Fontaines D.C. – The Cellar, Oxford – 22nd May 2018
The perpetuating theme of today’s breakthrough guitar bands seems to be the ability to connect with the audience via their lyrical and ideological concepts. Shame, Cabbage, Idles all have a front man who wields nothing but a microphone and a perspective – an orator, warrior poet and social commentator for the group. As a response to our country’s increasingly dubious legislation, it comes as no surprise that it is as much about what the bands are saying as the music they play. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword but snarled vexation through gritted teeth dupes them both.
In this respect Fontaines D.C. of Dublin are an archetypal modern rock band. However Grian Chatten, a front man who oozes coy charisma, goes a little further – internalising and individualising the issues he sees as systemic in our society as apposed to making flabby observations of the bigger picture. Chatten talks of neuroses with Freudian detachment but Jungian sensitivity.
Having turned heads at the recent Great Escape festival, a meeting that for many is seen as a preview of the music that will shape our coming year, Fontaines, although in their infancy, seem to have touched a nerve that once disturbed cannot be muted.
Their anarchic perversion of classic twelve bar blues formulas makes for mesmeric viewing, the band having an undeniably contemporary but reflective sound. But it’s the genius of Chatten’s lyrical content which truly makes Fontaines D.C. a spectacular act. There’s an authenticity to his thought processes and as Chatten spews out beautifully constructed monologues over chaotic cadence, the music and lyricism walk hand in hand, the vocals seemingly exiting his body propelled by the throbbing rhythm section.
Fontaines D.C. are a ‘once in a generation’ band and represent the past, present and future of the British and Irish guitar music. Their impact in an often tired and listless scene is not to be underestimated and it would be a travesty of epic proportions if Fontaines don’t go on to become one of our most cherished acts. As Chatten spits “An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking” we see a band ready to reeducate their audience, revive the stagnant waters and show us a perspective as enlightened as it is provocative.
5 / 5