Assistant Music Director
And just when you thought I was done talking about Ireland, a favorite Irish band of mine travels to Austin, allowing me to revel in my reminiscence a little longer. Following the release of their most recent album Skinty Fia in April, Fontaines D.C. (Dublin City) takes to the road in the States before heading through the UK on the way back to Ireland, accompanied by Wunderhorse.
Jacob Slater, formerly of The Dead Pretties, fronts Wunderhorse, a recently formed indie rock band with six tracks in their discography dating back to 2021. With guitar riffs emulating early 2000s alternative garage rock, Wunderhorse preps the audience for the post-punk noise of Fontaines D.C.
Opening with the title track of their 2020 album A Hero’s Death, Fontaines D.C. elevated the onstage performance from emerging boy band to inspired and established experimental modern rock band. Fontaines D.C.’s influence by early Irish rock bands is apparent, and their sound echoes 90’s Irish band Whipping Boy. I did a deep dive for Irish music before traveling to the country this summer and immediately noticed the influences many of the Irish bands draw from their geographic predecessors.
As a group, the members of Fontaines D.C. demonstrate the diversity of musicianship within the band. From casual street style to polished and collared outfits, the band’s visual aesthetic contradicts what you would expect from their sound. Lead singer Grian Chatten paces in circles around the microphone before tilting it towards his face.
Chatten gets his energy from interacting with the crowd, stepping over the speakers and onto the barricade. Chronologically performing their discography, Fontaines reaches Skinty Fia by song 5 with “Roman Holiday.”
A cinematic listening experience throughout, Skinty Fia derives from the Irish saying “damnation of the deer.” Although Fontaines skipped their introductory track “In ar gCroithe go deo,” the live performance of the album heightened the listening experience. Chatten’s monotonous voice creates a trance on the audience while the music simulates the recorded production of the album. Visually witnessing the individual instrumentation that makes up the sonic environment of Skinty Fia dynamized the album’s listening experience.
Fontaines D.C’s sold out show at Stubb’s signifies their success as an international band. A quaint venue in Austin, Fontaines will return to Texas to play the Moody Amphitheater ahead of Arctic Monkeys in September of 2023. Making a strong impression on the Austin scene, the Arctic Monkeys headline show will be sure to have an audience of Fontaines fans of their own volition.
Influenced by post-punk music yet pushing beyond the bounds of genre classification, Fontaines D.C.’s Skinty Fia exhibits a positive progression for the band. Diverse in its approach to reimagining post-punk elements, Skinty Fia proves itself to be an outstanding and inventive work of art that Fontaines D.C. brings to life onstage. Thus, my trip to study English in Ireland resulted in a newfound cult following of Irish music, thankfully leading me to Fontaines D.C.
Written by: Jordan Young