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The Independent Critic

The band "Full Service" including Tim Kepner, Elliott Lardon, Anthony Pitt, David Kepner
David Kepner, Morgan Betz
82 Minutes

 "Takeover!" Review 
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Some bands wait for a chance, others take one...

Austin, Texas band Full Service may not necessarily take over the world, but they do hatch an extraordinary plan to take over 16 music venues or, to be exact, they plan to hitch a ride on the musical coattails of Snoop Dogg and 311 as they tour through 16 cities by setting up their gear and playing brief shows outside the venues, with the tailgaters or anywhere else they can find to pull off their unsanctioned shows in the hope of getting new fans, handing out demo tapes and living their own rock n' roll dream.

As renegade as the band itself, Takeover! is a spirited and entertaining independent doc that does an absolutely beautiful job of capturing the heart and determination of a band determined to make a name for itself no matter what it takes.

I mean, seriously. What would you really risk for a chance at your dreams?

Financial loss? Yep, it's here.

Arrest? Yep, that too.

Crappy weather? On occasion.

Complete and utter failure? It was definitely a possibility.

There's something amazing about watching Takeover!, a film that more than anything captures the camaraderie that exists between the members of the band. It's a camaraderie that feels more rich and more authentic than one usually finds captured on film, a camaraderie built upon a passion for the music, a love for and trust in one another and a willingness to take risks along the way.

The mark of a successful film is when a film brings you over to its way of thinking. As I started watching Takeover!, I found myself even a bit ticked off at the band for attempting what amounted to an invasion of privacy that seemed a bit disrespectful of both 311 and Snoop Dogg. Yet, over the course of the film I began to see the Takeover Tour as something so much more. While one could potentially make the "invasion of privacy" argument, the members of Full Service are consistently respectful of their venues, respectful of the security and, perhaps most importantly, respectful of the fans attending the shows. While their vision is to gain some new fans and, in their wildest dreams, perhaps get the attention of 311, their version of taking over the 16 shows was simply to grab a unique window of opportunity and relentlessly go for it.

Along the way, Full Service experiences equipment failures, bad planning, over zealous cops, bad weather and much more. Instead of break, they simply become more creative and determined along the way while strengthening their brotherhood and learning quite a bit about themselves in the process. More than a few non-profits and indie artists could benefit from watching this film and learning about the spirit of the indie world and the organization required to actually grow along the way.

Takeover! features kick ass cinematography courtesy of Morgan Betz and Brett Williams, photography that captures the beauty of life on the road along with all its occasionally overwhelming challenges. While the special effects performance shots feel a bit gratuitous and I found myself wishing for more pure performance footage, Takeover! is a beautifully photographed film with an almost stunningly pristine sound mix that far transcends the usual indie doc.

Takeover! is going a bit of a non-traditional route in searching for distribution, with lots of indie screenings including a 12-city tour this year in cities like the band's hometown of Austin plus Chicago, Houston, Tulsa, Kansas City, Philly and others. While most of America is catching Katy Perry: Part of Me in 3-D, fans of a real behind-the-scenes at an indie band laying their claim in their music world should skip the fireworks and check out Takeover!

Takeover! is a must see for fans of both musical docs and films based in the musical world. It's the kind of film that makes you rush home and Google the band in search of their background, history and discography and, quite honestly, it's a film that will make you absolutely love the band, their commitment and their music.

For more information on Takeover!, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits to the left of this review. Then, be sure to give the band Full Service a like on their Facebook page!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic