Back in April, Dublin post-punk band Fontaines D.C. released their debut LP, Dogrel. What made (and still makes) Dogrel such a mesmerising album, wasn’t Dogrel’s innovation; but its authenticity, passion and ability to excite listeners in a way many other talented bands aren’t always able to do. As well as a top ten peak UK chart position; Dogrel was recognised as this year’s Rough Trade album of the year. To celebrate this achievement, all five members of Fontaines D.C. played this few hundred capacity venue (which is primarily one of London’s most popular independent record shops).
Fontaines D.C. has made a lot of statements in their debut LP about authenticity and authenticity being their raison d’être. Fontaines D.C. has quickly benefitted from a growing fan base, increasingly positive and an increasingly larger media platform, nominations and awards, as well as more sell-out, shows at larger venues. As soon as the Dublin five-piece entered the stage, it was clear that nothing had changed. Dressed comfortably, void of both fashion and most importantly, vanity and looking the antithesis of each other; whatever opinions one may form of this band; Fontaines D.C. could not be accused of being self-conscious, vulnerable to the whims of trending influencers.
Singer Grian Chatten had an exceptionally all-consuming presence about him. Chatten appeared to be giving himself self-hypnosis to channel one-hundred per cent of his mind, body and soul to this intimate Rough Trade East performance. As soon as Fontaines D.C. opened with “Hurricane Laughter”; the entire motley in the crowd through this song, whether it be Dublin diaspora, hipsters, indie rockers and other music lovers heard all the evidence they needed as to why this Dublin band was the recipient of the Rough Trade album of the year award. As well as Fontaines D.C. uniting the crowd in their honour; Chatten threw a flamingo prop that happened to be in his line of vision into the crowd.
“Chequeless Reckless” followed suit. When XS Noize reviewed Dogrel, the lyrics to this real, honest song protruded to the front of our minds. As Chatten sang with immaculate diction; Fontaines D.C. proved that they were no sell-outs, idiots, phonies or dilettantes. Instead, they paid homage to Jack Kerouac, whom they bonded over at Art College by demonstrating their ongoing honesty in their own words and music via Dogrel. “Sha Sha Sha” immediately and appropriately followed. Guitarist Carlos O’Connell exacerbated further excitement to the already moshing crowd by climbing on top of the stage.
The professional and purposeful rawness of Dogrel was pleasantly more potent live. With Dogrel making one feel as if they were in a small, “packed and sweated indie venue reacting in harmonious dance movements as a prophet reacts to being in receipt of a divine revelation”; there was no doubt, that despite the crowd consisting of strangers; a collective, inimitable and unrepeatable experience was being shared. This shared experience was most profound on “Too Real”, “Liberty Belle”, and “Boys in the Better Land”.
Whilst this gig was all about celebrating Dogrel; the band also dropped new track “Lucid Dream”, which equally impressed Rough Trade East. The track that opened Dogrel, “Big”, which immediately told listeners the impact Dublin has on these five lads perfectly ended this adrenaline, euphoric, non-stop punk-fuelled gig. Whatever one may find that Fontaines D.C. doesn’t do live or with their music; the one thing they definitely do is ooze gallon loads of secretions of excitement from all who come into contact with them. Furthermore, Fontaines D.C. proved that they were unsullied from their sudden exposure to increased fame and media attention, giving hope that there is longevity in both their music and live shows.