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Luke’s Alphabet Tour – F: Feed the Rhino at Takedown Festival – 18th March 2012

By on Wednesday, 4th April 2012 at 1:00 pm

Although not headlining the Guitar Central stage at Takedown, Feed the Rhino are the most highly anticipated band of the day. Having taken a well-earned hiatus from touring whilst they recorded their new album ‘The Burning Suns’, the Kent-based crushers are back to prove why they’re regarded as one of the most exciting live acts in the UK.

Following from Polar.‘s brutalising display of hardcore punk, the room fills and swells with sweaty pierced and inked bodies who are looking to throw down and scream until their tonsils rupture. Hitting the stage like a audio atom bomb, Feed the Rhino are here to cause nothing but chaos and incite as much carnage as they see fit.

It’s a staple part of their live show for frontman Lee Tobin to spend the majority of the set in the pit with his ‘Rhinos’, and lose every inhibition while pouring his heart into the microphone. Lee knew this was the plan and the crowd knew – unfortunately, no-one alerted the security. The burly men in front of the stage refuse to let Lee (or any of the band) over the barrier into the hundreds of fans before them – much to the obvious annoyance of those on and offstage. [Allegedly, the security punched one of the guitarists in the back during this performance.]

The tattooed, vest-wearing purveyors of anger smash and kick their way through a half hour of hits including ‘Knives’ and ‘Mr. Red Eye’. As Tobin scales the PA system for what was undoubtedly planned to be the ‘big ending’ his screams go unheard as security pull the plug on his microphone. Tobin continues to scream and shout at his devotees below while the rest of FTR throw themselves across the stage in a flurry of shreds and drum assault.

For half an hour, the heroes of hardcore make the Guitar Central stage their own. The pit awash with fist throwers and headbangers creating the anarchy that FTR feed off and despite the crowd control possibly being a touch too harsh, it’s a fantastic comeback show for a band who are making huge waves in the aggressive music scene.

Read Luke’s interview with Lee Tobin of Free the Rhino here.


Interview: Lee Tobin from Feed the Rhino

By on Monday, 2nd April 2012 at 11:00 am

Following the band’s raucous performance at this year’s Takedown festival, I caught up with Feed the Rhino‘s frontman for a quick chat about his band, the new album and their controversial performance.

How did your set go? How was it for you?
It was fantastic. We haven’t played for a long time because we’ve been stuck in the studio writing the second album. It’s the first time we’ve played in four months I think – the last time we played was out on tour with While She Sleeps. It was amazing, the crowd were amazing. We had a lot of fun. A lot of carnage which is what we like.

Do you feed off the craziness of the crowd?
I don’t know. With Feed the Rhino it’s always been a band about passion and about heart, and when you see people so into what you’re writing and what you’re playing, it makes everything so worthwhile. And you do feed off it, it’s a massive buzz. Looking out there today and seeing that room that was fucking rammed to the rafters and seeing that they were just going nuts at every opportunity, it’s just a great feeling.

Do you wish you could have got in the crowd, though? [The security team were adamant this wasn’t going to happen.]
We always do things of instinct, and a lot of the time we end up anywhere. Our sets are very organic and we feed off what the vibe is. We’d have loved to have been in with the crowd because we were loving everything they were doing and to be in with them would have been fucking amazing, but security played havoc with us today.

It’s not like you didn’t try…
We had a slight falling out, but they’re there to do a job, aren’t they? You’re governed by what they’re going to allow you to do.

You’ve got a new album coming out, can you tell us a bit about it?
The new album is called ‘The Burning Suns’ and should be out at the beginning of the summer. It’s incredible, we’re writing exactly what we want to write. This album is going to typify exactly what Feed the Rhino is all about – it’s no holds barred. We spent just over a month in the studio, so we worked really hard on it. We wanted to bring a lot of our live  into our album because people react really well to the live. So we wanted people to get that same feeling when they listen to the album and we hope that it brings that.

Did anything inspire you toward this album in particular?
Everything inspires us. We feed off of life, we feed off of experiences. As a band we’ve been on the road now for two years solid, so we’ve got to meet more people, make more friends, be in more situations and circumstances that open your eyes to different things. Obviously you write about things personal, things around you, things you believe in, things you don’t believe in, things you hate, things you love. The world is full of shit but at the same time it’s full of amazing things, and if you look hard enough you can put something together that’s going to really hit home. That’s the thing with Feed The Rhino, we want to make sure that we’re true to ourselves and that we’re true to the people who want to listen to us. We’re not phonies, we’re not fakes. If any form of pretentiousness fed its way into this band, we’d all fuck it off and quit. And that’s fact.

That’s part of the hardcore scene, it’s from the heart…
I know people say it’s part of the hardcore scene, and no disrespect to hardcore, but we’ve never said we were anything – we’re just a heavy band and we like playing. If you’re a hardcore kid, a rock and roller, a rocker, a metalhead, whatever the fuck you are we don’t give a shit, if you like it you like it and thank you so much.

Now you’ve got this festival out the way, what other festivals do you have lined up?
We’ve got Ghostfest, Make AaScene, we’ve got loads but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. We’ve got some stuff that we’re announcing in the next coming weeks that will hopefully tickle the tongues of people and have a fuckload of people that want to enjoy our shows and love it and bleed and sweat and have some fucking fun. [Lee wanted to point out that they’re also playing Crash Doubt, which he remembered after the interview.]

If the world ends at the end of 2012, what’s the last thing you’re going to do?
I’m going to do what I do every single day and that’s have fun: see my family, see my friends. I know it’s absolute bollocks anyway, there’s no actual scientific proof that the world’s going to come to this massive halt and end. You see this crazy fanatics on the TV screaming and shouting that the world’s going to end, but how many times has some crazy loon said that? No disrespect, you can have your views, but come on why so fucking morbid? Live a little and enjoy everything around you.

Feed the Rhino are heading out on a UK and European tour later this month. To find your nearest show, visit their official Web site.


Interview: Mikey Chapman and Sam Douglas of Mallory Knox at Takedown Festival (Part 2)

By on Tuesday, 27th March 2012 at 11:00 am

This is part 2 of Luke’s interview with two of the guys from Mallory Knox. Missed part 1? No worries, head this way.

Would you say your new album is more mature than ‘Pilots’?

Sam: It’s hard to say, I don’t want to say we’re heavier, I don’t want to say we’re softer, I don’t want to say we’re catchier, I just think we’ve got better as song writers and we’ve understood what we want to more than when we wrote ‘Pilot’. With ‘Pilot’ we were like, “Right we’re a new band let’s write some songs”, then we started to think we had to make ‘Pilot’ songs again, but then it was like, “fuck this, let’s just do it again and write what we want”.

Who do you think are your new influences? Who’s changed things for you?

Mikey: What we’ve always been really happy about with Mallory is that we all really enjoy different music so different influences are brought into different things. Dave (drums) is into his heavier music and he’ll bring that into his drums, whereas Sam and myself are into lighter music as well as pop-punk and things like that.

Sam: I love Thrice. Their last album ‘Major Minor’ was definitely one. We’ve always loved Alexisonfire, they were a huge influence on ‘Pilot’. Mumford & Sons, Death Cab For Cutie but then I like Dillinger Escape Plan, we’re literally hitting everything.

Mikey: But then you’ll go round James’ (guitar) house and he’ll be dancing in his boxers to Katy Perry.

You’ve received a lot of buzz from the mainstream music press, has it felt like you had to live up to it?

Sam: It’s so weird. When we were 16/17 we would have killed to get in those sort of magazines, but now that we’ve done it we want more. We’re never satisfied. As much as we think ‘Great, people like us and the magazines like what we’re doing’, we’re always striving for a bit more.

Mikey: I think we landed at a very good time. A lot of people were perhaps tired of certain genres to a degree and they wanted to listen to something a little different. I’m not saying we’re ‘out there’ by any means but we’ve always strived to play what we wanted to hear and I hope that reflects in the music and with our fans.

What will it take for you to know that you’ve ‘made it’?

Sam: We know there’s a big ladder to climb and we’ve barely got on it yet. But look at Deaf Havana, two years ago they were doing ok with the EP and now they’re on main stage at Reading, and that gives us hope. We don’t want to compete with other bands because I don’t believe in that bullshit, I’m happy for people when they do well.

Mikey: You’re always sat there when you’re a teenager and you’re looking at these bands like ‘my god, they’re seeing the world and enjoying themselves’.

Sam: I don’t think it’s ever going to get old for us. I’m a big fan of Lower Than Atlantis and Deaf Havana and when I saw them it was cool, man! Playing the same stage with them was good for us, but let’s do this again let’s keep going. But we know there’s a long way to go.

Judging by the crowd reaction today you’ve got a solid fanbase…

Mikey: We love ’em.

Sam: The people at the front, the first 10 to 15 rows had people who knew who we were. Then as you move further back it’s people who’re probably checking us out for the first time. Even if people aren’t jumping, you can spot our lot because they’re proper going for it.

Mikey: We’ve just bumped into a kid who’s come from Germany to see us today. For us, who’ve come from a backwater town in the middle of the countryside…

Sam: We come from Cambridge, feel sorry for us. (laughs)

Mikey: For someone to take the time and put their money into coming here is humbling.

Sam: Especially today, there’s like four other bands they could’ve seen at the same time but they chose us and that’s fucking wicked. We were wondering if anyone was going to be there.

Hopefully this is your first of many festivals, what else have you got planned for the summer?

Sam: Hit The Deck festival, Crash Doubt festival which is going to be good because we’re on before Martyr Defiled.

Mikey: We’ve got a really exciting one that we’re not allowed to say unfortunately, but it’ll come out soon.

[On Monday – the day following Takedown – it was announced that Mallory Knox are playing Download festival.]

Are you going on tour again or is it just festivals?

Sam: Nothing’s confirmed but the plan is to do a tour before the album and a tour after the album. But not in the summer, it’s festival season and all that. The album’s not even been given a release date, I reckon late summertime.

Finally, if the world ends at the end of 2012, what’s the last thing you’re going to do?

Mikey: I’m going to make sure that I attend a party. There’s got to be a few hasn’t there? We’ll go to the before party, if everything’s ok then we’ll go to the after party. I’ll be wearing a crash helmet, though, and maybe some body armour.

Sam: I’ll probably just try and get that little kid on Call of Duty again.

Mikey: Revenge. We will be getting revenge.

Sam: I’ve got his gamertag, he’s fucked.

Mallory Knox will be playing a number of festivals this summer across the UK, as well as hopefully a tour before the release of their debut LP which will undoubtedly go down a storm. Visit their Facebook page for more information.


Interview: Mikey Chapman and Sam Douglas of Mallory Knox at Takedown Festival (Part 1)

By on Friday, 23rd March 2012 at 3:00 pm

Cambridge alt-rockers Mallory Knox recently played their first ever festival show at Southampton’s Takedown Festival to a fantastic reception. I caught up with frontman Mikey Chapman and bassist Sam Douglas to find out how it went, as well as getting the low-down on their debut album and Call Of Duty.

It’s your first-ever festival show, how was it for you?

Mikey: It was just phenomenal. We’ve always been the guys in the crowd appreciating all the different bands, running around like a headless chicken making sure you see all your favourite bands. To be up on the stage instead is amazing, it gives us a sort of gratification for what we’re doing.

Was it daunting playing the main stage with some of the biggest bands in the scene?

Sam: When we saw what the lineup was for that particular stage we were a bit like ‘Fuck! We’re playing with some really fucking good bands today.’ We were a bit nervous, it’s our first festival and bit different to a normal show, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve only been going a little while and wondered ‘will people know who we really are?’, then we played that and it’s one of my favourite shows we’ve ever done.

Mikey: We’re always really keen for new people to hear us, something like this is the perfect opportunity. Someone will come out to see Don Broco or Deaf Havana and hopefully they’ll catch us.

Who are you going to try and catch today?

Sam: There’s so many. I’m really looking forward to seeing Skindred, I’ve got to be honest. We’ve got a lot of friends that we want to watch as well, I want to see Polar. because they’ve got the new album coming out, Feed the Rhino blow me away every time, but I’m a big fan of Deaf Havana as well and Don Broco. There’s so many bands, this festival is so good. Every single band is doing well in their own right and the lineup on every stage is good.

Mikey: Even if we weren’t playing I think we’d have come down to this one because there’s a lot of friends playing it and a load of really good bands as well.

You’re named after Juliette Lewis’ character in ‘Natural Born Killers’ who shot Robert Downey Jr.’s character repeatedly…

Mikey: She did enjoy that, didn’t she? She’s a little bit twisted… we’re not that twisted. We definitely don’t shoot people. On record. (laughs)

Sam: We couldn’t think of a name and we didn’t want to give it a name where you could be like ‘oh that band’s quite clearly pop-punk, or that band’s quite clearly heavy metal’, and then Joe (guitarist) came up with the idea of calling it a person’s name, and it was Mallory Knox or Dorian Gray. But then they brought that film out, ‘Dorian Gray’, so Mallory Knox it is. I’d never seen the film, if I’d known I’d have been like ‘We’re named after a murderer, man…fuck’.

Mikey: It’s quite interesting though because with Micky and Mallory Knox they have a strong relationship, they’re very much ‘in’ love, you know? But they’re so dark at the same time so it’s quite an amazing comparison, so I think we did well there.

Have you ever wanted to shoot somebody repeatedly?

Mikey: On the record, no.

Sam: On Call of Duty there was this little kid about 10 years old who kept shooting me then calling me names and stuff… no that sounds bad, like I want to shoot a ten year old (laughs). It was only on Call pf Duty I promise. He stopped me going Prestige! Down the headset he was like (high pitched) “rah rah rah rah”, I was like, “Oh my god, I’m getting mugged off by a 10 year old”. I never did get him back.

You’ve got your debut album coming out soon, can you tell us a bit about it?

Mikey: It’s been a long time coming. We finished ‘Pilot’ before we came out, so for us it’s been a year and a half in the running now.

Sam: We finished writing ‘Pilot’ in January 2010, then that came out on Wolf At Your Door last summer, so it was like a year and half ’til that came out properly. So we’ve been writing for about two and a half years, we went through some crap and it was hard to get back into it. We’d left it a year to try and write stuff, and we were writing stuff that wasn’t really what we wanted to do. But then it just clicked. We wrote one song and it’s just come from there. It’s sound is still like ‘Pilot’ but I think we’ve progressed and become better song writers. If people liked ‘Pilot’ they’re gonna like this as well.

Mikey: We’ve had a lot of new influences and new inspirations, not just musically, but in terms of the way we’re thinking. We just got older. It’s only like a year and a half but people grow up pretty quickly.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview to be posted next week!


Takedown Festival 2012 Roundup

By on Thursday, 22nd March 2012 at 2:00 pm

As the spring sunshine battles with the traditional drizzle in the early afternoon, Southampton University is awash with music fans young and old for the all-day party that is Takedown. With an obvious leaning toward the heavier end of the spectrum, 30 bands from across the UK take over four stages set up between two of the university buildings, both of which come equipped with a bar that never empties throughout the next 10 hours.

Opening the Big Deal stage are local pop-punkers Forever Can Wait. Fronted by the delightful Tash Crump, the band’s infectious set of upbeat party poppers are kept aloft by Crump’s energetic stage antics. Tracks ‘Walking on Wasted Time’ and ‘Rest’ get the modest crowd bobbing slightly, but as it’s still an early start for a Sunday, Forever Can Wait couldn’t have asked for more.

Over the on Monster stage are today’s best kept secret – Mallory Knox. This is their first-ever festival performance, which for such a young band isn’t surprising, but managing to half-fill the main stage at 3 PM is no mean feat. The Cambridge boys storm the stage and give it their all with the front few rows singing along to every word. Their EP ‘Pilot’ is seems to have been downloaded by half the people here and the upcoming release of their debut won’t go unnoticed. The big sounding drums and punktastic guitars whip up a frenzy whilst lead vocalist Mikey Chapman dives head first into powerful ‘Resuscitate’ before closing on the hook-laden ‘Oceans’. For a band who have never played a show of this scale before, they seem all too comfortable at the task and are destined to do it again and again.

A short trip outside and into the other building sees Polar. destroy the Guitar Central stage with their stripped down, ball-busting hardcore punk. The crowd are going ballistic as the pit swells and stretches the length of the room, full of headbanging, throwdowns and good ol’ moshing. The only word to describe the atmosphere is carnage, and that’s exactly what Polar. want. Rushing their way through ‘Armed to the Teeth’ and ‘Smile You Son of a Bitch!’, the whirlwind left behind will be ringing in Southampton’s ears for days to come.

(Feed The Rhino were next on stage but they were so bloody good they’re my ‘F’ letter in the Alphabet Tour. Keep your eyes peeled for the full review.)

Unfortunately the crowd for Aliases doesn’t match up to the previous two bands. The room that was previously full of sweaty bodies has decided to take a breather for this one, which hinders the performance slightly. The technicalities of the Mancunian quintet are showcased fantastically, but despite their best efforts the crowd just isn’t as intense as previously: possibly too high up the bill?

Over on the Southampton Music stage Max Raptor are giving it their all to the 100-or-so people in attendance who haven’t popped in for a pint and a sit down, and their final track ‘The King is Dead’ riles up the crowd perfectly for the final stretch of the day.

Back at the heavier Guitar Central stage, the Hertfordshire hardcore mob Heights have brought the entire throwdown contingent to party with them. Making a blistering racket that at times make the security look physically in pain, Heights give Takedown all they can muster. Covered in sweat and spit, the five noiseniks scream their lungs to dust whilst trying their hardest to get into the crowd (something the security are only too keen to stop from happening). Battling their way through fan favourites ‘Forget’ and ‘Oceans’ as well as the anthemic ‘The Lost and Alone’, Takedown are left numb, shaken and ecstatic.

But who could round off such an amazing day of partying? The ultimate festival band – Skindred, pictured at top. (Not sure logistically how they managed this appearance, as I saw them listed on the SXSW schedule at a Welsh music showcase last week – Ed.) Named as Britain’s best live band repeatedly by some of the UK’s biggest rock music mags (and nominated for Best Live Band at this year’s Golden Gods), the pioneers of ragga-metal bring the noise and the hits. Walking on stage to a remix of the ‘Star Wars Imperial March’, Benji Webbe instantly owns the room. Standing in front of his cohorts in a white suit complete with union flag accessories, Skindred launch into a raucous rendition of ‘Ratrace’ that gets the jam-packed room bouncing to the rafters. It’s nothing but a greatest hits set from the Welsh wailers complete with various sound clips and mashups, merging Metallica‘s ‘Sad but True’ with their own ‘Trouble’ gives the metalheads the kickstart they need to get the pit moving. But nothing compares to the smash hit ‘Nobody’ that forces the entirety of Takedown onto their feet and screaming the lyrics until their throats bleed.

As Takedown is brought to a close and Southampton’s alternative population wander back to various buses and taxis, the scene is one of joy and exhaustion as one of the first festivals of the year comes to a close. An amalgamation of hardcore, punk, metal and rock has brought some of the hottest bands in the UK to one of the most unlikely venues, which will hopefully be back next year bigger and badder than before.


Preview: Takedown Festival 2012

By on Tuesday, 7th February 2012 at 9:00 am

Since taking a hiatus last year, the south of England’s spring-time smashfest is returning with a veritable highlight reel of hardcore. Takedown Festival is back to reclaim Southampton University for the masses of heavy music fans on Sunday 18 March with four stages of nothing but mayhem.

Headlining the day-long extravaganza are the titans of ragga-metal Skindred (pictured above), who won a Metal Hammer Golden God for the Best Live Band last year. Joining the Newport noisemakers are over 30 bands spread across four stages including the angsty Norfolk lads Deaf Havana, the punky part animals Lower Than Atlantis and local boys Bury Tomorrow. The crème of upcoming metal and hardcore also take over the lineup in the guise of Mallory Knox, Feed The Rhino, The James Cleaver Quintet and Heights. TGTF faves Fei Comodo will also be setting the south alight with their post-hardcore antics.

Tickets are priced at £22.50 for the all day festival to those aged 14 years and older. The festival has a limited capacity, so snap up the tickets quick as more fantastic bands are being announced soon! Buy them at Seetickets; to find out more information on Takedown, go here. TGTF hopes to see you in the pit!


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