It’s a wonderful, bright afternoon on the final day of Glastonbury, which means it’s a Sunday, so what better thing for Fontaines thing to do then come on and go straight into the best choral harmonics a bunch of extremely lively punks can get. That’s not a real question, don’t reply to that, you’ve probably thought of some better ideas.
So I’m not sure what everyone else is up to, but my plan was to kickstart my flagging energy levels by a short, sharp shock of Fontaines DC’s incredible power… and no one is more surprised than me to discover they’ve got a string section. Now I’ve never seen the band live before, and over the course of a few songs every other expectation checks out: fast spitting lyrics, metallic guitars, lots of frantic movement… but it’s nice to see a band in the post punk section of the musical world turn up to the middle of a British field with a cello too.
After a few days spent listening to acts have to stop an otherwise fun set and make comment on recent events, it’s good to be stood listening to Fontaines because they naturally sound like the survivors in a post apocalyptic world, and I mean that in the most praiseworthy way. This is a vital sound, the tightly bound metal strands which keep bridges upright in musical form, but not one you’d put at the top of your list for the average Glastonbury goers recommendation. I imagine anyone who’s already working their way down the front for the Pet Shop Boys pop bangerathon might be reconsidering this decision in the face of pummelling distortion. The rest of us? It’s charging our batteries.
You don’t really sing along to a Fontaines DC song, you do this guttural, shouting almost chant to it, and it feels like instead of Glastonbury’s very much pastoral druidic past, Fontaines are showing us an urban religion crawling newly out of the wreckage.
There’s a pause as the string section kicks off again and we’re into a more traditional emotional state, but don’t worry we’re soon back into the strong stuff. Is that flare that’s been set off at the front the first I’ve seen all festival? It might be. It fits. This song would perfectly soundtrack standing opposite a load of riot shields.
It’s a weird feeling when they come to the end. It’s still light, it’s still early really, and yet we’re ready to disappear into the darkness of night with blazing fire in our veins.
Photos by David Court