Fontaines D.C. At Glastonbury Review: Dubliners make convincing case to be future headliners

No words: What they lacked in between-song patter, Fontaines D.C. more than made up for in awe-inspiring, gothic-hued post punk.

Fontaines D.C.

by Chris Catchpole |
Updated on

Scheduling clashes are an occupational hazard of attending a festival, being torn between two of your favourite acts playing at the same time and separated by a lengthy stomp across the fields. Even so, it feels like a particularly cruel logistical oversight to put Fontaines D.C.’s headline set at the Park Stage on at the same time as Idles are taking to the Other Stage down the hill, effectively cutting both bands’ fanbases in two.

Judging by the ever-increasing throng cramming themselves closer and closer to the Park’s pit before Fontaines D.C. come on, it seems that the majority have opted to give the Dubliners their vote, and for the next 90 minutes they are more than rewarded for their loyalty.

A few hundred meters away, Idles’ Joe Talbot is engaging his faithful with customary between-song messaging, but up here, for the rest of the evening, his Fontaines D.C. counterpart Grian Chatten will say barely a word. He doesn’t need to. Fontaines D.C are magnificent just as they are.

The Dublin-centric scuffle documented on 2019 debut Dogrel led many to view the group as a more punky Pogues, delivering tales of drizzle-soaked streets, all day drinkers and lost souls with the scrappy gusto of The Undertones. 2020 follow-up A Hero’s Death, however, showed that they were never going to be fixed to such a narrow palette and the band have continuously grown and evolved with each move.

The towering gothic architecture Chatten and his bandmates assemble around these songs tonight owe more to Pornography-era Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen (Skinty Fia’s Roman Holiday in particular, but guitarists Conor Curley and Carlos O’Connell’s sparkling lines have reflections of Will Sergeant glimmering within them throughout) and in their more grungy churns and swirls, Smashing Pumpkins (perhaps Chatten’s leather skirt and eyeliner combo is a nod to Billy Corgan?)

The bolshy volleys selected from Dogrel – Big, Sha Sha Sha, Boys In The Better Land, Chequeless Reckless – get some of the biggest cheers, but everything played is greeted like a favourite song.

That the band are bold enough to end on relative newbie Starburster - a recent single taken from forthcoming fourth LP Romance, i.e. an album that no one in attendance has heard – displays a cast-iron self-confidence and the fact that everyone goes bananas for it proves the belief is fully justified. Forget being on the Other Stage, surely next time around the Pyramid beckons.

Set List

Jackie Down The Line
Televised Mind
Roman Holiday
Big Shot
Chequeless Reckless
A Hero’s Death
How Cold Love Is

A Lucid Dream
Sha Sha Sha
Boys In The Better Land
I Love You

Stay on MOJO4MUSIC for complete coverage of Glastonbury 2024’s best music including IDLESSqueeze's opening greatest hits showPaul Heaton and Fatboy Slim's Housemartin's reunionDexys at the Park StageLCD SoundsystemPJ Harvey and more.

Photo: Fontaines D.C., Bergen, Norway, June 2024. Credit: Per Ole Hagen

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