I’ll always remember exactly where I was in early 2019 when a friend told me to get a ticket to Fontaines D.C. at Union Pool in Brooklyn. Don’t wait, don’t put it off because this band is gonna be big! OK, pun intended. But seriously, I’m so glad I listened and went to what was their US debut show. And it was epic. The intensity of that performance, in that small intimate space was one I’ll never forget.
Fontaines made their way back to NYC this week for the release of their third album, Skinty Fia on Partisan Records. After the Philly show on April 22nd, the day of the album release, it was iffy as to whether it would happen. That was another small, rowdy, packed club show that saw singer Grian Chatten standing over the crowd and belting out every lyric with a ferocity that unfortunately left him without a voice for the next few days and a few cancelled shows. Another epic performance I was lucky to attend.
But the New York shows went off without a hitch this week and the larger 1800-person capacity at Brooklyn Steel showed how much they’ve grown as a band and as performers. I’m sure it’s not easy to bring that small venue intensity to a large stage but they killed it on Tuesday. And while Skinty Fia is racking up 5-star reviews across the board, they didn’t load the set with just new material. Fan favorites from the debut album Dogrel were scattered throughout the set, including “Sha Sha Sha,” “Too Real,” “Big,” “Boys In the Better Land,” and “Hurricane Laugher.” Mixed in were tracks from their second album, A Hero’s Death, that included the title song along with “I Don’t Belong,” and “Televised Mind.” Not surprisingly, the tracks they did play from the new album had the crowd going crazy and singing along like they were old favorites as well. Those included “Jackie Down the Line,” “I Love You,” and show closer “Nabakov.”
In possibly the best pairing I’ve witnessed in years, Just Mustard from Dundalk, Ireland opened the show. Their album is not even out yet and based on released tracks it’s hands down going to be a 2022 fave. While they remind me of early 90’s favorite The Cranes, bassist Rob Clarke told me after the Philly show they were not even familiar with them. Regardless of influences, they create a wall of sound that is heavy, experimental and thanks to singer Katie Ball’s vocals, hauntingly beautiful. I’ll just say for fans of My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and shoegaze music in general, give them a listen and pick up their new album Heart Under on Partisan Records when it comes out on May 27th.
Fontaines D.C. setlist: A Hero’s Death, Sha Sha Sha, Jackie Down The Line, I Don’t Belong, You Said, Chequeless, Televised Mind, I Love You, Too Real, Big, Boys In the Better Land, Hurricane Laughter, Nabokov
Scroll down for more pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)