Southampton University

Takedown festival 2013

Virtually under one roof, Southampton University yet again hosts the highly anticipated Takedown Festival this year. Boasting a lineup swelling with quality and swarms of people infesting every stage.

It’s worth mentioning that the immediate quality about this festival which stands out from others is the overwhelming ease of access for trivial factors such as locations of bars, sign posting, and journey times between the five stages on offer, which was almost non existent. It’s the simple things which matter the most!

40 bands. 5 stages. Where do I start? Takedown presents itself to me like a musical buffet; there’s lots on offer but I know I can’t sample it all. Arriving late (unfortunately) I decide to quench my morning musical drought with recent success story Mallory Knox on the Rock Sound stage, who have burst into the limelight following the release of their debut album “Signals”. Their performance pans out exactly as I expected it to, as their enormous accessible sound meets the voices of many present through emphatic sing along choruses and sweeping melodies. Their high energy stage presence, combined with a modest like-ability factor and Mikey Chapman’s flawless vocal display prompts enough evidence to explain why 2013 is likely to be a great year for this band.

Mallory Knox
Mallory Knox 

Following on from a band overdosing with potential, it would make sense to follow this trend, right? Well over at the Big Deal Clothing stage, one of my current favourite bands Idiom, who recently toured with Skindred are tearing up the place. After seeing them destroy their lunch time set at Hit The Deck Festival last month, I was delighted to see them picking up where they left off, as the likes of “When It’s All Said and Done” and “Beast of Bodmin” capitalise this bands triumphant efforts to revive the fresh sounds of nu metal. Matt Sharland once again shines out as a defining factor to this bands potential, as his emphatic display vocally both soars with melody and crushes the foundations of the stage during finisher “Brain Dead”. Keep an eye out, as when Idiom’s new album drops, we could be in for something special.


Next up on the Southampton Music Magazine Stage was arguably the set of the day from local outfit Burn The Fleet, who bid their loyal fan base an emotional farewell under their current name, with plans to restart under a new persona. Although its a special occasion, the band remain composed and deliver an expectedly outstanding performance with tracks such as “Nautilus” catalysing a passionate response from their fans. It was also pretty special to see Don Broco front man, Rob Damiani amongst the energetic crowd for the latter of their set, acting as if he was just another of their fans singing the words back to them. Typical closer “Handfuls of Sand” draws this band’s career to a close in a breathtaking fashion as an enormous sing along reflects on just how much love there is in the room for Burn The Fleet, as Andrew Convey’s bass guitar triumphantly crowd surfs to a lucky new owner.

Burn The Fleet
Burn The Fleet 

Sadly, over at the Small Town Records Stage things are a bit different, as Shadows Chasing Ghosts bid Southampton farewell in a disappointing fashion. As the band relentlessly throw everything they’ve got at their audience. The response given to them couldn’t be much dimmer, as even the powerful “Girl In Sheep’s Clothing” sees one of the most pathetic wall of deaths I have ever seen. It’s one of those days where a band has to feed off the few who care, as they worked hard with little reward from a difficult crowd. It’s certainly not the way they would have wanted to say goodbye to this town.

Shadows Chasing Ghosts
Shadows Chasing Ghosts 

Back over to the Big Deal Clothing Stage, and exciting prospects, Natives are providing their usual brew of infectious pop induced rock anthems. After taking a brave decision to start a new chapter following the demise of Not Advised, the band seem to have completely stripped themselves of any connection with their former selves. But there are times where I’m unsure if it was the right decision. Recent singles “Stand For Something” and “This Island” boast infectious melodies and emphatic vocal work, but they have taken this outfit’s sound from distinguished and eccentric under Not Advised, to occasionally predictable and slightly generic as Natives. It’s early days and there’s potential for something special without a doubt, but only time will tell whether Natives take control of their tribe or find themselves stranded in the tracks of the larger bands in their niche.


The Rock Sound Stage is utterly rammed as Don Broco emerge as the penultimate act on stage this evening, and this is exactly what these boys were made for. Following an immensely successful headline performance at Hit The Deck Festival, the bands confidence and execution has continued to grow, as opener “Priorities” immediately induces the explosive response you would expect a headliner to receive. It’s a showcase of Don Broco’s ability to offer everything on a platter; there’s the effortless sing alongs of “The Whole Truth” and “Yeah Man”. The crushing energy of “Thug Workout” and “Fancy Dress”, and the atmospherics of “Beautiful Morning”, which wrap tightly together into a fluent soundtrack. Rob Damiani clearly faces some issues with the intense heat of the venue, as almost half of his shirt bares the greasy stains of a brutal workout, but never falters both vocally or energetically, as his endless enthusiasm births a constant excitement during each chapter of their performance.

Don Broco
Don Broco 1

So rather than watching While She Sleeps (which I really regret) due to time clashes, I spent a brief moment with Sonic Boom Six who were showcasing their brand of energetic, genre defying punk to a decent crowd at the Big Deal Clothing Stage. As “Virus” begins to swell out as I enter. The band seem slightly tiresome in comparison to when I saw them last month, but when your performances leak flamboyant movement and eccentric instrumentals, how can you blame them? To a first time spectator, their energy will have still seemed impressive, and the likes of “Bang Bang Bang” and “The High Cost of Living” spark endless turning points, meaning you’re never left predicting their next move. Try and dislike this band, I dare you, it’s pretty much impossible.

Sonic Boom Six
Sonic Boom Six 

Finally, closing my day on the Rock Sound Stage are the unmistakable outfit, The Blackout, who may have felt they had the weight of the world on their shoulders before entering the stage tonight, following a lineup boasting a flurry of overwhelming ability. It may have taken a while for a half capacity crowd to emerge, but luckily, this band were born to start the party. Sean Smith and Gavin Butler are a one of a kind pairing, as Butler holds the fort through his orthodox stage presence and soaring vocal quality. Whilst Smith darts about the stage (and inside the crowd) with his typically flamboyant, humorous antics. It’s classics such as “Children of the Night” and “Shut The F**kuppercut” which ignite the crowd, as the blatant die hards of the audience show their love throughout their set. But their newer material still pulsates emphatically, despite latest single “Radio” clearly not matching the heights of their previous material. Their banter spans from suggesting Don Broco, Black Veil Brides, and other unnamed bands perform to backing tracks, as well as Smith offering a Don Broco fan at the front a fiver if she “stopped looking so miserable” for their next song.

The Blackout
The Blackout 12

It’s their high energy, enormous sounding performance, tongue in cheek humour, and distinguishable character which makes The Blackout such a loveable band. They did however struggle with the boiling temperature on stage as the final moments of their set they showed signs of fatigue. Nevertheless, there’s a good reason why this band were recently nominated for Kerrang’s Best Live Band Award and tonight may well have proved they deserve it.

What a day! I want to give a special mention to everyone who made this event such an enormous success, as the fluidity, vibrant atmosphere and warm sense of community of the festival was second to none. Hopefully, in time this festival will be considered on a par with the likes of Slam Dunk, but quite honestly I think we could well see this festival achieving this by 2014. Here’s to many more years of the South Coast’s finest music event of the year.

Set Lists
The Blackout
Ambition Is Critical
Start The Party
We’re Going To Hell..So Bring the Sunblock
Running Scared
Children Of The Night
Top Of The World
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Said & Done
The Storm
Save Ourselves(The Warning)
Higher & Higher
I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!

Don Broco
Whole Truth
Here’s The Thing
Beautiful Morning
Thug Workout
Yeah Man
Hold On
Fancy Dress

Mallory Knox
Wake Up
Death Rattle


More Videos from this gig can be found on our You Tube page.

Band Links

Words By George Fullerton
Pictures & Videos By Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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