Life Ain’t Always Empty
It was The Mountford Hall in Liverpool for the opening date of the re-scheduled and much heralded UK tour of Irish post-punk band FONTAINES DC. Formed in Dublin in 2017, the band has gone from strength to strength with two top ten albums, nominated for the Mercury Prize, Choice Music Prize and Best Rock Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
The band consists of Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass), and Tom Coll (drums).
So as seems to be the norm these days, the lights go out and a buzz reverberates through the sold-out Mountford Hall crowd. The band walk on stage to loud shouts, applause, whistles and chants and then the stage is suddenly backlit and bathed in reds, oranges and blues, which is pretty much the lighting for the whole set; this photographer’s worst nightmare!
Lead singer Grian Chatten paces the stage looking like he is filled with a nervous energy that he can’t wait to unleash and the band launch into “Television Mind” and “A Lucid Dream” and it’s quite obvious from the get-go, why this band are riding the crest of popularity that they are right now. The band is tight and Grian’s vocal styling is very much his own, with a beautifull Irish lilt adding to the overall texture of their unique sound. Blending punk’s social commentary with alternative indie rock music; yes they play in the same ball park as bands such as Idles but that is where the comparisons end for me.
The Fontaines, just like great Irish poets of the past encapsulate being young with all of it’s joy and confusion and bravado wrapped up in despair; it’s those times where it feels like you’re trying to eat soup with a fork. It’s not easy, but you get there in the end. The songwriting feels like a holy chant and a prayer to life.
At times, the band seem to be unrelenting and fierce, and then gentle and subtle, whilst all the time Grian is preaching to the converted and converting those who aren’t yet on the same page. On the stage the Fontaines are edgier and harder than on record, which is the way it should be.
Fontaines play a huge set, pretty much both albums, “Boy In A Better Land”, “Liberty Bell” and “I Don’t Belong” bring the house down, but it’s the beautiful “A Hero’s Death” that does it for me, that song alone is worth the admission price. What amazingly positive lyrics and it sounds amazing as the band and the crowd are in unison and the mantra “Life Ain’t Always Empty” fills through the room.
As the gig finishes, everyone heads out talking about what a brilliant gig it was, and you know what, it really was brilliant!!
1/ TELEVISION MIND,
2/ A LUCID DREAM,
3/ SHA SHA SHA,
4/ CHEQUELESS RECKLESS,
5/ ROYS TUNE,
6/ YOU SAID,
8/ LIVING IN AMERICAS,
9/ HURRICANE LAUGHTER,
10/ TOO REAL,
12/ LIBERTY BELL,
13/ I WAS NOT BORN,
14/ A HERO’S DEATH,
15/ DUBLIN CITY SKIES
FOLLOW FONTAINES DC
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.