LIVE: Fontaines D.C. @ Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin

In aid of charity, the Dubliners serve up a set of poetic aggression and emotion within the city's former prison.
Posted: 17 July 2020 Words: Ellis Maddison

In their first live reunion post-lockdown, Fontaines D.C. set up within the historic walls of Kilmainham Gaol to help raise money for homelessness in Ireland. 

A few seconds silence and a slightly out of focus, multi-tiered prison cell backdrop is shattered by Tom Coll’s immense drums on new single ‘A Heroes Death’, compelling frontman Grian Chatten to energetically clasp his microphone and set the band swinging in ubiquitous dynamism. 

The fiery start to the upcoming album’s eponymous hit sends forth a tracking camera taking us up close and personal with each member of the cult band of Irish mercenaries, that have risen to heartthrob alt-rock status in virtually no time at all. With the five-piece positioned within an equal, circular diameter of each other, they blast through ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Chequeless Reckless’ in a typically serious, fast-paced style.

With new single ‘Televised Mind’ played alongside the numerous winners off their debut album Dogrel, it seems that Fontaines D.C. have no intention of slowing down their relentless pace while songs of new and old blend into one amorphous wave of poetically aggressive tunes, characterised by Chatten’s increasingly animated persona, as he sheds his thrift-shop style pea coat and repeatedly fist punches the air for his own favourite song, ‘Too Real’. The frontman’s thick Dublin accent in ‘I Don’t Belong’ alongside repeated catchy guitar licks and faultlessly consistent drums make the band’s latest single the prime example of what a great Fontaines D.C. tune consists of, simultaneously making it evident as to why they’re very much in a league of their own with their uniquely emotive sound. 

 “Feels nice to be playing again… thanks for watching”, says Grian softly, after handing his drummer his beloved tambourine for ‘Dublin City Sky’. Dogrel’s final track and the band’s frequent choice of gig-closer truly proves the song-writing talent of Fontaines D.C., as they take a slowed step away from their usual quick-fire alt-rock to melodically walk the listener through memoirs of their former life on the streets of Dublin.

Ending the gaol-set with their 2019 breakthrough belter of a tune, ‘Boys In The Better Land’, Fontaines D.C. prove just how quickly they’ve risen to prominence, and aptly prepare the world for what will undoubtedly be a triumphant return to the post-pandemic music scene.

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