LIVE: Takedown 2015 @ University of Southampton

By Ben Tipple

Spread across various venues at the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus, Takedown Festival will be immediately familiar to anyone who has ventured to Leeds or Hatfield for Slam Dunk. Undoubtedly inspired by the latter, it may be easy to unfairly dismiss Takedown as its little brother. Despite perhaps not boasting the crowd pleasing heavy-hitters, Southampton’s festival is still far from a mere wannabe. With impeccable organisation, an electric atmosphere and copious amounts of new (primarily British) music, Takedown have firmly put thrown hat into the ring with this year’s offering. [BT]

First up today are Zoax, who never do things by halves. The London-based band may be first on the main stage today, but they don’t let the early slot calm them down. If anything, they kick things off in suitably rowdy style, and frontman Adam Carroll is a chaotic ball of energy. It’s a great way to start the day, and it’s clear to see that these guys have a very exciting future ahead of them. [LMW]


Over on the Big Deal stage, South Wales’ Astroid Boys bring the ruckus. With the return of co-frontman Benji Kendell, things feel a little chaotic onstage. The band seem to have gone in a more grime-based direction recently, and there’s a little less of the hardcore element that has always made them go down a storm at rock festivals. Despite this, one thing you can always rely on with Astroid Boys is their live show: they will always bring an insane energy, the crowd will always kick off, and everyone will always have a great time. [LMW]

South West rockers Empire have clearly been honing their skills over the last few months, as their District Stage slot sees an almost unrecognisable pop-rock powerhouse deliver a wave of catchy tracks. Hindered by sound issues that befall a number of emptier rooms across the site, frontman Joe Green breaks through with his impressive abilities. The new track in the mix is easily the most infectious, and it looks like the band are finally on the way to becoming the melody driven beasts they have previously only threatened to be. [BT]

Providing an altogether more solemn affair, Milk Teeth deliver their usual angst-laden grunge to a largely lacklustre crowd. Delivered with a nonchalant confidence the band have become accustomed to, the four-piece certainly stand out on a bill filled with more straightforward pop-rock and British metalcore. Struggling to engage fully with a crowd presumably interested in those genres, Milk Teeth still rip through a gritty set – highlighted by the down-tempo ‘Swear Jar’ and recent single and set closer ‘Vitamins’. [BT]

Over on the Uprawr stage, things get a little silly (in the best way possible) with The Hell. With songs like ‘Shit Just Got Real’ and ‘Bangers and Mosh’, there’s no way of watching this band without having fun. The set’s highlight is when the stage gets bombarded by several people, including Lower Than Atlantis’ Mike Duce, who goes on to crowdsurf. It’s a completely ridiculous set and it’s everything you’d hope for and more from The Hell. Bloody great fun. [LMW]

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The return of the undefinable Rolo Tomassi quickly proves to be one of the highlights of the day, as dual vocalists Eva and James Spence scream, writhe and sing to erratic time signatures and destructive riffs. Still experts at their art, recent time away from the live scene has clearly had no detrimental effect on their abundant skill. There’s a power in the band’s performance that hasn’t waned in their ten years, and one that turns the District Stage atmosphere frantic, immersive and disturbingly beautiful. [BT]

From the moment Will Gould takes to the comparably tiny Big Deal Clothing Stage donned in the band’s signature black, goth-inspired garb, Creeper are immediately mesmerising. There’s more than a little pre-theatrics Gerard Way running through Gould’s veins, as his mannerisms (if not his vocals) channel Way’s attention grabbing stage presence. Their melodic punk shines brightly in these surroundings, and could easily be projected onto bigger stages. With a call to encourage stage divers causing security’s eyes to glaze over, all are left suitably shell-shocked as the beautiful ‘Novena’ rings out. [BT]


Grunge rockers Allusondrugs are today’s sore thumb. Having recently supported Enter Shikari alongside Feed The Rhino to some confusion from those in attendance, Allusondrugs are still straddling many very different scenes. Their indie-esque tones and unashamedly extroverted stage antics may see them at odds with the remainder of the bands on the Obsidian Stage, but that doesn’t stop their gritty 90s inspired tones and complete disregard for convention proving as electric as ever. Really whichever scene they are in, Allusondrugs are ready to fuck it up. [BT]

Over on the main stage, The Blackout are playing their last ever festival (and South Coast show). It’s an unbelievable set, and it draws the biggest crowd of the day. They could easily have headlined this festival. Whatever you may think of them, The Blackout are one of the best live bands around, and it’s almost impossible to be miserable while you’re watching them. Tonight’s set is ridiculously good fun, and The Blackout’s stage presence, charisma and wildly catchy songs will be missed hugely when they’re gone. [LMW]

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The biggest singalong of the day is reserved for Kent outfit Moose Blood. Evidently the last time the band will play a stage this small at any festival, the emo four-piece whip the audience up into frenzy without even trying. Opening on ‘Bukowski’, Moose Blood allow the music to do the majority of the talking, with the open and honest – sometimes clichéd – lyrics resonating around the evening crowd. Moose Blood have had significant momentum behind them in recent months, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down today. [BT]

Over on the District stage, Charlie Simpson is melting the hearts of every female (and a lot of males) in the room. You may know Charlie from Fightstar (or very possibly as a former member of Busted), but he has well and truly proven himself as a hugely talented solo artist, hence playing so high up the bill tonight. Armed with that incredible voice and a plethora of beautiful songs, his set is a resounding success. Despite being one of the more mellow bands on the main stage, he well and truly holds his own. Wonderful. [LMW]

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Next up, something a lot rowdier: Baby Godzilla causing complete and utter chaos on the Big Deal stage. If you haven’t seen them play before, you honestly have no idea what ‘rowdy’ means. Not content with playing on the stage, Baby Godzilla cover almost every square inch of the room: tables, chairs, window ledges, anything they can get their hands on. The crowd are utterly delighted, and it’s exhilarating to watch. This band are one of the most exciting around right now, so if you haven’t seen them yet, you’re missing out. [LMW]

The singular alternative to District headliners Mallory Knox, London multi genre four-piece The One Hundred have a surprisingly healthy turn out. Led by the wildly charismatic Jacob Field, the rap-rock-electric-metal hybrid is met by a sea of bodies banging into each other with a blissful disregard. Charged, powerful and refreshingly gimmick-free, The One Hundred prove that they are genuinely worth your time. [BT]

This is Mallory Knox‘s first headline set at a festival, but you wouldn’t know it from the ease they show onstage. Despite being hugely jetlagged after their US tour, the band completely and utterly smash it. They’ve got some huge bangers under their belt and the victorious singalongs in the room show just how far this band have come. They’ve gone from playing small clubs to performing to adoring fans as festival headliners, and the transition has been incredibly smooth. With such catchy hits and an extremely loyal fanbase, this is only the beginning for Mallory Knox, and rightly so. [LMW]

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