I've got a whole city to hold down

April 13, 2005

IPO on tap

Chicago's annual incarnation of the International Pop Overthrow festival starts this Friday, 4/15, and runs at various local clubs through Sunday, 5/1.

To help us get a handle on some of the cream of this more-than-170-act crop, we're pleased to present the picks of professional pop handicapper Michael Bennett. As we've mentioned here before, Mike publishes the weekly Chicago Pop Show Report, to which you may subscribe and receive in your e-mail gratis, and he also reviews records for

We'll publish Mike's recommendations in two parts, one now and another next week. Take it away, Mike:

April 15 – Beat Kitchen. Kelly’s Heels are a splendid British power pop band whose most recent release is a sparkling compilation. Former Material Issue bassist and a reliable performer in his own right, Ted Ansani headlines.

April 16 – Gunther Murphy’s. (evening) Highlights include a reunited the Sun Sawed in 1/2, who are in the vein of Jellyfish; Sparkwood, a Texas band that plays sweet pop with clever lyrics a la Fountains Of Wayne, the Orange Peels and Cherry Twister; and the Elms, who tour incessantly playing basic power pop with both Who and Tom Petty overtones.

April 17 – Subterranean. (evening) Heathrow seems to have been weaned on Oasis and Pulp. Localite Dag Juhlin is always a safe bet. Trolley is a solid mod-rock outfit from Milwaukee.

April 18 – Schubas. Arthur Yoria’s stuff is similar to David Garza’s sophisticated pop-rock. Cameron McGill is a local up-and-comer [Ed.: Isn't that what they've been saying for years now?], and My Record Player is fronted by Dolly Varden guitarist Mark Balletto.

April 19 – Wise Fool’s Pub. Classic power pop with strong vocals from Chris Richards and the Subtractions. Phil Angotti and the Idea have a heavy ‘60s Brit-pop orientation. Jeremy is both a ball of energy and a great guitarist.

April 20 – Wise Fool’s Pub. This night features ‘90s pop vets 92 Degrees, the pub-rock pop of the Webstirs and Angeleno Barry Holdship, an ace vocalist with a ‘50s bent and a pedigree--his brother wrote for Creem back in the ‘80s.

April 21 – Beat Kitchen. A tough night, since one of pop's patron saints, Chris Stamey, is playing a non-IPO show at the Abbey. But on the festival side, Frisbie is the highlight--I’ve heard two new demos, and they sound as good as ever.