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Fontaines D.C - Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin - June 3, 2019

4 June 2019

Photo by Kevin Burke

The evening of June-3rd was the setting for the collision of punk and poetry which dominated the Dublin skyline. A well executed, emotionally injected assault on home turf as Fontaines D.C played their only Irish date this summer.

The last twelve months have hurled the Dublin quintet into the stratosphere. In November 2018, the Fricke’s Picks section of Rolling Stone Magazine described Fontaines as ”an exciting new band”, galvanized further when their incendiary debut album Dogrel hit the streets on the 12th-of-April. A date on American television followed, with an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show performing cracking versions of “Liberty Belle” and “Boys in the Better Land”.

Forward ahead to early May and to the unfortunate circumstances as Swedish-sister act First Aid Kit pulling out of Dublin’s Forbidden Fruit Festival, due to personal reasons. The act were due to play the last evening of the three-day festival on the grounds of Kilmainham. Only three-weeks before the scheduled date, Fontaines D.C stepped in to fill the slot. The excitement went off the chart as the cities proudest boys would come home. Slipped onto a bill with Elbow, Spiritualized, RY X, Julien Baker and Saint Sister, all roads lead to Dublin’s Kilmainham for the first great festival of 2019. One which had become the hottest ticket in town.

Taking the stage at approximately 7:30pm, Fontaines are grounded, not overpowered with the notions of stardom they have rightly earned. The event is clouded, wet and muddy but the electricity oozing from the stage as the guitar cranks of “Hurricane Laughter” erupt, sends a flare of joyful distortion into the evening air. Flanked by guitarists Carlos O’Connell and Conor Curley, Grian Chatten stalked the stage with all the elegance of a wild animal let loose. His wry vocals alive with a snarl, similar to that of John Lydon in the good old days.

Deeper into the set as the numbers from Dogrel roll perfectly-“Boys in the Better Land”, “Television Screens”, “Too Real” and “Liberty Belle”. The spectacle becomes one which transcends the usual festival staging. Not so much a performance, but the awakening of a revolution, the spirit of Irish defiance which is still alive, and thankfully breathing. Closing out the set with a thumping “Big” an hour after they took the stage, which is perhaps the only drawback as the set was simply not long enough. The hour went by too quickly as audiences were wrapped within every syllable from Grian Chatten’s mouth, every echoing drill sound from Conor Deegan’s bass.

Regardless of the circumstances, or the length of time, it still was a night steeped in rain and awe-struck applause. Fontaines D.C executed every minute of that hour with a raw perfection. One had to reflect on the mindset of the following band, Elbow and their lead singer Guy Garvey. Who, no doubt knew all too well of the task of trying to top both the performance, and the intensity of Dublin sons Fontaines D.C.