Festival season is well and truly upon us now. A time for us to don our sunglasses, grab some cider and watch our favourite bands do their thing. Unfortunately, as we are still in the UK and summer seems to elude us, as HTF made its way down to Southampton for Takedown Festival, the heavens opened and the downfall came. Thankfully though, we are not ones to let this spoil our festival trips and neither were the rest of the crowd. Check out below what we made of one of the finest pop-punk/rock festivals the UK has to offer.
I Divide – Big Deal Clothing Stage – Reviewer: Emma Matthews
Despite being faced with the daunting task of opening up the festival, HTF’s good friends I Divide managed to pack out the whole of the SU bar. With a set full of rigorous rock hits, the band’s performance was full of energy. Vocalist, Tom Kavanagh made sure that the crowd was on the tip of their toes with his raw yet powerful vocals. Performing massive anthems, ‘This Ship’s Going Down’ and ‘Follow Me’, it is clear that the band are destined for great things. We couldn’t imagine a better band to open up the festival!
Fearless Vampire Killers – Rock Sound Stage – Reviewer: Emma Matthews
Hailing from the busting streets of London, Fearless Vampire Killers have slowly but surely developed a dedicated fan base. With many of their fans present as they opened this year’s Rock Sound stage, the five piece’s performance went down a treat. Frontmen Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge’s eccentric stage presence made sure the ever growing crowd remained energetic for their rock meets punk horror show.
Performing a cover of Elton John classic ‘I’m Still Standing’, Kemp’s boisterous vocals gave the track an upbeat nature, causing fans to dance along with powerful beats provided by drummer Luke Illingworth. Other crowd pleasers included the vigorous anthem, ‘Could We Burn Darling?’ where we heard bassist Drew Woolnough work with Cyrus Barrone to create an instrumental blend of dynamic riffs that were the driving force behind the track which was a favourite of ours at Hit The Floor.
We Are Fiction – Big Deal Clothing Stage – Reviewer: Amy Jones
The second band to hit the Big Deal stage came in the way of Peterborough’s own We Are Fiction. With their high energy performance and impeccable stage presence, these boys really did have the crowd held in the palm of their hands. Coming on as one of the first opening acts of any festival is a tough job – as the day goes on and the alcohol gets flowing it gets harder and hazier when remembering who you even saw during the day – the fact that we and so many others remember every second of We Are Fiction‘s incredible set is a true testament to the band and proves they really were one of the stand out acts of the day, particularly with the firm fan favourite track ‘My Dreams Are Haunted‘ with its intense and eerily beautifull delivery. Personally, we cannot wait to see more of what these guys have to offer!
Mallory Knox – Rock Sound Stage – Reviewer: Emma Matthews
Going from strength to strength Mallory Knox have come a long way since playing 2012’s Takedown Festival. Last year the Cambridge quintet opened the festival main stage to only half a room, whereas this year the band managed to pack out the Rock Sound stage. With a sea of bodies braving the ridiculously sweaty room, to see what most of them call their favourite band, the performance did not disappoint with the band having, what could arguably be described as, the biggest crowd of the day.
Not afraid to join in, belting out brash yet poetical choruses, the band’s opening song ‘Wake Up’ soon got the crowd pumped. Vocalist Mikey Chapman’s raw vocals provided listeners with unrefined lyrics that are easily relatable. Powerful beats created by drummer Dave Rawlings gave the track a back bone which supported the upbeat nature of the anthem.
In the midst of Mallory Knox’s hectic set, ‘1949’ bought a sense of calmness to the room with fan’s swaying their arms. The song saw guitarists James Gillett and Joe Savins work together to create the perfect instrumental blend. Full of melodic riffs, the duo’s talent was able to capture the untamed emotions found in the musical memoir.
In what appears to be the band’s most successful single ‘Lighthouse’, Chapman and bassist/backing vocalist Sam Douglas, complimented each other’s vocal ability filling the room with powerful harmonies. Taking their fans on a heart rendering story which is able to seek comfort in the broken hearted. The song was the perfect way to end what we would rate a 10/10 performance.
We Are The Ocean – Rock Sound Stage – Reviewer: Amy Jones
It seems We Are The Ocean are getting bigger and better with each passing day (the fact they had to cancel a slot at Slam Dunk in order to perform for Radio 1, clearly indicate just how big they are getting) and if their set here was anything to go by this is only set to continue. Everything about this performance was huge; the setlist, the energy and, more importantly, the crowd.
With a set that boasted a healthy mix of the new – in the shape of current single ‘Machines‘, as well as ‘Bleed‘ – with the old, such as ‘Runaway‘, WATO clearly demonstrate just how far they have come in the last 12 months. We Are The Ocean are a freight train of the UK music scene and God help anyone who tries to stop that…
Natives – Big Deal Clothing Stage – Reviewer: Emma Matthews
Hometown heroes Natives, shone at this year’s Takedown, by performing a gripping set which is sure to be remembered. Front man, Jim Thomas’ stage presence didn’t go unnoticed with the vocalist making sure he got the crowd moving in the band’s forthcoming single ‘Stand For Something’. The brutally honest tale saw restless fans clapping as they embraced Thomas’ unreserved lyrics that highlighted the ups and downs in life.
Providing a burst of energy to the festival, Native’s ability of crafting vibrant songs appears to come almost effortlessly to them. ‘This Island’, caused the crowd to jump along with an animated blend of riffs crafted by guitarists Jack Fairbrother and Ash Oliver. Giving the anthem a lively feel, the pair’s talent, caused fans to smile and dance along to what we could call a summertime favourite.
Don Broco – Rock Sound Stage – Reviewer: Amy Jones
Don Broco are a consistently incredible band. Each and every performance is met with the same enthusiasm, energy and overall humbleness as the last and their set at this year’s Takedown was no different. This is what make Don Broco so appealing as a band – even in a disgustingly hot room, they can convince you that you are having the greatest time of your life and more often than not, they are right!
The set, along with the essential push up competition, was full to the brim with the guys’ amazing back-catalogue – ‘Priorities‘, ‘Whole Truth‘ and crowd favourite ‘Thug Workout‘ all made their scheduled appearances with a choral sing-a-long from the crowd. We highly doubt it is long before the Bedford boys are bumped up to the coverted headline slot. Watch this space.
The Blackout – Rock Sound Stage – Reviewer: Emma Matthews
Waving the flag for Wales, The Blackout headlined this year’s Rock Sound stage. With a chaotic performance, the band’s dedication to their fans was blatantly obvious. Front man, Sean Smith was eager to interact with the crowd making his way through the sea of people to reach the sound desk, located at the back of the room, in order to make their set that little bit more intimate. In between their witty on-stage banter, a trademark of the sextet’s live performances, the set included a variety of both new and old hits.
From their latest album ‘Start The Party’, ‘Radio’ was just one of the tracks that was a massive crowd pleaser. The mixture of Gavin Butler’s smooth effortless vocals with Smith’s vigorous screams caused the track to become 3 dimensional, with fans finding themselves lost in the music, pumping their fists in time with the catchy anthem. Older material ‘ShutTheFuckUppercut’ also raised the roof. The impulsive track provided the room with shout out loud choruses of which the crowd greedily joined in with. Finishing off with ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!’ there really couldn’t be a better way to end the set with The Blackout proudly causing a fucking riot in the southern city.