It takes more than illness to keep David Bash from travelling. Bash has been coming to Vancouver for the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) for twelve straight years, organizing and hosting a showcase of pop, power pop, and pop punk bands. It's quite the hobby, and one which also sees the pop impresario making pilgrimages to Stockholm, Liverpool, Toronto, and a dozen or more cities across the United States. But the last couple of years have been a bit of a rocky ride.
"I had a heart attack in January of 2015," Bash tells the Straight, "which caused me to miss one IPO that year, in Detroit." Then "in November of 2016, I had a few other medical and emotional issues which messed me up quite a bit, and caused me to miss the final five IPO festivals that year. Thankfully, I had friends/colleagues in all of those cities who were qualified to run things in my absence."
Bash is happy to report that he's "got it all straightened out," and that he will be present as usual—those missed shows were a true anomaly for the promoter—when the 12th annual Vancouver IPO kicks off at the Fairview Pub on Wednesday (August 30).
What are standout moments for past Vancouver IPOs?
"The one that most quickly comes to mind was in the first year, at the Railway," Bash answers, referring to the original home of the IPO, "when my friend and colleague Ralph Alfonso of Bongo Beat Records told me at the beginning of our Saturday night show that Paul Hyde and Bob Rock of the Payola$ were going to come and do an inpromptu gig at the end of the night. I waited until about two hours before they were to show up to make the announcement from the stage, and when I did, you should have seen the cell phones come out of pockets," he says with a laugh.
This was in the days before everyone was packing a video camera on their phone, sadly; no footage of the event exists on YouTube, through Rock and Hyde "came as planned and did an amazing job."
We're not expecting a repeat of that this year, but many of the acts for the 2017 Vancouver IPO are strikingly familiar, having played the 2016 IPO, as well: a casual glance shows that over a dozen bands on the bill—including ell-ectric, Siobahn Duvall, Jody Quine, NOT Mentally Prepared, Edmonton Block Heater, Gold Stars are for Suckers, Preston & Fletcher, and Cass King and the Next Right Thing—number among IPO returnees.
Bash is particularly enthusiastic to catch the Top Boost again, "a young trio from Vancouver whose sound is very evocative of the Byrds and other '60s bands," who played their first IPO last year. "It's remarkable that a band so young has reached back into music history to come up with their sound, and they do it so well." The Top Boost's "What If She Loves You" is the first track on the 66 song IPO compilation album—volume twenty, Bash says—"which will be given to those who attend IPO Vancouver, while supplies last."
Of the bands this writer has seen on the bill, meanwhile, Cass King and the Next Right Thing—an outfit whose music ranges from faultless soul and R&B to rip-'em-up new wave covers —is a big draw. (The Straight also has recently paid dues to Pill Squad, playing the opening night.)
Besides hosting the IPO, Bash, who calls Vancouver his "favourite city in the world," is looking forward to record shopping and hitting some Indian restaraunts while in town.
"Also, September 2nd is my birthday, and that happens to be the final night of IPO Vancouver." (Kinda nice that he schedules the IPO so he can spend his birthday here, eh?)
Bash has billed that show as "David's Birthday Bash" and hopes Vancouverites will come celebrate with him and discover new music; besides Cass King and an "IPO All-Stars jam," acts include Morty Shallman, Danny Echo, Rocky Milino Jr, Star Collector, and We Found a Lovebird—the current project of long-time Vancouverite Larry Lechner, formerly of the Velveteens and Conrad, who has been known to occasionally break out a radical reworking of legendary (and recently reformed!) Vancouver band Slow's "Have Not Been the Same" as part of his sets.
Artists wishing to audition for the 2018 International Pop Overthrow are invited to contact Bash via firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know how he can hear their music. "Generally I prefer they give me a link to their music page, rather than send a CD right off the bat, but if it turns out I like their music, I will ask for a CD."