Southampton's Takedown Festival is the first UK all-dayer worth caring about of the summer, and this year they knocked it out of the park. Here are a few things Claire Louise Sheridan learned along the way.
1.It’s absolutely OK to dress however you want at Takedown, even if it’s a little "out there".
Which is good, because that’s the way it should be. We saw just about every style of the last few decades represented in the crowd and on the bill, and everyone got along just fine. Well done, 2015.
2.Takedown has an unofficial cat mascot named SuSu.
Um, hello? Music… and cats. Could life get any better? Honestly. SuSu - the Southampton University Student Union cat - didn’t even need an AAA to get wherever she wanted. Mainly because she's a CAT, but also because she's the boss. She did get a little scared when more and more fans started crowding around her, though, and was escorted off somewhere private by the end of the day. Up until then, she was the star of the show. JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE!
3.You can’t play very high up a festival bill if you've had a spot of trouble with the law.
Astroid Boys could probably have played a little later in the day. However, with vocalist Benji still on tag following release from prison, they had to make do with a mid-afternoon slot. As you can see from the picture above, though, they did just fine.
4. You can instigate a wall of death at your third ever live show. Even at 3pm.
Dirt might be total newcomers to the live circuit, but their set on the Big Deal Clothing stage had everyone talking. Don’t let their singer’s clean vocals fool you – this lot bring the mosh and the moves regardless.
5.A Mallory Knox signing is like the second coming of The Beatles.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but the free tokens for their meet and greet went in about nine minutes flat, and with the boys back home following a stint on Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens World Tour in the US, they've come back heroes.
6. InMe’s 'Overgrown Eden’ still sounds incredible live.
…proving it’s a record that has truly stood the test of time. Frontman Dave McPherson might well be "depressed" – his words - that some of these songs were written 17 (!) years ago, but on the Takedown stage he looks proud all the same. He was even joined by Mikey Chapman from Mallory Knox for a guest spot, who looked right at home having grown up listening to the band.
7. A Moose Blood show is a beautiful, intimate thing.
There’s always something a bit special about a few hundred people getting together to sing in unison. When they’re coming out in force for a band as talented as Moose Blood and singing songs as powerful as theirs from 'I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time', it’s actually more of a spiritual experience.
8. People are really, really going to miss The Blackout.
We’re fairly certain Sean Smith said "Goodbye, forever!" as he was leaving the stage, and it’s fitting if he did. After over a decade together, the Welsh sextet are finally calling it a day. Finishing with a triumphant "I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!", there were a few teary eyes in the room by the time it was all over. Not ours, though. Oh no. *sniff*
9.Baby Godzilla can literally raise the roof.
Yep, seriously. Things got so crazy during their set that vocalist Matt Reynolds actually tore this tile from the ceiling. If you’ve ever seen this lot live before, you’ll probably have a good idea how that happened; they spend more time scaling the crowds, gear, and everything else than they do on stage. There's no wonder Baby Godzilla are making a name for themselves.
10.The One Hundred really need to be on everyone’s radar.
London-based rap-rock crossover mob The One Hundred are already out touring with some of the biggest names in rock, despite their tender years. Headlining the Southampton Music Introducing stage might seem a little odd for a band who are now heading out with Papa Roach this week, but their set showed they fully deserved the lofty billing.
11.UPRAWR can throw one hell of an afterparty.
DJs Rich Stokes, Tommy Noble and Jon Mahon threw down the ultimate in party tunes for the best part of four hours after the bands stopped playing to round up the night. Add dancers, giveaways and a drink or two into the mix and you have the perfect end to the perfect day. Until next year, Takedown!
For loads more highlights from this year's Takedown Festival, take a look at this gallery.