Live review: Fontaines DC, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Sun 14 Apr
- Craig Angus
- 15 April 2019
This article is from 2019
Intoxicating, authentic Dublin punks who have already outgrown King Tut's
Fontaines DC have outgrown King Tut's already. Dogrel, the Dubliners' first full length, was released on Friday and has the feel of an instant classic. While we're not talking the indie fandom level of early Oasis, it's obvious something is happening here, something real with a lifespan. The anticipation pre-gig is palpable. Their rapid ascent will see them play much larger venues later in the year – and they could fill tonight five times over if everyone who wanted to be there could be – but for now, it's worth considering how special an occasion this is.
Much of Dogrel's charm lies in the decision to track in a tiny London studio with Dan Carey, channelling the energy and emotion of a live performance on to the record. To see Fontaines DC play in such a small club you realise there's no other way they could have done it. This is an intoxicating performance from the moment the Pogues' 'Boys of the County Hell' hits the speakers and the commanding, intense Grian Chatten hits the stage, surveys and stares down his audience.
These songs are all singalongs already. Opener 'Hurricane Laughter''s refrain ('there is no connection available') is bellowed back, as are the commanding opening lines of 'Chequeless Reckless', akin to a manifesto in the band's – self professed, and wholly admirable – pursuit of authenticity. 'A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money', spits Chatten. Who says words can't, or shouldn't matter?
Crucially, and the thing that sets them apart, Fontaines DC have mostly great songs, and a couple of outstanding, inspired ones. Of the melancholy numbers 'Roy's Tune' is stunning in the depiction of it's protagonist, while the gorgeous 'Dublin City Sky' is more precise in it's poetry, but no less. The bass driven 'Television Screen' is a stand-out cut, reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order or early U2.
They hold back the arresting mission statement (or cutting take down of ambition without soul) 'Big' until the set's close. A band for our changing times, our changing cities, whether you're in Dublin, Glasgow, London or anywhere.