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International Pop Overthrow: 180 Acts, 17 Days, 10 Venues

July 18, 2002|Kevin Bronson

As he convenes the fifth edition of International Pop Overthrow, festival founder David Bash acknowledges a comic frailty.

"I can't say no," the 43-year-old promoter says, shaking his head giddily at a 180-act lineup that includes 23 shows over 17 days at 10 venues. "There are so many bands that want to play."

The festival, a celebration of hook- and harmony-laden music tracing its roots to such forebears as the Beatles, Raspberries, Cheap Trick and the Beach Boys, features seven or eight bands per show, each playing sets of about half an hour.

Almost half the groups hail from outside Southern California, including 18 from outside the U.S.

That so many performers again agreed to play Bash's showcase--free--fuels the momentum he gained in the last eight months by staging festivals for the first time in New York and Chicago.

"People had been suggesting I take IPO on the road, and last summer Michael Mazzarella of the Rooks told me, 'You could take this thing to New York,' " Bash says.

The native New Yorker said yes, and the resulting IPONY in December attracted 90 bands to small clubs around a city wounded by the events of Sept. 11.

"It was not the New York I remembered," says Bash. "I got the sense that the people had a renewed sense of life in general."

It followed, then, that Bash would take IPO to Chicago, a power-pop mecca and home of the band whose first album gave the festival its name, Material Issue. "It was a perfect fit," he says of the 150-band event in April.

Bash's wave of inclusion even carried over to this year's IPO album (free to attendees at any show). "International Pop Overthrow Vol. 5" is a three-disc, 68-song collection featuring an unreleased Jellyfish number and tracks by such artists as the Lackloves, Helium Angel, Copperpot, AM Radio, Starbelly and Kevin Tihista.

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IPO begins Friday at the Joint. For a schedule, visit www.internationalpopoverthrow.com.

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