Part 2 Review: Takedown Festival at Southampton University (07/03/15)

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Takedown Festival returned to Southampton for its fourth year running, showcasing a brilliantly varied range of acts that offered something for everyone.

Opening up the Obsidian Stage were Guildford four-piece Miss Vincent, who were slightly reminiscent of an early Yellowcard. Despite being one of the first bands to play at Takedown, Miss Vincent managed to gather quite a crowd, and soon had said audience jumping along to their catchy tunes. Over on the Big Deal Stage were Astroid Boys, a mix of everything from grime to hardcore to hip-hop, offering something completely different to Miss Vincent’s earlier neat pop-punk. Their set was full of fiercely delivered verse and wonderfully sinister grooves, which certainly got the crowd moving. Next up on the District Stage were EMP!RE, who were full of charisma and confidence. Their straight-up solid rock riffs had their own unique twist, in the form of skittering vocal melodies, which made for an original and engaging performance.

Elsewhere, however, other acts were not quite so on point. Dendera, on the Uprawr Stage, delivered a solid performance with quick, effortless guitar solos, but their songs were lacking in originality and didn’t do much to liven up their sparse audience. On the Introducing Stage, Forever Never‘s set also fell a little flat on the crowd. At times, their melodies were lost amongst their furious riffs and breakdowns, which ploughed on rather uninterestingly. But perhaps with a little refinement, they might have some potential.

On the District Stage, InMe were vastly more impressive. There was the risk that their 2003 album Overgrown Eden, which they played in full, might have sounded dated or tired, but this wasn’t the case at all. Overgrown Eden’s big, slab-like riffs were as powerful as ever, and favourites like ‘Firefly’ and ‘Crushed Like Fruit’ were amplified tenfold by the voices of the crowd. At the slightly lighter end of the spectrum were Decade on the Big Deal Stage, playing fresh and lively pop-punk tunes that were infectiously catchy, filled with sing-along choruses. Later, on the same stage, were the much-talked-about Moose Blood, who certainly lived up to the current hype surrounding them. There was something about their understated, insular performance style, with frontman Eddy Brewerton stating his thanks timidly into the microphone between songs, that was particularly engaging. Their wonderfully honest and heartfelt lyrics resonated throughout the room, sung back passionately by the crowd, making their set all the more poignant and special. Clearly, Moose Blood are ones to watch in the coming year.

One of the highlights of Takedown Festival was, arguably, The Blackout, who exploded onto the District Stage with a relentless energy that never let up for the entirety of their set. It is rather apt that their last full-length album release was called Start The Party, because this is precisely what they did. Joint frontmen Sean Smith and Gavin Butler bounded across the stage tirelessly, energising the crowd whose voices raised the roof in fan-favourites like ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ and ‘Save Ourselves’. It is, certainly, a crying shame that Takedown was The Blackout’s ever festival, but they couldn’t have finished on a better note.

Following The Blackout on the District Stage, and creating an entirely different vibe, was Charlie Simpson. Throughout his performance, Simpson’s husky vocals were strikingly powerful, and harmonised beautifully with his band. A stunning, rendition of Young Pilgrim’s ‘Riverbanks’ closed his set and left the audience wanting more.

As soon as Mallory Knox took to the District Stage, it was clear that they absolutely deserved to be headlining Takedown Festival. The band as a whole were a confident, tight unit, commandeering the stage effortlessly. Frontman Mikey Chapman’s vocals were unfaltering, soaring through the room with the aid of the crowd’s voices on spectacular singles like ‘Shout At The Moon’ and ‘Wake Up’. All in all, Mallory Knox were the perfect end to a thoroughly enjoyable and diverse day of music.

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Final year English Literature student. Often found making lots of noise behind a drum kit. Also a writer of album & live reviews, features and news articles.

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