Presented by DHP Family and hosted by The Shacklewell Arms.
The fast emerging, indie post-punk five-piece from Dublin are: Grian Chatten (vocals), Conor Deegan III (bass), Carlos O’Connell (guitars), Conor Curley (guitars) and Tom Coll (drums). With three limited edition AA-side 7” singles already under their belts: 1) Liberty Belle / Rocket to Russia 2) Hurricane Laughter / Winter in The Sun and the most recent, released in February 2018 3) Chequeless Reckless / Boys in The Better Land; all achieving singles of the week by Rough Trade. The band have many eclectic musical influences including The Pogues, The Stooges, The La’s and Buddy Holly, to name a few. Fontaines D.C. have already supported The Horrors, Girl Band and The Lemon Twigs and appeared at many festivals this year including, The Great Escape, Dot-to-Dot at Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. With increasing radio airplay from supporters such as Steve Lamacq from BBC6 Music, and a new record deal, Fontaines D.C. are a band that are determined to grab your attention and keep a tight, mesmerising hold of it.
The Shacklewell Arms is a small, friendly pub renowned for its live music room at the rear with a 200 capacity. Located on Shacklewell Lane, in the heart of Dalston, East London. Support was from local Garage-disco band, Milk Disco.
The back room was packed to the rafters with hot and sweaty fans as Fontaine D.C. took to the cramped and narrow stage. Apart from drummer, Coll, who was positioned in the stage alcove, the other band members stood in a line (L-R), O’Connell, Deegan, Chatten and Curley. The air was heavy with the stuffy heat and the anticipation of hearing the band perform.
They began their set with the song ‘BIG’, the explosion of sound hit you like a wall of urgency, energy and emotion. Chatten’s sing-speak vocals so unique and authentic with his prominent, colloquial Irish drawl. He appeared aloof, almost sneering and his piercing gaze added another element to the performance. It was like a competition to try and stare him out, but one you knew that you had little chance of winning. Reaching a climax of pounding drums, relentless, chaotic guitars and chanting lyrics there was no time to draw breath as they seamlessly started the intro to the popular ‘Hurricane Laughter’. An immediate, fast-paced, insistent, almost-anxious track that has you hooked from the start. Chatten sang the catchy lyrics in his distinctive Dublin accent, “Hurricane laughter, tearing down the plaster”. Repetitive, highly addictive, psychedelic guitar riffs from O’Connell and Curley both playing Danelectro guitars (56 Pro copper and DC59M black/white). Almost competing against each other but creating this beautifully infectious, high-octane, circular guitar loop that increased with intensity until building to a crescendo. With Chatten’s repeated spoken vocals “And there is no connection available, and there is no connection available…” enduring on. There was a huge applause from the crowd. ‘Too Real’ was next, with extremely heavy drums and whirling psychedelic guitars but with contrasting punky vocals. Then, ‘One In Between’ with snarling guitars it was reminiscent of early punk from the late 70s. Wearing grey trousers, a blue shirt and pillar-box red braces, Chatten repeated the chorus “I know I’m not an angel and I know I’m not the devil, I’m the one in between”. Next was ‘Sha Sha Sha’ an infectious song with influences of Idles and Girl Band. Steady, consistent, pounding drumming from Coll, who at this point of the performance was just a mass of long hair. A prominent bass-line from Deegan throughout. As Chatten stepped back to play tambourine, O’Connell moved forward. He was wearing a burgundy sweatshirt with the word ‘REPEAL’ across his chest. Showing the bands support regarding Repeal the 8th. A referendum held whether Ireland would repeal or retain the constitutional ban on abortions (The following day, there was an overwhelming vote to repeal).
Onto the lesser known ‘Roy’s Tone’, starting with a pounding drum beat and prominent bass before grinding guitars kicked in. Chatten’s chanting was severe and determined during this short song. ‘Chequeless Reckless’ was next, obviously one of the crowd’s favourites as a small mosh pit developed. With instant guitars and immediate working-class lyrical hooks as Chatten catalogued a list of cultural observations “An idiot, is someone who lets their education do all their thinking”. The drums and guitars then kicked in tunnelling and channelling through your body, the sound was amazing. While Chatten’s spoken, matter-of-fact, dead-pan, guttural vocals chanted “Money, is the sandpit of the soul, Money, is the sandpit of the soul. What’s really going on? What’s really going on?” A huge applause ensued from the appreciative crowd. This was followed by the equally popular ‘Boys In The Better Land’. Chatten’s vocals were edgy, ambitious and confidently clear over the 60s-sounding psychedelic guitars. The looping, cyclical guitar riffs were outstanding from O’Connell and Curley. Forming many different layers of infectious, revolving chords. Chatten’s strong, gritty vocals were prominent as he sang “If you’re a rock star, pornstar, superstar, doesn’t matter what you are, get yourself a good car, get out of here! But the boys in the better land, you’re always talking ‘bout the boys in the better land”. Their encore was the short, but infectious and well-written song, ‘Liberty Belle’ starting with the lyrics “You know I love that violence that you get around here, that kind of ready steady violence, that violent, how do you do!” This concluded their short but concise 40-minute set. Fans leaving the venue, agreed that everyone that night had witnessed history in the making!
Set List: BIG, Hurricane Laughter, Too Real, One In between, Sha Sha Sha, Roy’s Tone, Chequeless Reckless, Boys In The Better Land, Liberty Belle.
The day after Fontaines D.C. played The Shacklewell Arms they announced they had been signed to Partisan Records; the same label as bands such as Idles and Cigarettes After Sex, among many others. Almost a year to the day of releasing their first single, ‘Liberty Belle’. That’s some achievement and just shows all their hard work and commitment has rewarded them ten-fold. We look forward with great anticipation to their debut album, in the meantime, go and see this band. They deserve to be heard everywhere!
Until the next adventure…