Dominating the Dublin scene with Rough Trade’s ‘#1 Album of The Year’ Dogrel, Fontaines D.C. embarked on their UK stretch of 20 dates kicking things off in the Cottonopolis of Manchester. The fervent five-piece have spent the past year grafting arguably unlike any other band 2019 has seen with a US, European tour as well as a fistful of must-see festival sets including 3 slots alone at the royalty-tiered Glastonbury Festival.
Joining the full-bodied onslaught of noisy, socially unrested, politically driven, revitalised punk scene, Fontaines D.C. stand out amongst their chaotic counterparts. Armed with a thick and unwavering Northern Irish accent, youthful frontman Grian Chatten presents a refreshingly unassuming demeanour. Following his 4 bandmates onto the sold-out O2 Ritz stage, Chatten paces pretty unnervingly back and forth swinging his figure to-and-fro to the grumbling of undoubtedly one of the band’s strongest, Hurricane Laughter. Whipped up into a frenzy, the centre of the pit swirled, echoing the erratic gestures of Chatten who delivered his sermon over the hypnotic, dark and roaring riffs.
As strobes of white light and deep red washes drenched the stage, comfortingly the set were as if it belonged in a different decade. Guitarist Carlos O’Connell matched Chatten’s movement but as the band guided their spirited audience through a debut-led setlist, the evening abruptly ended after a mere hour of performance. Boys in the Better Land, Too Real, Roy’s Tune and Television Screens stood out however there was a sense of lack-lustre and this was accompanied by sadly no feature of The Lotts.
Caught between being convinced of the sound missing a mark with it certainly improving as you ventured closer to the epicentre as well as a creeping feeling that the band were pretty knackered, this certainly wasn’t the strongest we’ve seen the Dublin quintet. However, fans remained loyal with a growing and constant energy which was comically displayed through raised voices mimicking Chatten’s repetition of “tyre and tyre and tyre and tyre” in pounding pop hit Sha Sha Sha.
Photography by Olivia White