Fontaines D.C. @ SWG3, Glasgow, 21 Nov
Despite some recurring sound issues, Fontaines D.C.’s latest Scottish show at SWG3 is an excellent showcase of their talents
Diving straight into the powerfully dark Hurricane Laughter, it is clear something is not quite right, even if Fontaines D.C. themselves are unaware of it. Lead singer Grian Chatten’s vocals are barely audible against the harsh instrumentals, a problem not evident in the band's studio recordings. A few songs later, on the vocal-heavy The Lotts, the mix faces a seismic shift – now the instrumentation is distorted and quiet, against significantly amplified vocals.
One positive takeaway from these sound issues is the professionalism with which the Dublin quintet play on regardless of any struggles. Be it a failure on the part of the sound technician, or a side effect of a sudden ascent to large venues perhaps unsuited for their raw, indie-punk anthems, problems persist from barrier to back row, unsettling what could have been a thoroughly stellar performance.
The night isn’t entirely let down though. The crowd are impassioned and rowdy throughout, with Chatten throwing water on them at one point and sitting at stage front consuming the atmosphere at another. Even in the quieter moments of Dublin City Sky and Roy’s Tune the band excel through the captivating lyricism that underpins Dogrel.
Despite any grievances caused by the sound mix, Fontaines D.C. clearly set themselves apart as an enigmatic, sonically diverse group who shift with ease from dark, heavy punk to waxen poeticism. Lasting sentiments are found in Big, the night's final track which sees both band and crowd fill the room with emphatic chants of “I’m gonna be big". Tonight, Fontaines D.C. prove that chant correct, and solidify themselves as one of the quintessential bands of 2019.