Fontaines D.C at the heart of the week’s music news

by James Hendicott
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By James Hendicott

Dublin rock darlings Fontaines D.C had a huge week this week, despite missing out on a Grammy Award on Sunday night to The Strokes, with several clever, viral news stories revolving around the grungey rockers.

The Liberties-loving band‘s second album ‘A Hero’s Death’ has been one of the sounds of the last year, while the rockers have become known for their lyrics, which combine morose undertones with a somewhat upbeat spin, as well as the way in which singer Grian Chatten delivers them.

Over the weekend, it was announced that Fontaines D.C would adorn the Bohemians football away jersey this year, in a clever cross-marketing ploy that will no doubt generate plenty of sales, with a portion of the profits going to Focus Ireland.  The inside collar of the shirt grabs one of Fontaines’ most famous lyrics, “Dublin in the rain is mine.”

The redesign of last year’s pinstriped white shirt is the second time in a row that Bohemians have donated their change jersey’s profits to charity, with last year’s already semi-iconic effort stamped with ‘Refugees Welcome’ and ‘Love Football, Hate Racism’, with a share of profits that time around donated to MASI.

Fontaines D.C’s long-awaited summer gig at the Iveagh Gardens was postponed until 2022 earlier in the week, with the in-demand tickets having been sold out since shortly after the show went on sale. The change was probably inevitable, given our current circumstances around the gathering of crowds, but it does mean that those who bought tickets at the time they went on sale will have been waiting two years between buying and actually seeing the concert. A long time for a homecoming gig. Refunds are available, but it’s hard to imagine many taking them.

As well as the shirt and the gig, the band found themselves all over Dublin with a particular lyric on Sunday, too. For mother’s day, their lyrics adorned the Great South Wall next to the Poolbeg Lighthouse. The big blue bold text proclaims “Tell your mother that you love her and go out of your way for others,” a mother’s day special, it’s lyrics taken from second album title track ‘A Hero’s Death’.

Shortly after that, bunches of flowers started appearing at Dublin landmarks ranging from Panti Bar to Phoenix Park monuments, the Cobblestone to Bohemians football club, as a clever campaign went viral across Twitter.

It’s an indication of how substantive the band have become over the last few years that their social media posts are often adorned with replies about how the lyrics have helped people to cope with lockdown, or dedications. One this week, for example, featured a tattoo of a bunch of flowers on a fan’s body, with the band’s lament ‘Life Ain’t Always Empty’ scrawled across it.

So losing out on the Grammy won’t particularly worry the Dublin rockers, whose status as one of tpday’s most loved rock bands is not really up for debate at this point. It was Beyonce’s 26th Grammy Win that was the main talking point of a bitty ceremony on Sunday night, featuring some live action, some recordings, and a socially distanced crowd.

A win for any act does tend to come with a flood of album sales, and losing out to The Strokes – a group widely seen as long since on the decline – for best rock album is an odd one for Fontaines D.C, but they’ve always been a little under the radar in their approach.

Fontaines cult status is only growing, though, and while they have their critics, weeks like this, full of underground, niche marketing with plenty of points for style, are what’s going to ensure they stay at the top of that particular pile.

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