A huge queue snakes around the corner of Oldham Street onto Dale Street, a buzz of excitement fills the air. Passers by ask to enquire who is on and what all the fuss is about. Grian Chatten is today’s hot topic.
Tonight sees the Fontaines DC frontman fly solo as he launches his new album ‘Chaos For The Fly’. A very different direction for Chatten, as firstly it is a seated gig, and he is also seated, a far cry from the previous gigs with his band when he is known for his energetic angst driven performances.
There is still a passion there, and the lyrics are no less meaningful just because the pace has slowed. The vocals are instantly recognisable as Chatten starts his first song, just him and an acoustic guitar. It is haunting, Leonard Cohen-esque and heartfelt. The songs are deeply personal to Chatten.
The content is bleak, and mainly influenced by Chatten’s childhood growing up in a North Dublin seaside town, Skerries. The singer has barely had a break in the last two years, covering one hundred dates in a year alone with Fontaines. This album appears to have been a cathartic experience for Grattan, having been eager to release solo work for sometime. The songs touch upon the topic of anxiety and depression that in the past Chatten has been very open about. He appears subdued on stage, with minimal chat between songs, he really does let his music do the talking.
Following the thirty minute set, fans at this sold out event queue up again to meet Chatten. I patently wait my turn at the back, observing just how diverse his fan base is. A lady in the queue is awash with excitement as the queue snakes nearer “he’s just fucking gorgeous isn’t he?”.
The excitement to meet this musician who I have followed since I first saw them at The Academy two years ago is uneasy, as I honestly do not know what to say. I needn’t of worried, Chatten is a natural with his fans. The line has moved so slowly due to him taking the time to chat with at least 100 people, signing their albums with personalised messages, and taking a genuine interest in people’s stories.
Chatten continues his album launch in smaller venues across the UK before heading across the pond with Fontaines to support Arctic Monkeys. Further information can be found HERE.