Fresh off the hype of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Dogrel,’ Irish post-punks Fontaines D.C. performed a rapid set to a sold-out Rescue Rooms.
“My childhood was small/But I’m gonna be big,” proclaims the opening track to ‘Dogrel.’ One would have thought, in light of perfect scores from The Guardian and NME, ‘Big’ would have been the sure-fire opener to a sold-out headline set in Nottingham. This wasn’t to be however, as the Dublin 5-piece opted to open the set with the swirling madness of ‘Hurricane Laughter,’ which saw frontman Grian Chatten hyping himself up over the band’s progressively manic instrumentation, akin to Oasis’ ‘Swamp Song’ opening their late 90s gigs. While such comparisons between the bands’ music are near-nonsensical (though Chatten did break the tambourine out at one point), Fontaines D.C. played a set with just as much assured swagger despite their speedy rise to the spotlight.
Barely hitting the 40-minute mark, the rest of the gig showcased the highlights (nearly all) of their first record. I, unfortunately, was consigned to the bar for most of the show, and for once that wasn’t by choice. The room was completely packed-out, with punters shuffling around for a view of the hotly-tipped up-and-comers. From my view it took until the third tune of the set ‘Chequeless Reckless’ for the crowd to get going, but once they did, the set was electric.
One of the highlights of the set came with the scathing ‘Too Real,’ which received a crowd pop the second the guitar riff started. Hit with audience yells of “Is it too real for ya,” Chatten almost looked tormented as the Idles-esque tune climaxed into a guitar-fronted assault on the room.
A change of pace came with the closer to ‘Dogrel,’ and the sole ballad of the set ‘Dublin City Sky,’ which saw the band mellow into a serenade of the hometown which so prominently shapes their sound. With more time, ‘Dublin City Sky’ will surely become a huge singalong at gigs, especially as Fontaines D.C. head into a much bigger headline tour at the end of the year.
As the tones of ‘Dublin City Sky’ came to a close, the guitars broke through the calmer atmosphere into what was without a doubt the most anticipated song of the night. ‘Big’ finally made its appearance and it was worth the wait. From the bar to the mosh pit, the audience shouted back the memorable hook with uncompromising defiance. Within a minute and a half it was over, but Fontaines D.C. made their impact with concision.
No stage chit-chat, no old songs, no BS. Fontaines D.C. did exactly what they needed to do to keep up the breakneck hype in 40 minutes. And if you need proof, next year’s Rescue Rooms show got upgraded to Rock City the next day.
Photo credit – @indiehorse on Instagram.