LIVE: Takedown Festival @ University, Southampton (15/03/2014)

Date: March 15th, 2014
Venue: University, Southampton


Back again for what will now be its third consecutive year, Takedown Festival takes holds of the Southampton University Student Union and crams it with a plethora of British bands and artists from far and wide, along with a few staple performers from overseas. Spread across five stages on the university campus, including stage headlining sets from the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Rise To Remain, we get stuck in with the festivities at hand.


VERSES – 6/10
Opening up the festival’s main stage nice and early are Brighton pop-rockers Verses, who are just a few months away from finally dropping their debut full-length, ‘Feel It Faster’. A few new cuts from the forthcoming release show promise they could well stand alongside peers such as Canterbury if they get the right push, and though fans today are sparse, they’ve certainly got a few new recruits.

Understandably dubbed as Britain’s answer to early era My Chemical Romance on a regular basis, the suited up goth punks Fearless Vampire Killers have quite a dedicated following. Many of their fans are covered in black and white with make-up across their faces, and singing back almost every word to the likes of ‘Could We Burn, Darling?’. A fun addition to the line-up.

The room truly starts to pack out once Feed The Rhino take to the stage, and their brash and intensely in-your-face brand of hardcore punk understandably gets some of the day’s first pits moving. A look into new songs lifted from their upcoming third album, ‘The Sorrow And The Sound’, sees the band maintaining what we all know and love them for, whilst frontman Lee Tobin dives into the crowd screaming his throat to shreds.

Following several tour runs, including a support run with Mayday Parade, it seems like Cheshire’s Blitz Kids are really starting to kick up some momentum on the scene following their latest record, ‘The Good Youth’. ‘Never Die’ gets most of the room chanting along, and a surpise cover of Brand New hit ‘Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades’, with a guest appearance from Sam Douglas of Mallory Knox and The Hell‘s frontman to give it a bit more kick.

The pop-rock force on main stage continues with Canterbury who, much like the stage’s predecessors, are really on the up lately following latest album, ‘Dark Days’. Indeed, it’s the band’s new offerings like ‘Expensive Imitation’ and ‘Satellite’ which make the best conversion into a live setting and, judging from the crowd singing along, the fans seem to agree too.

Easily the stage’s heaviest act and also its most diverse, illustrator by day and extravagant musician by night Jamie Lenman delivers a set dense with his heavier and harder hitting material for the Takedown crowd, his first festival appearance since his band Reuben‘s split in 2008. From the Converge-esque punk buzz of ‘Fizzy Blood’ to the relentlessly crushing ‘All The Things You Hate About Me, I Hate Them Too’ along closing epic ‘Shambles’ is a statement that Lenman could well be the bill’s strongest addition.

Many a-fan here today may be witnessing Kids In Glass Houses for what will be the very last time. Recently announcing that they’ll be calling it a day following a few festival slots and one last headline tour in October, the Welsh outfit pull out all of the live favourites. The likes of ‘Youngblood (Let It Out)’ and the title-track from latest album ‘Peace’ at times sees frontman Aled Phillips overpowered by the crowd, but nevermore than the closing one-two of ‘Give Me What I Want’ and ‘Matters At All’.

British post-hardcore veterans Funeral For A Friend have always had a strong fanbase throughout their over 13 year long career to date, even during their admittedly rocky years between third album fourth albums ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ and ‘Memory And Humanity’, records which even the members have stated on a few occassions they’re unsure on. It makes sense then, that generally stick to material from their first and last two records.

The nostalgia that hits with tracks like ‘Escape Artists Never Die’, ‘Bullet Theory’ and ‘Roses For The Dead’ is enough to have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up straight, but frontman Matthew Davies opting to mould them into more brash versions by screaming most of the vocals gives us insight into where the band may be taking themselves come album number seven later this year. Still, it’s the big ones like ‘History’, ‘Streetcar’ and ‘Juneau’ which really embed why FFAF are such a fantastic band.


Birmingham based hardcore troupe The Catharsis are bestowed with the honour of being one of the opening bands at this year’s Takedown Festival, and they certainly don’t squandor the opportunity. Infact, they manage to claw themselves the title of being one of the stage’s most impressive acts. Frontman Morgan Tedd sounds like he’s trying to scream a demon from out of his being, and throws himself about the stage as if he’s possessed.

Originally scheduled to play on one of the festival’s smaller stages, Saint The Sinner are bunked up to a stage that just about fits the sextet and all of their gear. They step up to the plate with very little nerves on show and, though their deliverance is indeed strong, the band still look somewhat unsure. However, as still relatively unknown names in the scene, the trade-offs between frontmen Jimi and Luke along with the small pits the band incite are signs they’re doing something right here.

Known better to most under their previous name of Subsource, London newbies Black Futures prove to be one of the most exciting outfits that this year’s Takedown has to offer. Frontman Stu Henshall comes to the forefront with a huge electric cello and, together with bandmates Paul Frazer and Vince Welch supply a The Prodigy-esque product with a darker edge. With a few original tracks along with an impressive remix of Slipknot hit ‘Duality’, Black Futures prove you don’t need to tip it on the side and say “cello” to have bass.

THE HELL – 6/10
Very little is known about The Hell, except they like to stay anonymous, they’re very pissed off and they like to scream the word “dick” a lot, even during soundcheck. Though indeed they’re very aggressive and right in your face to get you aggressive with them, there’s very little to take from the hardcore outfit. Sure, The Hell definitely give off the impressive that they’re more for a quick fun burst to let off some steam, which is cool, but that’s it.

Coming out from hiding for several months, Heart In Hand are Southampton locals and Takedown is one of the band’s first shows in a while. Their set is, understandably, slightly rusty and, though frontman Charlie Holmes‘ impassioned screams are clearly a product of a heart-on-his-sleeve topic and lyrics that reflect as such, songs like ‘Only Memories’ and ‘Almost There’ have been portrayed better.

IDIOM – 7/10
The best way to describe Idiom is a cross between the abrasive Cancer Bats and pop-punk favourites ala Zebrahead and New Found Glory. Indeed, the Exeter based four-piece follow a rather formulaic but also rather addictive blueprint track after track; opting for a hardcore punk bordering on metal verse which sandwiches a pop-punk/pop-rock orientated chorus hook. They even shove in a rather risky but impressive cover of Alex Clare‘s chart botherer ‘Too Close’, which gets a few people moving on the floor.

Things turn over to rib caving and ear rattling metalcore on the Uprawr stage now for Heart Of A Coward, who’ve truly become one of the UK’s strongest heavy bands today. Bringing pits aplenty for the likes of ‘Deadweight’ and ‘Around A Girl (In 80 Days)’, the crowd go absolutely mental for the Milton Keynes based heavy hitters. Frontman Jamie Graham brings blood-curdling screams and roars from start-to-finish, solidifying a punishing set.

YASHIN – 7/10
With Hacktivist forced to move onto a later slot on the smaller Big Deal Clothing stage, Yashin follow-up and, much like earlier Uprawr stage performers Heart In Hand, this Scottish post-hardcore troupe have been away from the live circuit for a wee while. Again, much like their earlier contemporaries, Yashin seem a little loose, but offering us cuts from upcoming third album ‘Renegades’ such as the title-track and latest single ‘D.E.A.D.’, along with crowd favourites like ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Runaway Train’, they manage to pull a worthwhile performance out of the bag.

Taking the Uprawr stage headline spot after metal masters Chimaira were forced to pull out at the last minute, London’s Rise To Remain ensure that this chance does not go without their full efforts implemented. The British metal outfit bring forth all of their fan favourites, from ‘Nothing Left’ to ‘The Serpent’, along with one or two tasters of what’s to come from their highly anticipated sophomore record. Frontman Austin Dickinson at one point climbs on top of the stage’s side speakers whilst he screams some lyrics and, when some of the cleans come into play, it’s evident he’s beginning to sound more and more like his father.


Unfortunately, we were unable to catch and review any acts that performed on this stage.


Unfortunately, we were unable to catch and review any acts that performed on this stage.


Unfortunately, we were unable to catch and review any acts that performed on this stage.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)