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Fontaines D.C. Offer Stoic Performance of Enormous Proportions




It has been over three years since Dublin's Fontaines D.C. were first scheduled to play a show in Australia, they cancelled to complete album number two and not even because of the pandemic. In that time, Brisbane's industry, familiar local band faces and clingers--in-the-know have clearly taken notice, assembling in somewhat predictable fashion to catch a glance of Ireland's introverted finest. It's one of those shows! Now armed with three albums, the band are finally here on Aussie stages around the country for Laneway and headline shows.

But first, Sydney dynamos Body Type hit the stage running, opening tonight's show with a whole lot of style. In all fairness, their performances these days are bulletproof and well beyond a support slot. Yet here we are witnessing another impressive and fiery set from the punk quartet as the crowd gradually fills the room. Following sets before the likes of Wolf Alice and Pixies, this is just the latest of high profile supports and it isn't wasted on them - they turn every stranger in the room into a fan. Lifting largely from last year's excellent, AMP-nominated debut album Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing's Surprising, they flip from singer to singer, rip out organic shapes and wail alongside the best of them. A couple of new songs creep their way into the set, something they admit to being "shitting bricks" about playing. They needn't be concerned, the future of the growing fanbase of Body Type is in very safe hands. Buy the fucking record if you haven't.

Fontaines D.C. stand tall in a long line of bands that began with Joy Division to deliver that mono-tone post-punk thing that people from that end of the world do oh so well. None of this is a slight, on the contrary, you won't read anything negative in the following words whatsoever. Spoiler alert - it is one of the greatest hour-and-something of music this writer has witnessed in quite sometime. To simply describe a from Ireland's introverted finest would be "utterly enormous". However, without the seemingly extended egos or posturing of sorts, they somehow manage to use the contrast of every other rock show in their own favour. The lights are simple and stark and the music they make refuses to shift beyond bleak, the minor chords and wall of mammoth guitars contributing significantly.

They meander onto stage to The Go-Betweens' 'Cattle And Cane' and they open with 'A Lucid Dream' and 'A Hero's Death', a pair of songs from their second record which shares a name with the latter. Three albums worth of material has offered the band a chance to construct a setlist that ebbs and flows with cinematic fire, flow and not a single lowlight.

The energy shifts are very subtle, but they're there before you notice. The thumping Britpop of ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ and the blatant mosh pit grunge of ‘Televised Mind’ ensure the energy levels stay on the up side. The back-to-back 'I Don't Belong' and 'Big Shot' provide huge hooky, sing-along moments and 'Jackie Down The Line' is practically a pop song. With it's differing hurdy gurdy guitar sounds and the addition of an acoustic and "oooo sha la-la's", it very well could be a serious attempt at a "hit" if we didn't know any better.

The band is loose, comfortable and confident and there isn't a spot where one member ends and the other begins, such is the precision of the outfit as one single unit.

Frontman Grian Chatten doesn't utter a word between songs beyond "youse are really lovely", he doesn't need to. Instead he skips around his mic stand like a kid in the playground, occasionally bashes a tambourine and organically evokes fists to air with rousing momentum. Conor Deegan III on bass is visually captivating and seems to provide all the sweet, melodic stuff you hear on their songs, most effectively on 'Nabokov'. It truly is a thing of beauty.

At about 17 songs, it's a hefty set in total - Dogrel's crashing and chaotic 'Too Real' closes the main set, stirring this audience into something of a frenzy. The encore has 'Boys In The Better Land' and 'I Love You', the latter a song so stupendous it could very well undo the desolate nature which preceded it. This is a band uninterested in the trappings of what it means to be a rock band, they're Ireland ambassadors doing what they do best. Tonight's show is absolutely thrilling, to say the very least. They're setting new standards by simply keeping their heads down and getting a brilliant job done. 10/10


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