Live review : Fontaines DC Return To Manchester Academy 06/10/2021

Wednesday night saw the start of three consecutive shows for Dublin based band Fontaines D.C. at Manchester Academy. Walking to the Academy I noticed that the band has a diverse fan base, from young children sporting Fontaines T-shirts to excitable older fans steadily making their way to the front of the crowd, plastic pint glasses in tow. 

It was a welcome return for the band, having previously toured in 2019 before Covid took hold. Supporting Fontaines were Altered Hours. Hailing from Cork, the band describes themselves as ‘art punk’ citing influences such as The Velvet Underground, The Pixies, and Stereolab. Lead singer Elaine Howley had an immense stage presence, reminiscent of a young Debbie Harry, wielding a variety of percussion instruments whilst sternly surveying the crown and delivering a solid set to the already packed audience. Altered Hours provided the perfect starter to the eagerly awaited main course. 

The guttural, gravelly voice of Tom Waits filled the room with his 1992 classic ‘Dirt in the Ground’. The anticipation increased and there was a seismic shift in the atmosphere as the band swaggered onto the stage kicking off adrenaline-fuelled, guitar-driven soundscapes. 

Highlights included ‘Televised Mind’ which kicked off the inevitable chucking of pints. ‘I don’t belong’ followed and the crowd was somewhat subdued by the haunting melodies of lead singer Grian Chatten imbued with angst-ridden melancholic lyrics, a possible nod from the sweetest of depressives, Morrissey, Bukowski, and Burroughs. 

‘Boys in the Better Land’ saw the already frenzied crowd turn it up a notch, clearly buzzing to be back in a packed-out room with like-minded souls listening to one of Ireland’s most exciting and thrilling exports. 

Mind, body, and fucking spirit fully restored. 

Words and 📸 Credit – Helen Millington