International Pop Overthrow was launched in 1998 in Los Angeles as a showcase for the best power pop bands in the country.
It became so popular, so fast that in the past 10 years, founder David Bash has added satellite festivals in cities as far-flung as Chicago, New York and Liverpool, England, arguably the birthplace of the melodic rock and roll style.
Now, Bash adds Milwaukee to the roster, with a series of gigs at Linneman's Riverwest Inn May 1-4. It's part of an adventurous explosion of the event into 13 cities this year, including Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, Vancouver and Chapel Hill, among others.
"We did the festival exclusively in L.A. until 2001, when I decided to take it on the road," Bash recalls. "We took IPO to New York in November 2001 and that went very well. We followed with Chicago in 2002 and that also went well. We added Liverpool, UK -- at The Cavern Club -- in 2003. Each year we add one or more new cities, and as of 2008 we're doing 13 cities."
A number of Milwaukee bands, including Trolley and The Nice Outfit have played the event over the years and that led Bash to consider Brew City, he says.
"I decided to add Milwaukee because I had gotten to know a lot of good pop bands from Milwaukee, who had come to play the Chicago IPO over the years. It made perfect sense to add Milwaukee given its proximity to Chicago and given that I knew the city had a healthy pop scene.
"Plus, several bands recommended Linneman's, and after speaking to the club's owner, who's a great guy and very promoter / musician friendly, it was a done deal! I'm very much looking forward to doing the festival in Milwaukee, as well as at Linneman's. It's going to be a great time, and people who come to the shows are going to see some awesome bands!"
Helping to spur it all was Milwaukee musician Paul Wall, who as a member of Trolley, The Nice Outfit, The Exotics and other bands has championed Milwaukee power pop here and beyond the city, too.
"I don't have much to do with IPO, but I did suggest a few bands," says Wall, whose bandThe Nice Outfit is playing the Chicago IPO this year, along with The Lackloves. "Although I'm not officially involved, (I'm) making some introductions."
The Milwaukee shows -- each has an $8 cover -- feature six bands each night, beginning at 8 p.m. except a Sunday, May 4 matinee, which has seven acts and begins at 3 p.m.
Thursday features Drew Neely, Litmus Vinyl, Fresh Pulp!, Certain Stars, Trolley and Knit Delicate. Friday has Stukenberg, The Pugilists, Sweet Jelly, Plexi 3, The Dark Horse Project and Spill. Saturday includes Owen Sartori, The Pulltops, Fun With Atoms, The Midwest Beat, The Nice Outfit and The Lackloves. Sunday's gig has The Cutouts, Luminol, Heathrow, Van Go, Nick Pipitone, Jetty Boys and White-Hot Tizzies.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.