Epilogue: Knocked Loose tally a crucial win for hardcore at Coachella

Epilogue: Knocked Loose tally a crucial win for hardcore at Coachella

- By Ramon Gonzales

Guitarist Isaac Hale reflects on the back-to-back sets that earned the band widespread acclaim as a highlight of 2023.

Now a few weeks removed from the annual congregation in California's Coachella Valley, there are a few especially important takeways that seem even better defined now that the dust has settled in Indio.

While the headlines of the 2023 edition were initially dominated by the fallout of shuffling headliners and the zero hour heroics of Blink-182, there was a compelling subtext to the weekend that has since surfaced - one that bears added significance in the space of heavy music.

Among the consensus with regards to highlights from Coachella 2023 was the packaged pair of live submissions from Louisville hardcore flagbearers, Knocked Loose.


Holding court in the Sonora tent, anchoring a run of run of show that touted the likes of indie alt sensation Alex G and modern darkwave purveyor Mareux, Knocked Loose proved to be somewhat of a wild card on the bill. Though Coachella certainly included guitar driven aggression, the festival's stylistic direction was lean when it came to the heavy stuff.

Knocked Loose wasn't even the only hardcore band this year's weekender. In fact both Soul Glo and Scowl respectively put on for the heavier end of the spectrum with their own sets in Indio. However, it was impossible to shake the sense that the pair of KL live sets were something of a watershed moment for the greater culture of hardcore.

That reality was not lost on the band themselves either, as guitarist Isaac Hale better assessed the significance in the afterglow.

"Something about this definitely felt different from any other set I’ve seen or heard about," said Hale. "The juxtaposition of our sound at Coachella is so in your face that there’s no seeing around it. The reaction we received felt truly unbelievable. Both from the crowd and the artist surrounding us."

He punctuated the outing as a sort of career highlight thus far saying, "It’s definitely a moment I won’t forget."

Photo courtesy of Coachella

Some weeks later, the reverberations of the band's sets can be referenced in the wealth of social media fodder that continues to flood everyone's feed. Clips continue to be shared all revisiting the capacity crowd packed in tight to witness the spectacle under the Sonora tent. There were bodies climbing over one another, taking full advantage of the no-barricade stage and a platform ideal for a dive into the sea of humanity all collectively going apeshit in unison with Knocked Loose.

The intensity of set, the kind of visceral reaction that resonated among the fans and the kind of sea change that seemed to happen in real time were some of the elements that Hale explained made this performance a truly unique experience - Something worth noting from a band that has earned a reputation as being relentless on the road.

"Both sets are a blur to me. I truly could not believe what I was seeing. I had to take a minute after the first set in a corner by myself just to process what happened. Looking back now I didn’t know it was possible."

Photo courtesy of Coachella

What could have run afoul of novelty on a festival bill that leaned heavily into its pop and indie sensibilities, resulted in a secondary arrival of sorts for Knocked Loose. Though it was plainly evident that many of the fans under the Sonora tent were keenly aware of the insanity that would soon ensue, for those getting their introduction to Knocked Loose - the sets were a revelation - an awakening the world watch happen in real time. The sort of hardcore baptism has since been on a visual loop since with the algorithm ensuring anyone that missed the set IRL, has a least caught a glimpse since.

Having recently marked their 10th anniversary with a hometown set at the DIY-driven LDB Fest just weeks prior, the band then found themselves making national headlines, included in the same stanzas with names like Frank Ocean and Bad Bunny. Deservedly so.

Rather than tip-toe into their set with a sense of trepidation about being the anomaly, Knocked Loose was not content with just being included. Rather, the fully embraced the opportunity to land a haymaker and did so upon an unsuspecting festival crowd not once, but twice. The move ultimately reaffirmed what fans of the band have long known - Knocked Loose is well overdue for their flowers.

For everyone else, the band's set offered the gift of unanticipated discovery - a serendipitous moment that undoubtedly steered a new contingency prospective fans onto a lane of art that wasn't on their radar prior. In that regard Knocked Loose further emphasized their value to the culture - by exponentially increasing it's reach with a single festival stroke.

For Issac Hale, the outcome was a testament to their years of dedication to their craft and the requisite level of authenticity that has always been at the creative core of Knocked Loose.

"Our ambition has never wavered and has only grown stronger over the years. This just pushes us to break more and more boundaries."

Ever optimistic about the trajectory of the band, Hale understood the gravity of their win at Coachella and detailed how it only added more fuel to the tank. "It will be a big year. And next year will be even bigger. We are inspired, driven, and ready."

Photo courtesy of Coachella
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