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A Strong 60s Influence with Lots of Guitars: IPO Seattle

Posted by August 24th, 2011 No Comments »

David Bash: Music DorkInternational Pop Overthrow
August 24-30, 2011
The Mix (Georgetown)

David Bash is the best kind of music fan: the kind who’s turned his sick obsession with independently-created popular music into service for the greater good.

It’s service to the countless great bands who toil in obscurity while the music industry cranks out copy cutter pop stars, and it’s service to discerning music fans who need help wading through the indie onslaught to find the hidden gems. 

Following a path that’s eerily similar to our own story arc here at, David started out writing reviews for pop music fanzines in Los Angeles in the 1990s. Immersing himself in the local scene he got to know many local bands who were interested in getting more shows, so he decided to create a festival and give them a platform to share their music.

The first International Pop Overthrow (IPO) happened in 1998. More than 100 bands from around the world came to California to shake their stuff for the Angelinos and, four years later, recurring acts at IPO L.A. convinced David to take his pop show on the road.

The next natural step was New York City, which David made in 2001. From there he expanded to Chicago, Vancouver, Liverpool and London (where the show takes place at the famous Cavern Club), among other U.S. cities, including Seattle.

The Emerald City hosted its first IPO festival in 2006; David’s returned each year. Spreading the power pop seeds across our fair city, the festival has appeared at the Crocodile, the Sunset Tavern, Café Venus / Mars Bar and El Corazon. 

“It’s getting more and more difficult to get people to come out to shows these days,” Bash says about the nomadic nature of his Seattle event. “There are way too many options for entertainment at home, and most people are opting for those. My audience is getting a bit older too, and they are inclined to stay home after a tough day of work. There’s still a lot of enthusiasm for the festival in Seattle and the other cities in which we hold it, and for that I’m very grateful.

David hopes that enthusiasm is displayed this weekend when IPO Seattle debuts at The Mix, a small, emerging venue in the ultra-hip Georgetown neighborhood. Why should our readers care about the International Pop Overthrow festuvak?
David Bash: The most common complaint I hear from music fans is about the death of quality music. If people come to an IPO show they will see quality artists who do the kind of pop music many people believe isn’t being made anymore. I can’t tell you how many people who, when they come to our shows or listen to our festival CD (we’re up to Vol. 14 now), are astonished to find so much good music of which they were previously unaware. 

PosterNM: How do you define "power pop?"
DB: Power pop, like most terms associated with music, doesn’t have an exact definition, but to me it means the kind of melodic, hook-filled music originally purveyed by bands like Badfinger, The Raspberries, Big Star, Dwight Twilley, Shoes and Cheap Trick, Its got a strong ’60s influence with lots of guitars. And the songs usually feature the traditional chorus-bridge format.

IPO started out with bands who all started like that, but it has evolved over the years. 

NM: What range of music can fans expect to hear at IPO Seattle this year?
DB: Everything you could get away with calling “pop.” Indie-rock,
modern-rock, folk-rock, singer/songwriter stuff, garage-pop, psychedelic-pop,
and other pop music sub-genres. 

NM: Share at least one memorable story or moment from past IPOs.
DB: The festival’s name is a tribute to the beloved Chicago power pop
band Material Issue, whose debut album was called International Pop
. Their singer/songwriter, Jim Ellison, had recently taken his
own life, and I wanted to honor his memory by naming the festival that

At the beginning of 2011 I was approached by the two remaining members
of the band, bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, with the
proposition that the next IPO Chicago would host the debut performance
of Material Re-Issue, which would be comprised of Ted and Mike, along
with local musician Phil Angotti, who would do Jim Ellison’s parts. We
sold out the 550 capacity venue and I got to introduce the band, which
is an experience I will never forget. 

The International Pop Overthrow opens tonight at the Mix, 6006 12th Avenue South, and continues through August 27. Performers include Capping Day, Smile Brigade, the Glasses (CD Release), Gary Reynolds & Thee Emergency. Voice your opinions via Twitter with hash tag #IPOSeattle.

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