Eagulls, Leeds’ snarling post-punk pioneers take to the stage at Reading festival, fresh from a worldwide tour following the release of their debut self-titled album, to a relatively small but undeniably enthusiastic crowd. George Mitchell stands, head cocked in a Liam Gallagher meets Johnny Rotten stance, with sunglasses hiding his eyes, staring out at the crowd vacantly as the band open on debut album track ‘Tough Luck’.
Perhaps unusually for such a gritty punk outfit as Eagulls, tracks such as ‘Hollow Visions’ and pre-album single, ‘Moulting’ lead the crowd to clap along to the beat, as if they were listening to Dolly Parton number not Eagulls’ unforgiving scuzz. Despite it being early in the afternoon, the mosh pit is in full force, looking like an uncontrollable human whirlpool- this turns even nastier as the band thrash out ‘Opaque’. Mark Goldsworthy’s phaser-coated guitar couldn’t sound more on point, it pierces through every song relentlessly, contributing to the band’s unique sound.
Closing on ‘Possessed’, clearly the five-piece’s most popular track, the opening riff is screamed back at them passionately like a football chant. Bodies are lifted above the crowd, most remarkably being one particularly cheeky young man posing for a selfie with the security guard while he is hauled over the barrier. The security guard wasn’t thrilled.
Eagulls, although perhaps not an obvious festival act, were a real highlight of Friday, with a filthy attitude and even filthier tunes, this band have got every right to play the main stage next year.