Southampton University

Takedown 2015

The Takedown Festival after several years has really established itself as one of the great early showcases to the year of music to come. With its boast as one of the first festivals of the season, it gives a great sample of music for the coming year. This year the organisers Advanced Promotions have pulled all the stops to bring five stages, packed with a mass of new and established bands of various styles and genres. The five stages are spread over the Southampton University campus; with easy to read signage and stage listings everywhere, to make sure you don’t miss your favourite bands. It seems every person here has their very own self-made piece of paper with their unique version of how the day will pan out.

Miss VincentMiss Vincent

Kicking off the festival on the “Obsidian Stage” are Punk Rock newbies “Miss Vincent” who set the bar high right from the start, with a very spirited high-energy performance that impresses all. Then it’s off to the “Southampton Music Stage” to catch Bournemouth 4 piece “Circle Of Reason” who are delivering an impressive sound with their full-on twin guitars. The “Uprawr” stage starts up with “Confessions of a Traitor” whose frontman is all over the stage, in the crowd and up on the speaker stack; giving a hugely energetic performance-much to the delight of their fans in the crowd.

Circle Of ReasonCircle Of Reason

The main hall and District stage is the place to be next, where “Empire” are just arriving onstage in front of a huge crowd. Frontman Joe Green wastes no time in getting things started. Despite a trouser malfunction he delivers very impressive vocals on tracks from the band’s debut release “Where the World Begins”. The well-educated fans amongst the crowd are singing along to virtually every word and the mood in the great hall is good.


On the “Big Deal Clothing” stage new band “Dirt” are playing their 3rd ever live gig, and if frontman Alistair Keenan hadn’t have mentioned it we’d have been none the wiser. The tight five piece unit put some of the more established bands to shame. Their melodic guitars and powerful vocals put to well written songs such as “Life in Motion” and the harder, heavier “Chemicals” make a real mark on the very appreciative audience.

Miss VincentDirt

It is very hard to believe that Inme’s “Overgrown Eden” is 12 years old, released in 2003 when Dave McPherson was still just a teenager. At the time I remember being frustrated that more people did not appreciate this ground breaking masterpiece of a recording. Today though looking around this big hall it was clear that these songs mean a lot to many people. The four piece band are clearly really enjoying revisiting this period of their career playing epic songs like the emotional “Lava Twilight” , “Firefly” , “Her Mask (Pa)” and the mighty “Neptune”. With a triple album on the way the band have today had a nice diversion, though the performance is by no means perfect-it is delivered with the raw energy and passion that these great songs deserve.


After Inme’s performance it is going to be hard to find anything to top that. The Obsidian Stage have Leeds Rockers “Hawk Eyes” pushing their instruments and the P.A. to the limit. The Southampton Music stage hosts Basingstoke band “We Deny”, who provide masses of youthful energy; while local Southampton band “Creeper” are giving it large with a very memorable performance on the Big Deal Clothing stage. Performing songs like “Gloom” and the frantic “VCR” brave crowd surfers float across the front of the stage over the crowd, thankfully undisturbed by the tolerant security people.

We DenyWe Deny
Hawk EyesHawk Eyes

Castleford’s “Allusondrugs” was next on my list to catch, now these guys know how to party! Their Grungy effect-laden Psychedelic Rock easily entertained the Takedown crowd with a full-on energetic performance. They are a very likable band who should be hitting the larger stages in a very short time. Southampton’s “Dead” give every ounce of energy, pushing the boundaries to entertain the adoring loyal fans. They today are performing with a stand-in drummer as their own is having an operation in hospital. The set introduces some promising new material as well as a manic version of an older classic “Damned Restless Future”, which sees Crilly from “Ashestoangels” joining the band on stage to add some welcome vocals.


“Moose Blood” without doubt drew the largest crowd of the day on the Big Deal Clothing stage. There were crowds of people back as far as the eye can see, trying to catch a glimpse of these possible future headliners. The band seem very humbled that so many people had come along and frontman Eddy cannot stop thanking people. The band’s performance did not disappoint with songs “Pups” and “Chin Up” being sung word for word right back at the band. They leave the stage with big smiles across their faces and masses of appreciation from the happy crowd.

Moose BloodMoose Blood

“The Blackout” did their best to say goodbye in a big way performing one of their final shows before calling it a day. Their set was something of a greatest hits set that was a sing-a-long fest from start to finish. “ShutthefuckUppercut”, “Higher & Higher” and “Children of the Night” were all there-massive tunes that we have all come to love. The priceless comedy banter of Sean Smith and Gavin Butler is brilliant as always. This band have given pleasure to so many and I don’t think it will sink in for a while in that they won’t be around anymore.

As I watch a few songs by Charlie Simpson, I reflect on my day, trying hard to take in what great music I have seen here today. It is just too difficult with so much on offer, but as I get home and the days turn into weeks the memory of each band’s performance is regained and each of them have made a lasting impression on my memory. The Advanced Promotions have indeed done it again, creating a festival like no other; bringing together a massive amount of alternative talent, all under one roof. This indeed took a huge amount of organisation, and I’m sure 1000’s of music fans like me really appreciate the efforts. Roll on 2016………………



Words & Pictures By Dave Chinery (Chinners).

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