Review: Tá an Grian ag taitneamh

Fontaines DC lead singer Grian Chatten
Credit: Wikicommons

After a hectic year touring their debut album Dogrel, which was named BBC 6 Music’s album of the year, the boys of Fontaines D.C. arrived home to give the people of Dublin what they wanted, which consisted of listening to unfiltered, home-grown talent on a Sunday night. The atmosphere outside the Dublin 8 venue of Vicar Street was rife with anticipation and talk of “one of the best f***ing bands to come out of Ireland since I don’t know when,” to quote a riled-up attendee.

Inside, their support act, Warm Drag, attempted to draw a crowd through their electro-rock sound but even when Fontaines D.C. guitarist Carlos O’Connell joined them on stage, it was clear they were not why the masses had flocked. After a quick 15 minutes interlude, in which the gentleman next to me found the time to check into Vicar Street on Facebook to earn some extra clout with his friends, out came the band. No introductions, greetings or even a word before they launched into their opening number, Big. Living up to its name, big is exactly what this song was, an explosion of sound and, as put by Dan Stubbs of NME speaking on the band earlier in the year, the entrance into a: “sucker punch of huge tunes, songs that are unreasonably anthemic for a band so new to have up their sleeves.” The crowd was mostly made up of Fontaines D.C. merch-clad men over the age of 40, who were more than ready for the night. Watching the Liam Gallagher-esque movements of lead singer Grian Chatten as he stood shouting imperfect melody into the microphone.

They didn’t slow down once they started, racing into Chequeless Reckless and then onto a new one from the band, Televised Mind. The crowd was engrossed, lapping up whatever they were offering. The Lotts calmed the room a bit but as soon as the quintet played the opening bars of Boys in the Better Land, any decorum present was lost in an ever-growing mosh pit topped with various crowd surfers.

Fontaines DC album cover

Evergreen and Dublin City Sky gave a chance for the room to cool down before being utterly upended by Hurricane Laughter which Chatten fidgeted his way through, pulling at his clothes, pacing the stage and giving himself an occasional slap across the face between lyrics. This was the build-up to their final song Too Real which followed some of the only words spoken by the frontman: “We don’t do encores”. Unsurprisingly enough, they didn’t need an encore. Too Real left the audience perfectly satisfied with the show that Fontaines D.C. had just given, with the rest of the band coming out of the background and doing a little showboating of their own, climbing on amps, playing the guitar with a beer bottle and just generally joining in with the erratic behaviour displayed by Chatten throughout the show.

Fontaines D.C. are a band of very few words indeed, but this doesn’t take away from their undeniable ability to entertain, bringing about an insatiable hunger for modern Irish bands. As put by Amos Barshad of the Irish times, they are “an anarchic guitar-rock band in a bleep-bloop present.”

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