Find out who’s who at this year’s Takedown Festival in Southampton!
The time is nigh, and festival season is upon us once more. Whilst most of the more expansive ones happen in the summer (summer hols and camping, innit), the early birds are getting things started already.
Many of these are taking to form of one-day events, such as this Saturday’s Takedown Festival, which is now in its third year at Southampton Uni, but has been around for a little longer than that, so they’ve got up a good head of steam, and are set to put on another successful and varied bill.
Simon reported on the festival last year, and will be doing the same again this year, but in order to give you lot a bit of a heads up, he and I have banded together and written this stage-by-stage primer of what to expect from some of the choice acts. Without any further ado:
Southampton Music stage
Our Hollow Our Home - 3:05pm
This festival slot comes at an opportune time for the band, as they seek to promote their debut EP //Redefine. They’ve been together for a couple of years now, and are one of the event’s hometown bands, so they’ll have something to prove. None of us have seen them live before, but their sound is a sort of anthemic post-hardcore, with equal parts singing and screaming coming from guitarist Tobias Young and vocalist Connor Hallisey.
Seasons In Wreckage – 3:45pm
With a firm emphasis on the ‘melodic’ of ‘melodic hardcore’ Seasons In Wreckage promise to inject some early energy into the day. The Portsmouth five-piece put out their label debut Perspectives late last year, and will most likely be playing a lot from that, including single “Above The Trees.” It’s fairly standard, emotive stuff, with dips into more post-hardcore territory, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Emp!re – 7:10pm
This quintet from the South West formed in 2012, and turned heads throughout 2013 with their debut mini-album Where The World Begins. Their not-so-secret weapon is vocalist Joe Green, whose distinctive, soulful, high-pitched voice gives their anthemic, Coheed-inspired rock an added twist, along with a whole truckload of memorable melodies. Front and centre is latest single “Future, Past and Present“, which includes a chorus hook that has ‘earworm’ written all over it. Certainly, any fans of Zoax at a loose end when their set rolls around will find it worth their while to check them out.
Big Deal Clothing stage
Zoax – 4:40pm
Despite only forming last year, London quintet Zoax have been making a name for themselves on the live scene, and have also attracted the attention of, and signed to, Siege Of Amida Records. Their debut EP XIII has just been released, and off the back of all of this, a slot at Takedown seems like just reward. Audiences will be treated to a eclectic blend of post-hardcore and rock, performed with passion and verve, and fronted by a charistmatic Irishman who will do everything in his power to get you to the front of the room. All of you. At the same time.
Centiment – 5:40pm
It’s been in the pipeline for a while, but with their very well received debut album released, and a first tour under their belts, 2014 has started with a bang for Centiment. 3/5ths of the line-up may well be 3/4ths of InMe, but Centiment is a very different beast indeed, with the only real comparison being singer Dave McPherson’s knack for writing huge chorus melodies. Throwing the influences of a lifelong passion for video games into the mix to spice up their beefy tech-metal riffery, these Monolith favourites were a late addition to the Takedown bill, but a most welcome one.
Baby Godzilla – 8:00pm
Hold on to anything that is not bolted down. Anything that can be pried loose is deemed to be not bolted down. Baby Godzilla are building a reputation that most bands would willingly sacrifice their bass player to obtain. You don’t watch BG, you experience them. The lines between band, stage, audience and even ceiling get blurred to the point they are meaningless. They play a ferocious and ramshackle strain of shouty hardcore, and do so with levels of passion, intensity and energy that have to be seen to be believed. Brace yourselves.
Total Rock stage
Skarlett Riot – 4:30pm
“Total rock” is the right name for this stage all right. There’s a lot of the genre on display on this stage, but it’s the ones with a little something extra that are worth your time. Skarlett Riot’s name might put you off, but they’re legitimately quite good. Titular frontwoman Skarlett (we do sometimes worry when bands are named after one person – if they leave you’re a bit screwed) has a great set of pipes, but also the presence to front this style of band. The music is nothing revolutionary, but it’s far from boring, and has a real professional edge.
Black Spiders – 8:00pm
Sheffield quintet Black Spiders have the attitude and the party attitude to carry off their rock and roll tag, but they’ll undoubtedly appeal to metal fans as well. Long flowing beards and tattoos in abundance, they combine the energetic riffery of bands like Every Time I Die and Kvelertak to craft a potent mix of strong songwriting and musical credibility. With songs like “Balls” – from their latest This Savage Land – proclaiming “come and have a go if you think today’s the day // you gotta have balls”, this early evening set should be a whole lot of fun.
The Catharsis – 1:50pm
Brummy in name only, The Catharsis are far from your slow-talking, amiable Midlanders; in fact, the name is as descriptive as you’re likely to get. Their premium brand of muscular hardcore is very mosh-worthy – with big riffs and a breakdown or two (though not overdone, mind) – and at times there’s a little bit of The Chariot or Norma Jean about them. A pit or two would certainly not be out of the question, even this early in the day.
Black Futures – 3:20pm
Known as Subsource until the end of 2013, Black Futures are something of a Takedown favourite, returning for the third year running. The Guildford band will be plying their infectious collision of punk energy, metal attitude, dubstep beats and assorted electronica squelches to a relatively early slot on the bill – so they’ll provide an ideal opportunity for a mid-afternoon boogie. We don’t know what to expect from the new-look band, but we are hoping for a taste of new material from their upcoming album, a couple of old favourites and their thoroughly barnstorming cover of Slipknot‘s “Duality“, which has to be heard to be believed.
The Hell – 4:05pm
It is, as they say, the motherfucking Hell, you dicks. Brash, snotty, shouty and really very sweary indeed, The Hell are not for the faint of heart. The band is comprised of a large but anonymous group of members that stay hidden behind bandanas, with rumours of various luminaries from the UK metal/hardcore scene being part of the line-up. Whilst sometimes divisive – and deliberately so – the band kick out a dirty and down-tuned brand of ferocious hardcore that packs a punch and some serious groove, with lyrical themes that are firmly tongue in cheek. Their set promises to be quite the spectacle.
Heart Of A Coward – 6:20pm
Heart Of A Coward once counted amongst their number current members of Hacktivist, but with two albums under their belt, the band are leaving those days well behind and forging a powerful sound that takes elements of djent and hardcore, then bundles them up with some satisfyingly lip-curling chug. Following the 11th hour cancellation of Chimara, HoaC are probably the outright heaviest band on the bill, and “Deadweight” from latest album Severance is a bona fide metal classic in the making. If you’re looking to bang your head at all at Takedown, HoaC are a must-see.
Hacktivist – 7:10pm
In 2013, it would have been easier to count the festivals where Hacktivist didn’t make an appearance than those they did. This apparent ubiquity looks set to continue in 2014. Fresh from tearing up Australia as part of Soundwave, and one of a handful of bands making a return trip to Takedown from the 2013 bill, the Milton Keynes quintet will be bringing their crowd-pleasing grime-djent hybrid. Expect lashings of eighth string action, a vigorous moshpit, a veritable forest of middle fingers and a generous portion of sticking it to The Man.
Yashin – 8:00pm
Yashin might just surprise you. They mix the tight-trousered, side-swoopy edge of a mid-2000s emo band – albeit with proper riffs – with a distinctly more metal edge, thanks to second vocalist Kevin Miles. The sections where he has the stage or distinctly meatier, and good fun festival fodder. They appear very good at what they do, so it’s all down to taste really.
Feed The Rhino – 4:10pm
Falling somewhere between metalcore and post-hardcore, Feed The Rhino have been quietly gaining fans since they formed in 2010, and with merit. Frontman Lee Tobin is a formidable presence, at the spearhead of a canny quartet feeding his fearsome, tattooed, bearded rhino of a performance. They’re a lot of fun to watch, but also have hidden depths, and some quality songwriting. “Tides” from 2012′s second album The Burning Sons is a good example of this – building from a delicate, sung section into a barnstorming climax. Their infectious energy should certainly get things going.
Jamie Lenman – 7:20pm
The keen-eyed amongst you might recognise the name Jamie Lenman as the former frontman of seminal British post-hardcore band Reuben. Reuben parted ways in 2008, and Lenman has been keeping busy as an illustrator ever since, but by god is he back. In November he released the mammoth 23-song double album Muscle Memory, which was half savage hardcore, half porch-swinging, banjo-playing, sharp-suited big band rock. It’s utterly disarming in every way, and Jamie’s set promises to be one of the highlights of the festival.
Kids In Glass Houses – 8:30pm
Kids In Glass Houses are disbanding this year after over 11 years in the business. An October farewell tour will be the last chance to see them, but that won’t be hitting Southampton, so this might be your last chance to see them if you fear travelling beyond the city limits. Despite their name being inspired by a Glassjaw lyric, their M.O. is more geared towards upbeat pop-rock, but they’ve been doing it long enough to know what’s what. Should be a fairly good set, even if that’s not your thing.
Funeral For A Friend – 10:00pm
They have lost their harder edge when long-serving drummer and screaming vocalist Ryan Richards left the band in 2012, but Funeral For A Friend are still going strong, well into their second decade. The addition of Rise To Remain drummer Pat Lundy has kept things tight at the back, and last year’s sixth album Conduit was received well, if generally without much fanfare. At the more to-the-point end of post-hardcore, FFAF are a band it’s probably much better to see live than listen to on CD – bystanders will get them much better that way. Otherwise, the Welsh five-piece should provide a really good draw to the south coast, providing anthemic tunes to round off the festival in style.
So there you have it. There are undoubtedly one or two we’ve missed, or just aren’t into, so it’s worth checking out the others too. Below is the most up-to-date stage time guide. Enjoy yourselves, and make sure you tell us how it was for you!