Gig review: Fontaines DC at O2 Academy Leeds

Something happened during lockdown. Whether ear drums can self-repair, the legendary O2 Academy invested in the sound system or Dublin punk rock poets Fontaines D.C. found an even harder, more urgent edge, the outcome was the same.

Fontaines DC at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson

A packed venue was rocked back on their collective heels, the sonics from the stage immense.

With the band largely static throughout, lead vocalist Grian Chatten provided the animation, tearing at his t-shirt, urgently pointing at the sky, lapping the stage.

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The microphone stand was the first casualty during A Lucid Dream. track two. That’s how much pent-up energy was present.

Fontaines DC at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson

Having entered the stage relatively serenely, distributing yellow roses to the anticipative crowd, what followed was unrelenting.

Fontaines’ two albums have amassed tracks with an authenticity and connection to a place that perhaps resonates with a footloose ‘citizen of nowhere’ millennial culture, a clarion call to the disaffected.

This being the first real opportunity to tour their 2020 release A Hero’s Dream, the darker and more cerebral of their two albums, there is a brooding intensity that builds throughout the set.

Overtly citing James Joyce in Boys in the Better Land, pure poetry is on display here. Pure, unadulterated, powerful poetry.

Hurricane Laughter provides the swirling guitars and spat lyrics it always does but the more recent tracks really stand up to live scrutiny, Televised Mind and opener A Hero’s Death particularly so.

Was it telling that nine of the 14 tracks were from debut album Dogrel? Perhaps, they’re familiar, there’s a stronger punk influence blowing away the cobwebs of the past 18 months.

With no time wasted on any polite chat, the band even look reluctant to go through the motions of having to go off before an encore, coming back rapidly for Roy’s Tune and Liberty Belle.

Fontaines DC will be gracing many a festival stage in 2022. They need to, a large open field may just be the only venue capable of containing their continuing meteoric rise.