FONTAINES D.C’s’ third Glasgow outing of 2019 caps off a year of unparalleled growth for the Dublin-based band.
However, to describe their recent journey as “growth” feels like a grave disservice; in the summer of 2018 they were playing in Bath Street’s Bloc–which you can watch here). Fast forward to four months later and they’re opening for Shame at SWG3’s Television Studio. Now with a sold-out King Tut’s show, Mercury Prize-nominated debut album and TRNSMT set since then– to name but a fraction of their recent achievements– on Thursday night was the site of one of the best gigs Glasgow has played host to in recent months.
What makes us as listeners fall in love with any artist, but especially Fontaines DC, is their ability to bring us into their world and make us live their experiences through art. They depart slightly from their contemporaries such as Idles and Shame, in their marrying of a more traditional, and in their case Irish, musicality with the very much in-vogue post-punk style. The band stay true to their influences such as Joyce, Yeats, Irish trad and Dublin City itself through their lyrics, music and frontman Grian Chatten’s uncompromising singing accent, shunning all clichés and stereotypes that are obscuring the culture they love in favour of raw, unadulterated authenticity.
The result is their ability to perform a set that captures each person in attendance with a broad spectrum of emotions. A whistlestop tour through the history of guitar music from 1977 onwards, what makes the band special is not only their emotional dexterity, but the inbuilt fluidity to their sound that allows them to transition from rambunctious to cloying and delicate on a dime. From traditional ballad style songs such as the riveting ‘Dublin City Sky’ to anthemic indie anthems like ‘Boys In the Better Land’ and ‘Liberty Belle’, the Glasgow audience simultaneously fell in love with and lamented over their version of Ireland just as much as Fontaines DC do through their music. By cleverly refusing to upgrade the venue in the face of overwhelming demand, the show felt like a genuine moment that supersedes the here and now to become one of those moments where those in attendance will proclaim ‘I was there.”
Wherever they go from here, this emphatic celebration of the Dogrel era has solidified why they harbour all the potential to become one of the defining bands of the decade that’s lurking just around the corner.