Fontaines DC – Manchester Academy
Reviewer: Matthew Forrest
Sometimes you get a feeling when walking up to a venue that the night ahead is going to be pretty special, a vibe in the crowd, a buzz around the venue. As I joined the queue at the Academy for Fontaines DC for the second of three sell out shows, I could instantly tell this was going to be a special night. From bladdered punters unsure if they were at the correct venue, let alone which band they were going to see. To a guy being headlocked off site by security for numerous failed attempts to gain access to the venue due to not having a ticket. The final indicator was Happy Mondays, God’s Cop blasting through the PA to herald the bands arrival, and send the assembled throng into a frenzy.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The pandemic robbed the Dublin quintette of playing their 2020 gritty masterpiece, A Hero’s Death, likewise their 2019 Mercury-nominated Dogrel. The wait hasn’t hindered the band with a sell out UK tour, and judging by the crowd’s reaction, a thirst for music with plenty of bite and attitude!
Opening the set with their second album’s title track, it’s a fairly muted opening and not quite the frenetic opening one may have hoped for, but I needn’t have worried as the band shift through the gears with a dirty rendition of Chequeless Reckless and crowd favourite Televised Mind. There is no banter between songs or introductions as the band, especially lead singer Grian Chatten get on with the job at hand, it’s an attitude that works perfectly with their musical output. Through out the set Chatten paces about the stage clearly unable to find his peace, which shows visually and with the group’s lyrics.
There is a shift in pace as the audience are treated to some giant inflatable eyeballs for the song, Too Real, resembling a reimagined punk version of The Prisoner; the crowd lap it up, batting the balls around.
With honesty and a brutal punch, the band highlight the working class struggle, tackling poverty, austerity and the injustice of a world that sees the poorest and disadvantaged held back. With such a strong message they are a must see live act – no matter how long it has taken these gigs to happen. Fontaines DC look like they’ll be around for many years to come and so, rather sadly, will the themes of their songs.
The main set finishes with the anthem Boys in the Better Land, providing the loudest cheer of the night, raw and packing a punch, they are certainly a band worth seeing live – that rare beast in this day and age – living up to the hype!
Fontaines DC are on tour throughout October dates – can be found at https://fontainesdc.com/