Speaking with The Guardian recently, Fontaines D.C. singer Grian Chatten spoke about one of the keen influences of the band, The Pogues‘ debut album Red Roses For Me: “It sounds so raucous but at the same time so intelligent.” Tonight, aside from the inevitable boisterous teens, all forms of life, young and old, can be found at this sold-out show at King Tut’s, Glasgow. “Raucous” and “intelligent” would both be good words to describe the crowd tonight. Before the band arrive on stage, a young man, seemingly passed out on the benches by the wall, is approached by security, to only rebut their accusations with “Oh no, I was just meditating.” And he actually was.
This sophisticated bunch of rowdies hence awaits the Dublin band, who are introduced on stage with Boys From The County Hell by The Pogues, which is playing through the PA. From the get-go, the crowd are on it, moshing and singing back the riff of the opener Hurricane Laughter. There is something very beautiful about a crowd singing a guitar line. It sounds positively moronic, but in the midst of a sweaty room of raised fists and aggressively swaying bodies, the crowd is unabashed, yet simply elated and devoted to the cause.
Chatten is a force. Between verses he paces left and right with twitching fingers, only to then approach the front of the stage, barking poetry at the excited crowd. He stares into the audience and, with sporadic bursts of energy, pumps the mic stand like a gear stick he is trying to slam into a high gear. Many “NO CROWD SURFING” signs on the wall of the venue are kindly snubbed, as bodies are thrown around on tracks like Chequeless Reckless and Too Real. The latter sees a young man being ushered overhead, veins visible in his tensed arms, as he points to the stage and sings back the lyrics: “None can pull the passion from the youth’s ungrateful hands.”
The confetti from last week’s gig gets dislodged from the rafters as Boys In The Better Land pounds forward with its relentless drumming and ferocious guitars. It is wild in the centre of the crowd. Tops are off at this stage, with the rained-down confetti sticking to skin and honouring thou who is most rowdy. Guitarist Carlos O’Connell, feeding off the energy, decides to add to the ruckus by jumping into the pit during the solo break.
The somewhat cheesy full set of green lights for the lament Dublin City Sky, we can only hope, was the in-house light technician’s idea. Either way, it’s a beautiful performance, and the shirts-off brigade are hugging each other.
The band end the set with the fierce clatter of Big, as Chatten rants-off and the band stand strong and stoic two feet back. “We don’t do encores… but do you wanna hear a new track?” Chatten suggests before they play Televised Mind; another relentless rock song for the passionate mob. There is a certain change in the singer as he leans in to the audience, both goading them on and surveying the fresh material’s affect on the masses. Ending a gritty poetic smash-through set, O’Connell raises his bottle of Buckfast and blows a kiss to the crowd.
With a highly accomplished album, racking up high praise after high praise, there is a feeling in the air that this will be the last time to see the Dublin-based band play a venue of this size.