“I know I can never replace Jim,” Angotti explained. “There was a time awhile ago [when] I thought this may eventually happen, and wasn’t so sure about doing it.” Angotti added that he loves Material Issue, and believes he can bring the right vibe and sound to the songs.

Ansani, who has performed Material Issue songs before at IPO – Chicago with The Ted Ansani Project, expressed enthusiasm for Material Re-Issue. “Mike hits as hard as ever and Phil’s doing a great job working out all his parts. It’s really coming along.”

Angotti is also performing with his own band in support of his new People And Places, on the 22nd at Abbey. He finds the excitement of that first night in L.A. still resonates throughout  IPO – Chicago. “Naturally the excitement died down a bit, but there are still certain nights it gets pretty ramped up.”

Power pop singer/guitarist Mike Cohen will be performing with The Abbeys in the daytime at Abbey on the 17th, and later that night with The Pop Dollys at The Red Line Tap. As a musician who has performed at every IPO – Chicago, he has a unique perspective on its allure. “The vibe at IPO Chicago shows has always been very positive. You’ve got a crowd that’s basically into the music that you’re creating and performing, even if they’ve never heard of you.” 

Shimkus Galassini, lead vocalist for The Valley Downs, echoed that sentiment. “There’s a great element of a family reunion, with a bonus of hearing favorite songs live, plus new music, new bands. David Bash is pretty thoughtful and insightful in the way he mixes and plans lineups.” The Valley Downs are one of the Chicago bands who have traveled overseas to be part of IPO- Liverpool at The Cavern, and Shimkus Galassini has found the U.K. audiences very receptive. “They sing to everything. Everybody. They like everything, too, especially in Liverpool.” 

Mike Galassini pointed out that The Valley Downs have also played numerous IPO gigs in New York, L.A., and Nashville. “So over that time we have made friends in other bands from across the country and around the world,” he said. “It’s always a little crazy to walk into some club so far from home and to see familiar faces.” Which brings up the question, as to whether The Valley Downs would ever play the entire circuit.

“Having the finances and time, absolutely,” Marianne Shimkus Galassini confirmed.

Ansani was also open to the idea. “If it was possible [financially] I’d play all the cities on the fest’s circuit. It’d be great to have the chance to travel again and really bring the power of pop to the people like we used to back in the day.” Zelenko quipped, “Sure. I’m a drummer for hire and I have a current  passport.” Cohen replied, “If I could get federal funding, I’d love to play the whole IPO circuit. We’re hoping to pick up a Milwaukee date this year if scheduling works out!”

When told about the playing the entire circuit question, which had been posed as sort of a joke, Bash said that one artist has already done it. “Dave Rave, musician extraordinaire from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, told me early last year that he wanted to play every IPO city we were doing! I couldn’t believe it, but he was serious! He started his IPO adventure at last year’s IPO Detroit, and has played every city since. It looks like he’s going to do all of the IPO cities in 2011 as well!” The Ramones-influenced Dave Rave performs at Abbey on the 17th.

Of course, Bash has made the entire circuit many times, and he’ll be introducing every act that appears at IPO – Chicago 2011, from the opening set by British Invasion revivalists The Queue on the 14th to the final set by the hard-hitting Van Go on the 23rd. Over the last 10 years, he has booked established power pop acts like Shoes, The Elvis Brothers, and Off Broadway, and the 2011 fest offers promising newcomers like Magatha Trysty, Aaron Fox And The Reliables, The Romeros, The Wanton Looks, and Go Time.

“I’m truly honored,” Bash said of his association with the city. “Plus it’s always fun to come to Chicago because it’s a great city, and one replete with amazing bands!”

— Terrence Flamm

Tags: ,

Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

About the Author ()

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ronni says:

    Can not wait for this show!!

  2. Matt says: