Fontaines D.C. @ King Tut's, Glasgow, 14 Apr

Fontaines D.C. leave a thoroughly sold-out King Tut's audience singing their praises in the streets

Live Review by Fraser MacIntyre | 17 Apr 2019

A subtle, unforced sense of kinship between tonight's headliners and support makes tonight's bill both satisfyingly cohesive and a rousing statement of intent for those not already in the know: the restless disenchantment of young Irish bands of their calibre will be heard and resonated with far beyond their cities and towns in the months to come. The inevitability of this couldn’t be more apparent. By the bar and in the street after the show, countless voices sing the praises of Dogrel, a record that – in the three days it has been free to fly from record shop shelves – has made a bold impression upon everyone from The Hold Steady to IDLES.

Old punks after a new fix, NME kids clutching and spilling multiple pints, and less easily stereotyped punters fall silent and offer Just Mustard their undivided attention as the Dundalk band open proceedings. Abrasive and consistently inventive instrumentally, the five-piece electrify as Katie Ball’s voice rises and overwhelms, though it becomes a little lost in the mix from time to time. The Twilight Sad’s Johnny Docherty joins the rest of King Tut's in appreciative applause after an intoxicatingly claustrophobic rendition of Curtains. Both bands will support The Cure in Ireland this June.

The Pogues’ Boys From the County Hell heralds the arrival of our headliners. Knowledge of an SWG3 show booked for November is not required to immediately discern that the presence – never mind sonic assault – of Fontaines D.C. can barely be contained by the Tut's stage. Frontman Grian Chatten is in perpetual motion, pacing and swinging his arms around, while half of the audience are whipped into a frenzy by Hurricane Laughter's raucous bassline.

Chatten and his bandmates have emphasised how much they value community in recent interviews, and there's a tangible sense of it in the room tonight. Some may value a song like Big as a defiant proclamation of ambition that cannot be contained. Others may be reeled in by its sharp exploration of a protagonist attempting to bury his humble roots with the capitalist decadence directly addressed by Chequeless Reckless: 'Money is the sandpit of the soul'. 

Fontaines D.C. can be dismissed neither as observers or instigators. They balance these two extremes with ease, and are connecting to a lot of people, quickly, because of this. Thoughtful enough to see 'what’s really going on' and bold enough to proclaim 'None can pull the passion loose from youth’s ungrateful hands', their demand for intelligent action and reflection is as welcome as cold water in the desert for many. Gentrification and rampant egotism are, after all, far from exclusive to Dublin.

Empathy mingles with detachment in Chatten’s voice during Roy’s Tune. His sincerity is heartbreaking at times, but always welcome. Too Real and Boys In the Better Land leave carnage and a missing shoe in their wake, before we all cry out 'and in the foggy dew I saw you throwing shapes around' as if the lyrics to Dublin City Sky have been etched into our hearts for years, rather than days.