Given the title of the biggest alternative indoor festival in the South, Takedown had a lot to prove on the 7th March yet achieved it with ease. Offering breakdowns, beards, and beastly riffs, each stage was fuelled with bands that are on the rise and are determined to keep the alternative scene alive. There are no cares in the world for how you dress or which bands you prefer more, at Takedown you’re treated like a part of a tight-knit family with all the bands included as they have a pint amongst fans. That level of friendliness is hard to replicate but Takedown manage it every year that – along with an always stellar line-up – makes it a festival to remember.
Opening up the main stage came ZOAX, a band from London who might be new to the scene, yet each member has years of experience behind them and it shows through their incredible stage presence. Adam Carroll storms across the stage like an excitable puppy, delivering powerful vocals amongst a sea of laughter as he weaves in and out of the crowd, taking the mick out of fans and even shoving his head up the shirt of one unsuspecting man. Despite acting up like a naughty child, Carroll’s antics don’t take away from Zoax’s performance and they’re going to be a band to watch this year because I don’t doubt that big things are coming.
Next for us to catch was Dendera; as local lads from Portsmouth it was easy to see they had their small following amongst the crowd but as the second act to take to the Uprawr stage, it wasn’t as packed as it could have been. Even so, this didn’t seem to sway the metal-heads that take their influences from icons such as Iron Maiden. Powerful riffs and alarming high-pitched vocals filled the small, confined space of what felt like the basement.
Decade were a band that you couldn’t help but to get caught up in the madness to see. All I wanted was a pint, yet the bar was filled with little chequered shirts pushing and shoving to try and get to the front of the tiny stage that at least the pop-punkers tried to make the most of. Though they were catchy enough, watching them was tiresome and I soon grew bored, wishing that they’d stop trying so hard to replicate all the other pop-punk bands out there that are actually successful.
Wandering back over to the main stage, it was time for The Blackout’s last ever festival appearance and their last ever south-coast show. You would have thought the Welsh boys would have landed themselves a higher slot on the bill, yet even so they made the most of the short time they had to bust out fan favourites such as Higher and Higher, Children of the Night and the always rambunctious I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot amongst many others. Sadly, it was easy to see that the six men had grown out of their usual stage antics for the performance itself was feeling lacklustre in comparison to other shows I’ve witnessed.
The next act to follow was Charlie Simpson; as one man and his guitar (ignoring the backing band behind him), it seemed strange for Simpson to be included in a line-up that thrives from its alternative and heavy presence. Yet even so, as he powered through songs such as Parachutes and Farmer & His Gun, he had the crowd in the palm of his hands and it’s obvious to see that his Busted days are far behind him. Despite once being the butt of a joke, he should be nothing but proud of what he’s achieved to break into this industry and stick to doing what he loves the most.
Flocking back over to the infamous Obsidian stage, despite being given their own stage to curate and headline, Fearless Vampire Killers did very little to impress. It’s obvious from the look of the crowd that they have their own cult-like following of gothic, vampire-esque fans (which is ironic, considering their name) and there’s no doubt that they thrive from teenage fan girls. They can’t be knocked for the harmonising of their dirty and clean vocals however, but all respect was lost the moment they tried to cover Elton John’s I’m Still Standing. Half of the crowd probably didn’t even know who Elton John was.
Then came the act that packed out the main stage to almost full capacity, Mallory Knox. No strangers to Takedown Festival, the Cambridge five-piece effortlessly stormed through their set providing everyone with an extra buzz of energy. Frontman Mikey Chapman was keen to keep the crowd on their feet, yet wasn’t afraid to slow things down a little for the glorious ballad 1949. Finally, the set and the festival came to a close with a beautiful rendition of Lighthouse; the chorus of fans singing was rather touching and it was the perfect way to round up a fantastic day.
Catering for a number of genres, at Takedown festival there’s a chance for everyone’s needs to be satisfied and as they showcase new talent, you’re bound to discover a new favourite. And if you’re too tired to let loose in the after party, as it’s only a single, jam-packed day, you’re able to crash out in bed at the end of it all and relish in the sound of your ears ringing. The post-gig depression hits hard, trust me.