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Stage Buzz – Preview: International Pop Overthrow (IPO) Chicago 2015

| April 14, 2015
Top Shelf Top Shelf Lickers -  Appearing 4/21 
at IPO Chicago @ The Red Line Tap

International Pop Overthrow returns to Chicago for another 10-day run at the Red Line Tap, starting Thursday, April 16th.

The traveling festival (other stops include New York, Phoenix, Atlanta, Liverpool, and London) takes its name from Material Issue’s first album, and originated in Los Angeles in 1998 as a celebration of power pop. This year’s IPO – Chicago once again offers an eclectic mix of familiar faces like Vango, Lannie Flowers, and The Romeros, along with newcomers like the riot grrrl, ska band Ultrahazard and indie rockers The Pickpockets.

“I always strive to maintain that balance, taking the cream of the previous year’s crop and bringing them back for this year’s festivities, while adding a healthy balance of new acts,” Founder/CEO David Bash explained in an email interview with IE. Bash’s track record impressed Boston-based filmmaker Justin Fielding so much he recruited Bash to help out with his documentary The Power Pop Movie.

“Both he and Bruce Brodeen of the Not Lame Recording Company and Pop Geek Heaven are undeniably go-to guys in connecting the power pop community,” Fielding said via email. “So they were the first two people I asked to join as Executive Producers.”

“I was extremely honored,” Bash recalled. “At that point I knew Justin as a filmmaker and as someone who attended some IPO shows in his hometown of Boston, but nothing more. I hadn’t realized he had a desire to do a documentary on power pop, but I was really gratified because the genre had been sorely underrepresented in the media.”

Fielding will be coming to Chicago, which means some local acts at this year’s IPO could wind up in the documentary. Bash doesn’t foresee any problems with the logistics since Fielding shot some footage at the IPO Boston last November.
“It will just be a matter of him and his crew setting up their cameras at Red Line Tap and filming the bands there in the same manner,” Bash said.

The fact that the Midwest is steeped in power pop history definitely influenced Fielding’s decision to film here. He was born in a Chicago suburb before his family moved to the East Coast just as Beatlemania was starting to spread. “In the 1970s, my old home state was at the forefront of building on that legacy of melodic/energetic pop, with bands like Shoes and Cheap Trick,” Fielding recalled. “And Chicago has remained a great power pop town ever since.”

This year’s IPO Chicago lineup features bands that carry on the tradition. The Abbeys swap out musicians from time to time, but the nucleus of vocalists-guitarists Mike Cohen and Jeff Janulis consistently provides Everly Bothers style harmonies and catchy melodies. “We have been part of the IPO Chicago festivals since the very first one and have greatly enjoyed the audiences and meeting musicians from the other acts,” Cohen said. “We will be doing a good sampling of our Abbeys catalog, a cover tune as well.”

The Luck Of Eden Hall, also veterans of the fest, have found success in the U.S. and the U.K. with their vintage psychedelic rock. “IPO is a great opportunity to see a load of Chicago’s underground talent and we’re looking forward to participating,” lead vocalist-guitarist Gregory Curvey said. “We’re performing some new songs from our next album The Acceleration of Time in our set.”

Tim Ferguson of The Red Plastic Buddha sees IPO Chicago has the perfect place to break in a new approach. “I think our sound is moving away from the polished psychedelia of our last couple of records to a more raw garage psych pop sound,” he noted. “What better place to debut the new vibe than IPO? We’re batting ahead of the Luck of Eden Hall on the lineup, so that adds a bit of pressure.”

Vocalist-guitarist Jimmy Rane knows the pressure that comes with a particular time slot. His hard-edged power pop trio The Viaducts are the last band of the night on Wednesday, April 22nd. “The pros of being the final act are, you must give them your very best because of the fine acts before you,” Rane said. “The cons would be there aren’t as many night owls as there used to be, and you my lose a few before you begin..”

For David Bash, overseeing this year’s International Pop Overthrow circuit comes with a challenge he hasn’t encountered in the past: His health. “I had a heart attack on January 27,” he related. “Although I am in recovery mode and my heart is doing fine, I am still dealing with some (presumably non-cardiac) chest pain issues that have been troubling and have consumed a lot of my mental and emotional faculties. Fortunately, with the help of my girlfriend Rina, I have been able to organize the festivals as I always have. I normally travel to all of the IPO festivals but this year, to preserve my health a bit, I have decided to skip Detroit. I intend to go to all subsequent IPO festivals, including Chicago, and I can’t wait!”

For Full Schedule and Tickets Visit: International Pop Overthrow

– Terrence Flamm

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  1. Jimmy says:

    Terry is a great champion of music, and is recognized by many as such. I hope sometime in the near future, he’ll be introducing me at a sold out Rivera show.