Fontaine’s D.C. is one of Ireland's greatest exports in recent years, so there's no better way to spend St Patrick's Day than with the band themselves. Teaming up with Jameson Connects as part of their #WidenTheCircle campaign, Fontaine’s D.C. put on a blinding gig in the heart of Dublin, live-streamed across the world via YouTube.
The live stream opened with Monjola, an R&B artist from Ireland recounting a tale of Irish get-togethers for St. Patrick's day. As the screen goes blank momentarily, Fontaines D.C. then appear on stage. Opening with Too Real, Grian Chatten’s deep tone is accompanied by a hard steady beat courtesy of the drums, whilst the guitars almost sound like the roaring of racing cars. The track instantaneously showcased just what the crowd were in for with the band's 60-minute set, as the band's famously fast strobe lighting takes the audience into a state of dissolution, cutting everyone off from reality and allowing them to cherish the moment.
With the crowd suitably warmed up, A Lucid Dream was to have its moment. A quintessentially Fontaines song, Grian Chatten’s angst-ridden vocals and captivating yet erratic showmanship command the audience to dance with feeling. The power projected itself from the stage in Dublin right through to computer screens around the world, keeping the viewer gripped by the sheer intensity of the stage and darkness of the tunes themselves.
With the band's third album 'Skinty Fia' well on the way, the new single Jackie Down The Line (which was also featured on our New Music Friday list) was bound to make an appearance. It’s a gothic, self-loathing song that encapsulates the dreary punk aesthetic that the band have built their name on. The crowd seemed more than welcoming of the rousing new track – heads were bopping and arms flailing. It seems everyone was taken in by the new adventure. The song even earned a brief “hello” from the frontman, a big deal given that the band are known for their all killer, no conversation performances.
With the raising and waving of a small Irish flag at the start of the track, Grian purposefully wraps his arms around the microphone stand, exposing the small clover tattoo on his wrist further signifying his love for his homeland. The band's love of Ireland is a running theme through their music, as demonstrated by another new single, titled I Love You. Both comfortable yet erratic on stage, Grian delivers this fast, gothic, single about their love of Ireland and the gentrification happening in Dublin. Stunning poetry runs throughout, although one wouldn't expect any less with a band who are so proud and vocal of their poetic influences.
Shaky camera movements capture the atmosphere of the gig, whilst dark lighting provides a more horror-like feel. Hurricane Laughter showcases their effortless, rapid musicianship and assertive vocals. Stamping drum beats and screeching guitar create the perfect cocktail between DIY and professionalism.
As the stage goes dark, Grian Chatten can be heard stating “Give the young people a chance in Ireland'' before a softer, exciting yet unexpected moment from Fontaines D.C. kicks in. A cover. It's rare for a band such as Fontaines to do any kind of cover live considering they already have a wealth of material for a 60-minute set but it seems the band couldn’t resist a crack at Just Like Heaven, originally written and performed by fellow punks The Cure. It broke down what was an incredibly fast-paced, eccentric set, forcing a moment of serenity upon the crowd. Although I’m not the biggest fan of covers in general, Fontaine’s managed to make this song their own with the biggest surprise being Grian Chatten’s angelic, exposed vocals – a side of his talent we rarely get to hear. The cover managed to pay homage to the original also adding a really special section into this celebratory gig.
As the evening drew to a close, A Hero’s Death was here to remind us all that life ain’t always empty. One of Fontaine’s D.C. 's most meaningful songs, it was a fitting end to a rock and roll celebration of Ireland and its cultural exports. As someone who has seen the band live twice previously, I have to demand that everyone watches them at least once, whether that be live or from the comfort of your sofa. I always expect bands to wear off on me once I’ve seen them a few times, but Fontaine’s D.C. capture a moment with each performance and somehow get more impressive as years go on. If anything, this livestream has got me even more impatient for my next outing with the band, which will be when they play Finsbury Park in support of Sam Fender in the summer.