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Takedown Festival – Southampton Uni – 15/02/2014 | Live Review

Takedown Festival is the start of festival season and my was it a great start! Check out what we thought of the day.

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Credit: Festival Poster

Takedown Festival sprung up as the beginning of festival season and what a start it was. The sun came out and made an appearance (thank you sunshine!) and everyone seemed in high spirits. HTF spent an awful lot of time in the press area chatting to bands and thrusting marshmallows down the throats of suspecting band members (videos to follow shortly!) Despite this we managed to catch a whole load of bands across the day. Check out what we thought about the amazing music we heard.

The Catharsis were given the duty of opening up the Total Uprawr stage and despite the time a respectable sized crowd had turned up to show their support. The band absolutely nailed it and were impressive from the second they stepped out onto the stage, as they got those early risers ready and raring to go for the rest of the day. They’re blend of hardcore and heavy metal really is eye watering as it will grab you by the balls and shake some sense into you! Today was off to a great start! 4/5 JH

We predicted the rise of Fearless Vampire Killers the moment their debut album ‘Militia Of The Lost’ dropped. A second album later and after a ton of touring, today’s appearance on the Jagermeister stage showed exactly why people should be taking note. Since the last time I saw the band back at Download 2012 it was apparent how tight they have become on stage. Not a band to stand still, it’s always a difficult task to move around this much and stay on point but you can tell the constant touring has really put things into place. With a crowd of adoring fans in the palm of their hand FVK delivered on all levels. Set highlights included the epic ‘Palace In Flames’ and ‘All Hallows Evil’. 4/5 CH

The Howling were one of the discoveries of the day, having stumbled onto the Total Rock Stage the minute this band took to the stage were we hooked instantaneously. They brought a plethora of heavy hitting riffs that came packed with a shit load of raw attitude and an air of arrogance, in the sense that the band certainly know how to rock the stage! Their sound is a hybrid of angsty punk mixed with hard hitting rock n roll that will grab you by the throat of the neck and rip your larynx out. We left their set as huge fans of this band, they could certainly be onto something here and we can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for them! 4/5 JH

Feed The Rhino look set to have a big year in 2014, with brand new album The Sorrow And The Sound on the horizon, they made a bold statement as they took to the Jagermeister Stage. Delivering one of the most ferocious live sets of the day, the lads from Kent were doing nothing but living up to their reputation as a destructive collective. As bodies went into a whirlwind of pits, the band were doing their hardest to make sure everyone was sweaty by the end of it and it was mission accomplished. Squeezing every bit of energy out of their audience the band were on fine form as always to deliver a set full of anger! 4/5 JH

Making their Takedown debut Zoax turned up with one thing in mind, anarchy! They were one of the stand out bands of the day, with their set showcasing that they really do have it locked down. Frontman Adam Carroll isn’t shy from getting up close and personal, the man looked possessed as he ran about like a crazed chimpanzee! We could finally witness how hot the songs from their debut EP XIII really are in a live setting and tracks like ‘Bitter.Angry.Fake’ are sounding monstrous! From start to finish the band produced an absolute scorcher that will forever live in the memory of Takedown Festival! 4/5 JH

Riddled with boisterous riffs and straightforward lyrics, Nantwich based Blitz Kids are currently at the forefront of British rock. The band kicked off the year with the release of their debut album The Good Youth and treated Takedown to a medley of tracks off the new record. Opening up the set with ‘All I Want Is Everything’, the four-piece quickly got the crowd riffled up as they roamed the small stage, encouraging fans to dance and belt out the huge chants. Lashed with gang vocals the song was the perfect opener with the contagious go-forth spirit quickly filling the room as both girls and boys sung along in equal measures. In midst of the set Mallory Knox bassist Sam Douglas joined the quartet and covered ‘Sic Transit Gloria… Glory’ fades by Brand New. A cover that was pierced with huge riffs and hearty melodies, the room exploded and soaked up every second of the performance. Stampeding straight into ‘On My Own’, the familiar track ended the set on a high with front man Joey James giving it his all as he jumped in time to the upbeat nature and brash riffs. Fans were more than eager to join in with pushing, shoving and everything else that goes along with a rock set. If 2014 isn’t going to be Blitz Kids year, we don’t know what is. 4.5/5 EM

Having been on the scene for quite a while now, it’s been nice to finally see Exeter’s Idiom getting the recognition they so rightly deserve. Having recently started to release new material through Metal Hammer, the band are clearly on a mission to make this their year and ripped the UPRAWR stage a new asshole with a set full of passion and energy with vocalist Matt Sharland owning the stage. Tracks such as ‘Brain Dead’ and the classic ‘Beast Of Bodmin’ really highlight the bands unique sound bringing a more upto date tone to the whole nu-metal era and really making Idiom stand out from the crowd and deliver those pummelling riffs. HTF predict big things for the Idiom boys this year so get ready! 4/5 CH 

Making this their first ever Festival experience as a band, the latest InMe side project Centiment bring their futuristic tech metal that comes laden with powerful aggression. Their debut album Streets Of Rage harbours some pretty hard hitting tunes, with tracks like ‘The Kraken’ sounding absolutely explosive on such a tiny stage. This project has allowed Dave Mcpherson to release his inner beast, with the man showing some pure anger as he erupts into each song with some raucous vocal work. With a tight performance and an array of impressive guitar grooves, Centiment absolutely smash their way through their set and we are left wanting more! 4/5 JH

Canterbury returned to Takedown Festival this year, sounding more promising than ever. Sandwiched between Blitz Kids and Jamie Lenman, Canterbury took the Jägermeister stage at 6.10pm. With the release of a new album just behind them, it really didn’t come as a surprise that half of the Surrey-based band’s set was dedicated to presenting their new songs to the audience who seemed to already be familiar with it all. The band may have been surprised to hear fans belt out the words to January’s release of ‘Dark Days’, but it was quite evident that the jam-packed crowd were all fans of the newer songs, for instance latest singles ‘Expensive Imitation’ and ‘Think It Over’. However, the older songs off the 2012 release ‘Heavy In The Day’ were also well embraced by the crowd. The room was absolutely buzzing after the eight-song set and it’s safe to say that Canterbury delivered an impressive performance, to say the least. 4.5/5 SW

Heart Of A Coward come steam rolling into 2014 festival season with a year behind them that will forever live with them. With Severance being one of the metal albums of the past year, Heart Of A Coward bring all things heavy to the Total Uprawr stage which allows us to enjoy some angry metal! Pits were aplenty as the guys ripped right through their set and tore the crowd a new one, these guys are riding high at the moment and it looks like it’s just going to keep escalating. Their set gets the heart rate pumping and a collective of synchronised headbanging – something that will one day become an Olympic event. Tracks like ‘Deadweight’ pack a meaty punch on a stage made for all things mosh! 4.5/5 JH

I Divide have been hiding under the surface of the rock world for long enough and today seems the first time that they have noticeably broken free into the wild. From the opening rumbling of ‘The Arrival’ through to tracks from the bands impending album ‘Last One Standing’ – including opener track ‘Follow Me’ and newest single ‘I’m Not Leaving’ – it’s evident how far the Exeter group have come. They provide enough beats to get people jumping and dancing and enough heaviness to prompt a breakout of a small pit; despite size though we did spot some blood shed! If there was one band we had to pinpoint to burst out in 2014 it would certainly be I Divide. 5/5 RW

There was so much excitement and anticipation surrounding Jamie Lenman’s set, after being away from music for so long we could not wait for him to make his first ever festival appearance as a solo artist and holy balls was it worth the wait! The man has so much style when it comes to appearance, but live he transforms into an absolute beast, exhaling some pretty raw unclean vocals and bringing an ear busting guitar assault, the man really is a treasure to the British music industry. The stage quickly swells to the sound of all things Lenman, like a rallying call people get down to worship this god amongst men. Showcasing tracks from the fantastic Muscle Memory, they sound as good live as they do on record, the man is a true showman! 4.5/5 JH

HO-LY SHIT its a Baby Godzilla, well that is what it looked like after these guys were done with the stage, as the Big Deal Clothing stage resembled a desolated downtown Tokyo! Known for going completely and utterly bonkers on stage, the band were making no exceptions here tonight as they wreaked havoc! From the outset the band were like wild animals, leaping into the crowd whenever they could and invoking mass carnage from everyone. Whether it was hanging upside down from the lighting rig, crowd surfing their kick drum or using every corner of the room as the stage, they have a live show you need to prepare yourself for- they like to get in your face and cause some trouble. 5/5 JH

As Harry Radford and Kevin Miles bounded onstage to join the rest of Yashin, the opening chords of brand new track D.E.A.D resonate through the room. We’d been waiting for todays set for a long long time but in a blink of an eye the band are half way through their set. It’s a blur of scattered circle pits, surging arms and screaming voices. Hearing tracks like ‘Make It Out Alive’ and ‘The Last One Standing’ it’s hard to believe that We Created A Monster is almost two years old. Every track is a ball of energy with surging enthusiasm and reminds us just why we love Yashin so much! Toning things down a notch arms begin to sway as ‘Stand Up’ makes an appearance. The pair know exactly how to wrap the crowd around their fingers and if tonight’s set is anything to go by 2014 is going to be an exciting year for Yashin. 5/5 RW

It was there first performance of the year and their last performance in Southampton. A night to be remembered, Kids In Glass Houses took to the stage with fan favourite ‘Sunshine’. More than pumped to finish the festival off with a bang, the infamous track allowed front man Aled Phillips to make sure fans were on the tip of their toes with vast amounts of crowd interaction and upbeat sing-alongs. Lashed in a summer time feel, the punchy set continued with classics like ‘Good Boys Gone Rad’ and ‘Young Blood’. Pierced with lusty lyrics and a lively medley of riffs, the songs relished in the five piece’s somewhat natural ability to craft emblazed music that can capture a crowds’ attention within seconds. The optimism only continued as the band broke into newer tracks taken from their latest and last offering ‘Peace’. Animated anthem ‘Set Me Free’, encouraged the audience to chant the catchy chorus at the top of their lungs, where as the slightly more subdued ‘Drive’ bought a raw hunger for old school rock and roll with hypnotising beats and slightly heavier riffs. Finishing off ‘Give Me What I Want’ and ‘Matters At All’, the hearty collection of hits gave fans a sneak peak into what they can expect from the band’s forthcoming October farewell tour. Trailblazers in their own right, we only hope they get the send off they truly deserve. 4.5/5 EM

Hacktivist had their set rescheduled from the Total Uprawr Stage to the more intimate settings of The Big Deal Clothing Stage, which their live show even more intense than ever before. Having laid waste to everything last year, the grime-metallers were back to cause more destruction yet again. The band has already caused a stir in the music industry with their ballsy concoction but it is still sounding as exciting as it did last year! Showcasing some new material and playing their big hitters like ‘Unlike Us’ they had the crowd firmly under their spell as the stage became a full on sweatbox. They are the only band doing what they are doing at the moment and its clear to see that they have the potential to really kick on this year – We get the same buzz about this band as we do with Rage Against The Machine, there is a storm brewing here. 4.5/5JH

Glamour Of The Kill are a band we’ve been waiting to see for ages, for one reason or another our paths have not crossed. After the fantastic release of latest album ‘Savages’ our wait is  finally over. And the wait was every bit worth it! The large captivated crowd screamed through every track with conviction as the band ploughed through favourites such as ‘Break’, ‘Second Chance’ and ‘If Only She Knew’. Every track sounded just as big live as they do on record and in a room with great acoustics  every beat is amplified and every note rumbles through the room. Considering the size of the room the pits that erupt are impressive and with safe haven at the back (by the bar) we’re able to fully appreciate the grandness. Glamour Of The Kill are a band everyone should see live. 5/5 RW

Britain’s hottest rock n rollers Heaven’s Basement brought their Welcome Home Tour to a headline set on the Total Rock stage at Takedown. After spending the last year relentlessly touring across the world they are finally back home. It shows that all their hard work and dedication has paid off, they are a well oiled machine when it comes to their live shows with every part of their set being tighter than a nun’s fun tunnel! Bringing their good old fashioned rock n roll to the masses of Southampton, you feel the stage they are on is too small for the band now as they bring an absolute stonking set that just bleeds pure rock swagger. Playing a lot from the fantastic debut album Filthy Empire, they play a set full of anthems and plenty of singalongs with ‘Fire Fire’ and ‘Heart Breaking Son Of  A Bitch’ having that stadium filling vibe to them. They really are flying the flag for British rock at the moment and it’s good to see hard work paying off for these guys, they are definitely taking on the higher leagues these days! 5/5 JH

Reviews by: James Hingle, Rhian Westbury, Santhi Weiss, Chris Hines and Emma Matthews
Introduction by: Rhian Westbury

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