Gig Review: Ships Have Sailed at IPO

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Ships Have Sailed brought their energetic, crowd-oriented show to the International Pop Overthrow 2016 Vancouver series, last Thursday night.

Will Carpenter  and Art Andranikyan played six nights of the West Coast edition of David Bash’s  IPO mini-festivals at the end of August and into September. And that kind of hard touring pays off in terms of stage presence, show presentation and simply becoming solid playing music live.

As a duo playing live, they use backing tracks on most songs… but they don’t really need them. They have sound and presence well covered and can carry a show between the two of them. The backing tracks seem to be something of a necessity these days to bring a full album sound on tour, at a mere fraction of the cost for a full touring band.

You can find their music here and discover their more theatrical pop-oriented music also delves into anthem-ready material that is set to burst out of radios and stadiums everywhere.

Ships Have Sailed know the hard work that lies ahead of them but possess the determination, creativity and openness that will serve them well on the miles ahead.

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Gig Review: Jody Quine at IPO 2016

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Jody Quine continues to pursue songwriting and performing while developing an inclusive sense of community in everything she does, among everyone she sings for.

As a writer honing her song craft with embroidered humanity, Jody continues to delve deeper into the narrative that makes a song better. From her own life and experiences, lyrics push personal revelations into the open for all to see – and for this we are all the better.

As a performer at International Pop Overthrow Festival, Jody brings her fresh, direct honest on stage. Song introductions become humorous, intimate, revealing – and thoroughly entertaining. Jody connects with audiences – it’s one of her strengths.

As she switches between accompanying herself on guitar and piano, she openly unravels herself from first innocent introductions to candid, self-deprecating confessions that instantly endear Jody and her songs.

She truly deserves the many accolades received over the last few years, and definitely remains a singer-songwriter to pay attention to as she continues along her own path.

A unique voice with interesting observations on her own condition, and thus ours too.

Gig Review: Chloe Anne Lloyd at IPO

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Chloe Anne Lloyd‘s beautiful voice frame life-based songs that reach out and take the listener unawares.

At the International Pop Overthrow Festival on Wednesday night, Chloe sang solo with acoustic guitar. While lovely and intimate, a bit of a shame because her bandcamp tracks feature a full band rocking out with full pop intensity, delivering her songs much more dynamically.

She sings intimately as a solo performer calling to mind Jewel in terms of lyrics, sound and delivery. One has the suspicion however, that her delivery changes drastically and dramatically with a backing band  – and hopefully such a gig will present itself soon. Audiences would be in for something very special.

Definitely a young singer and writer to follow and keep an eye on, give a listen to and seek out when she next performs live.

Gig Review: Laurie Biagini at the International Pop Overthrow in Vancouver

As Mike Birbiglia puts it, CLEVERNESS IS OVERRATED, AND HEART IS UNDERRATED and music is always better when heart prevails over head.

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Our hearts sometime just want songs sung by a soothing voice singing us a story.

Laurie Biagini writes and sings such songs and has only been doing so for a little over ten years. During that time she has recorded 4 full albums, from which she played a selection last Wednesday for the start of the 11th annual International Pop Overthrow (Vancouver) hosted by David Bash.

A friendly, positive vibe emanates from Laurie’s music, even when the lyrics get a bit dark. This bittersweet quality is evocative of Southern California circa 1969-1973 when things were not always as they appeared. A golden era of pop music, particularly so from AM radio.

Touching on a Carol King or Carpenters style of writing through a Beach Boys filter, she performs  live while playing piano with backing tracks that fill out her sound. She tells stories in between each song that elaborate on the time, places and people of each song.

There is a vibe to Laurie’s music both familiar and haunting, and strangely alluring – taking you back to a time of golden summer sun and carefree dreams.

Gig Review: D Trevlon at IPO

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Night two of the International Pop Overthrow Festival began with the compelling song craft of D Trevlon, a gifted singer/songwriter performing solo last Thursday night at The Fairview Pub.

His fully produced recordings convey a transcendent time, place and haunting mood.

Luckily for those in attendance for the stripped down solo set, Trevlon was able to simply make that mood more intimate, more haunting. His voice carries so much life and living.

His singing narrative and solid solo presence also transfixed the crowd, allowing lyrics to fill each corner of the room. There is that sense of his songs being lived in, being genuinely based on past and present life-events.

The best of both worlds would be to have a gig where he sings some songs solo and some songs with a full band – to expand the mood and accentuate the unique story telling.

Give his Man of Investigation album a listen, then go see him perform live.

Gig Review: Pill Squad at IPO August 31st

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Pill Squad simply launch themselves into action as they take the stage, with zero pretensions, zero give-fucks but full on honest, snotty punk attitude.

Just the thing for the last day of August.

At last Wednesday night’s IPO the band ripped through a tight, truncated version of their usual full set. In a way that sometimes serves punk better – gets to the point and ramps up the energy, leaving audiences clamoring for more, which they did at The Fairview Pub.

Tim Chan  was born with a guitar in his hands and slings his six string shooters without ever casting an eye to the neck, making the riffs seem effortlessly energized. Standing in one spot is simply not going to happen and Tim utilizes every square inch of stage available to frame Pill Squad songs  with feisty punk presence.

Ed Hurrell likewise slings his street-battered bass around the other end of the stage, cracking wise with band and audience alike. Bass in the hands of such a happy jester can sometimes turn out badly, but this is not the case here. Ed pummels bass lines into punchy, rocking grooves long before the bass has a chance to  even think about getting jazzy.

Scott Beadle propels the band relentlessly as someone that lives and breathes punk drumming. Live music is always about the people on stage, not just the music in the air. It it is therefore Scott’s happy-go-lucky, all-in attitude that fills the stage, fuels the beats and breaks – and broadcasts humanity beautifully. Keith Moon himself would have been proud of Scott’s complete commitment to rattling around the drum kit and driving the band.

Speaking of feisty, Tracy Brooks brashly belts out Pill Squad punk songs with credible force and conviction. Somewhere along the way, Tracy has lived at least some or all of these lyrics. Band banter always sets a tone and in that regard, Tracy’s banter with Ed, Scott and Tim ensures the playfully edgy tone keeps things moving right along.

Together, Pill Squad entertain and entice feet and butts onto the dance floor where fist pumping into the air is something you want to do, smiling all the way.

Gig Review: Not Mentally Prepared at IPO 2016

Thursday night’s stage at the IPO Vancouver 2016 erupted into spontaneous rocking when NOT Mentally Prepared tore through their set of rocking pop tunes.

Contagious, down-to-earth fun may be their strongest suit, in part due to front-man Mark’s ease with being on stage in front of an audience. No easy task, Mark simply enjoys himself singing with the band and enjoys rocking out.

Their original songs have direct riffs and uncomplicated grooves which blend well with any cover songs the band throws out.

This is a great band with a lot of good going on up there on stage.

Also a band enjoying anonymity seemingly, hard to find details but that only enhances the mystery. Keep your social media alerts tuned to Not Mentally Prepared.