This past Saturday (the 7th March) we (just me by myself) had the pleasure of covering Takedown festival, hosted by Advanced Promotions over at Southampton University. With a line up of over 40 bands, safe to say, I couldn’t see them all. But the ones I did manage to catch were awesome. A couple of personal highlights were discovering Dirt for the first time, killing it on the Big Deal Clothing stage. Long time favourites Rolo Tomassi going crazy on main stage and The Blackout bidding their farewells with one last party. I managed to get a whole heap of photos of the day, and have included a select few below on this post. We’ll be posting more band specific coverage over the week so check back!
But here’s a brief overview:
Firstly, though it’s not very Rock’n’Roll of me, I want to commend the staff and organisation of the day! It was super easy to get to with their directions, so many staff on site meant that I encountered no problems throughout the entire day, all ran smoothly!
After gaining my bearings it was just about time to catch one of the first acts of the day; Prolong the Agony, fairly local guys from Portsmouth who had a big challenge kicking off the day. But they came out full of energy and really started the festival off right. Straight up heavy metalcore with a nice head banging groove – start as you mean to go on.
I made a point throughout the day to visit the Southampton Introducing stage when possible – support the little guys! The first band I checked out here was Circle of Reason an Alt Rock band from, surprisingly, Southampton! A talented bunch of guys playing through a list of released singles comprising of nice riffs and even a couple of dual harmony solos, safe to say the crowd enjoyed it.
Luckily I remembered my ear plugs, for a change, as things were not getting… quieter. I headed next door to the Uprawr stage to check out Metal band Confessions of a Traitor. Front man Stephen MacConville spent almost just as much time in the crowd instigating mosh pits as on stage. As a result everyone was having a good time, listening to their brutally hardcore blend of metal – they even covered Linkin Park’s One Step Closer and it was awesome.
Running across the campus over to the main stage I managed to catch some of Emp!re‘s set – again a very energetic band. Fronted by a very unique vocalist who simply loved being on stage and accompanied by just as unique musicians, Emp!re provide a fresh sound. It was at this point the festival began to warm up, both in a figurative and literal sense – thank god for the giant fans.
Gone By Tomorrow were up next on the Southampton Introducing stage, gaining quite a large crowd in the process. Playing straight to the point metalcore, the snarling Lewis Smyth got up close and intimate with the crowd whilst guitarist Luke Smithson handled the cleans.
As mentioned earlier prior to the festival I had never heard of Dirt before, later I discovered they only have one EP and that might be why, but regardless they played a tight set and really gained a crowd. Combining tame verses and choruses with wonderful clean vocals, and heavier sections riddled with technical riffs and solos. Dirt are definitely a band to watch this year.
InMe have been around for… a couple of years. At Takedown they played arguable the album of their career 2003’s Overgrown Eden in it’s entirety, and they filled the room, waves of people were singing the words back at Dave McPherson, who was joined onstage at one point by Mallory Knox vocalist Mikey Chapman. Overall veteran InMe fans were very happy.
Blood Youth played their first live show under the current name, and with the current line up, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell as the room gradually filled up. They started off a little slow, but soon got in the swing of things and gave a great performance, tapping guitar parts and intense screaming vocals spliced in for good measure, by the end of the set they left with a room full of fans. It’s gonna be tough to top in their second show.
Bristol based grunge(ish) band Milk Teeth were a band I had to see at the festival. Their blend of catchy sweet sounding pop sections juxtaposed next to the grunge fuelled punk-like breakouts are awesome to listen to and even better live. The four piece moved around the stage with such nonchalance, whilst being psyched to perform, it was the most punk thing ever – and you’ve got to applaud that ethic… and their EPs are fantastic, check them out!
Rolo Tomassi. Anyone not familiar I’ll try to sum up the genre. They are like: acid, jazz, easy listening, mathcore metal. But who needs genres? Fronted by Eva Spence who between songs uttered a very polite ‘thank you very much‘ to the audience before launching into the next howling number, where time signatures went out the window and and the crowd was carnage. They have a new song out this week and a new album in June, give them a listen – if you’re up to the challenge.
The final act I saw on the Southampton Introducing stage were Portsmouth based Seething Akira who blend mixes of rock and metal, with hip-hop and electronic music. My summary would be, Rage Against the Machine plus dubstep, but it’s not that simple. They were very unique and both vocalists joined the crowd to mosh, everyone had a good time and they were a great find.
If you haven’t heard of The Hell it’s probably best you keep it that way. After coming on stage cladded in traditional attire – shades, bandanas and gold chains, the audience were immediately insulted, mercilessly and repeatedly… And they loved it, luckily The Hell back up their talk with simple, heavy… ridiculously heavy, songs about partying and how they are better than everyone else. You have to get them, and the people in the crowd who did not looked horrified. A must watch. 10/10.
As the sun set the festival was still going strong. Back over on the Big Deal Clothing stage it’s was Decade‘s time to shine. After seeing fans wearing their merch floating about all day I wasn’t surprised in the slightest to see the whole room packed out for their set. If anything the only people surprised at the turnout were the band themselves, who were humbled and in turn put on an awesome, fun filled, intimate set.
The Blackout announced last year that they were calling it a day, and Takedown was to be their last festival appearance, so they were going out with a bang. Playing hits both old and new to a packed out room – it was one big party. The only ‘boo’s to be heard were that of the audience whenever vocalist Sean Smith mentioned anything to do with the final shows or the end of their set. Thoroughly enjoyable. Good luck with their final few shows, catch them if you can.
Fortunately, and unfortunately, Moose Blood were the last band I saw. Unfortunate due to having to leave early, but alas, living overseas has a price to pay. But what a great band to go out on. 2014 saw them launch debut album ‘I’ll keep you in mind, from time to time‘ and since it’s release I’m sure almost every person in that room had learnt the lyrics off by heart. Frontman Eddy Brewerton seemed to be speechless when the crowd sang back the words back to him almost as loud and heartfelt as he delivered them into the microphone.
Definitely worth the travel, top bands, great performances. I can’t wait to see how they improve again for next year’s event already.
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