Any concern that energy might be running low for Fontaines DC’s third consecutive night at Manchester’s industrial Victoria Warehouse are quickly quashed moments into the scuzzy drone of opener ‘Big’. Masked by a murky haze, frontman Grian Chatten steps onto the monitor to screams otherwise reserved for some the world’s biggest pop stars as the crowd surge and clamber onto shoulders, raising celebratory Irish flags into the air.
It’s a special kind of gritty euphoria that the Dublin five-piece have been mastering since 2019’s ‘Dogrel’. They’ve come a long way since the biting spoken word of ‘Boys In A Better Land’ – still met by tonight’s biggest reaction. This year’s ‘Skinty Fa’ marks a natural step in their evolution, adding an avant-garde edge to their understated bravado. The sludge of ‘Big Shot’ shrouds the venue in a newfound density, while the dirge of ‘Jackie Down The Line’ or ‘How Cold Love Is’ appears remarkably upbeat.
Fontaines DC have rapidly forged their own path, evident in their perfectly-collected performance, driven by an effortlessly muted energy led by the relentless guitars that underpin much of the band’s sound and the stage production that masterfully captures their downtrodden despondency. It’s mirrored in the eerie glow from the stage, plunging the warehouse into deep greens and reds.
They’re reinventing the sound of a jilted generation, broken and dreary yet brimming with creativity and innovation. Rising from the dive bars of Dublin to a weekend playing to over ten thousand fans, it’s no accident that everything so perfectly falls into place. A sound built on monotony that skates around the darker ends of punk should be a tough sell, but it’s far from it; it’s a redefinition of energy, and a masterclass in the borderless opportunities in the increasingly undefinable world of indie, one that translates to the stage with an understated power all of its own.
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