Scowl provide another reminder of their giddy power at Reading 2023

By the end of the set, there’s clearly some new fans in the audience.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.

“If you don’t know who the fuck we are, you’ll about to find out,” grins Scowl’s vocalist Kat Moss. Seconds later, the five-piece hardcore band from California launch into a slinking instrumental number that quickly morphs into a slab of pure, untethered rage. As you might expect, a sprawling circle pit quickly breaks out.

The likes of ‘Shot Down’ and ‘Bloodhound’ allow Scowl to play hard, fast and frantic while the playful ‘Fuck Around’ toys with a stop/start fury that’s as physical as it is fun.

“It’s a dream to be standing here, with my best friends,” starts Kat, taking a break from churning the crowd up to share a sincere moment of gratitude. “I don’t know who came here today to break a sweat and do some dancing but ‘Psychic Dance Routine’ is your chance,” she continues. The title track to the band’s latest EP sees Scowl dial into the melody that’s always been a vital part of their sound, and push it through a fearless, colourful filter. It doesn’t mean that the circle pits are any less intense, only that the people who really have no idea who Scowl are have something to latch onto. And it isn’t long before some of them are in the middle of the circle pit, either.

Alongside bands like Militarie Gun, Scowl are part of a breaking new wave of hardcore who are proving there’s more to the scene than bludgeoning riffs. In the process, they’re opening the door for a new generation of fans to get caught up in the cathartic, community-first scene. There are a few raised eyebrows from the fringes of the tent when Scowl launch into their chunky, unforgiving music but by the end of the set, there’s clearly some new fans in the audience. And for the Scowl faithful, today’s set is another reminder of the giddy power this band wields.