The Southampton Cellar Bar

The Road To Takedown

Featuring 6 Minutes to Sunrise, Western Sand, Dendera and – ‘surprise headliners’ Baby Godzilla

With the Kerrang! Tour rolling into town on the same night as the Advanced Promotions “Road to Takedown” preview gig (and at the O2 Guildhall opposite, no less), it was always going to be a gamble as to whether anyone would turn up at the Southampton Cellar Bar. I got there early, as any good reviewer does, to find the bar downstairs fairly busy.

We were allowed upstairs on the dot of 8 o’clock, to a sparsely populated and dark room. Within five minutes the first band, locals 6 Minutes to Sunrise had taken to the stage. They did their best to get the small crowd involved with their own brand of solid rock and they went over well. They played their new single, “My Favourite Fantasy” and my friend remarked that they vaguely reminded him of the band Feeder. I’m not sure if I agree, but 6MTS worked the room well and made a good choice to open the evening.

6 Minutes To Sunrise
6 Minutes To Sunrise 1

After a very slick and swift gear change, Bournemouth favourites Western Sand were up. Singer Tyler ground out his gravelly vocals against a background of superb musicianship from the band, which drew more people up the stairs straight away. Heavy and southern-influenced, each song elicited approval from the crowd, especially epic “Broken Bones” – a song which is over 6 minutes long and featured an awesome guitar solo, with Tyler getting everyone’s fists in the air. The penultimate song was “Welcome to the Badlands”, which had drummer Nathan wind-milling as he played. Overall it was a great, crowd-pleasing set.

Western Sand
Western Sand 1

Another swift changeover followed – I have to say I have never before seen such organisation at a multi-band gig – and the evening stepped up a gear with the mighty Dendera. Straight away we were slapped in the face with some heavy riffs, Bruce Dickinson-esque vocals (singer Ashley has an amazing range) and with the bassist sporting a 5 string bass, it became clear that Dendera don’t mess about. Their set was brutal, old fashioned heavy metal with bells on and although the crowd thinned a little, their brand of rock went down extremely well with those present. They showed their musical prowess with some bruising riffs, banging out tracks such as “Killing Floor”, the title track off of last year’s album of the same name and “Bridges Will Burn”.


Dendera 12

Finally, then, it was time for the “secret” headliner. After the clues given out on Facebook I think most people had probably worked out that it was Baby Godzilla, who had come fresh from a set over the road on the aforementioned Kerrang! Tour. I’ve never seen Baby Godzilla before, so I didn’t know what to expect; I’d heard that they were “out there”, but I didn’t quite believe it. It’s fair to say I spent most of their set getting out of the way of the crazy wall of death and then standing still with my mouth open, as diehard fans screamed down the mics along with the vocalists.

I’m not quite sure what genre you would put them into, although thrash is probably the closest option. From the minute they struck the first chord, they were out into the crowd, dragging a massive amp down the stairs from the stage, kicking it over and standing on it to play. One of them literally ran around the room on the waist high, foot-wide ledge, playing as he went. One of them stood still long enough to shout “Thank you for coming out to watch us, you fucking awesome c****”.

Baby Godzilla
Baby Godzilla 12

The only words I can find to accurately describe their set are “carnage” and “mayhem”, as they churned out such gems as “A Great Idea Bastardised” and “The Three Legged Racist”. My friend texted me the next day to ask if it had really happened, or if he had just had a weird dream; that’s how mental it was.

These guys are going to go down a storm at Takedown Festival, although I’m not sure how their anarchic, equipment-destroying brand of noise will fare in a bigger crowd; it’s fair to say they owned the Cellar Bar, indeed they nearly broke it. It’s certainly a gig that will stick in my mind and the image of a guitar lying broken on the floor will stay with me for a very long time, summing up the craziest night I’ve had in a very long time.

The Road To Takedown


Words by Vikkie Richmond
Pictures by Chris Venzi-James.