When assessing the stage, somewhat attempting to envision what lies before you; One could be forgiven for believing that, when taking note of the large stacks and Marshall pre-amps, that a loud sound of gain, perhaps coupled by reverb was about to engulf you.
Tonight, this was simply not the case.
Fontaines D.C., now three albums in, remain unfaltering in their rise from the unknown following a series of releases in quick succession, all of which the subject of critical acclaim. In turn, the band had the luxury of a plethora of songs to choose from, deriving a setlist which served as a poignant reminder of the country in which they are from, a sentiment further amplified by Chatten’s brandishing of the Irish flag during Roman Holiday.
However, as the first chords of Nabokov broke around the room, I couldn’t help but be surprised by a sound of both measure and control. It never felt overwhelming- it was delicate, the guitar sound failing to be lost in turn allowing the audience to indulge in each note.
All tension amassed from the impatient wait for the band to begin had been broken. Excitement pressed the front barriers with crowd surfers emerging from the areas most affected. The audience bayed for the entrance of the vocals with the initial moments seeing Chatten pace the space around him (almost trapped by his fellow musicians) being pulled from one direction to the next, only pausing to press his hands against the glass and embrace the crowd before him.
But finally, in the form of a rapture, the vocals came. Riding upon the noise creating a sound which appeared so carefully constructed that each part could be heard through the overall set. The performance saw the band deliver a mix of some of their most favoured songs. It felt as though they wanted to convey each lyric to the audience individually, entrancing the crowd in dictatorial fashion as more and more people seemed to fall over the barriers- desperate to mirror the energy portrayed on stage.
It should be said, given the complex nature of some of their latter releases, the band excelled in recreating the atmosphere generated through songs such as Skinty Fia, a feat that can be difficult for artists to overcome. Overall, it was a magnificent set by one of the hottest rising bands this side of the Atlantic.
In reference to the support, Wunderhorse were excellent. Supporting bands can often struggle, in terms of both filling a space with sound and catering to the crowd, while the venue is set up in accordance with the main acts demographics. However, Wunderhorse did well to adapt, producing a sound perhaps reminiscent of the likes of Nirvana. They certainly acquired me as a new listener, so be sure to check them out!