Fontaines D.C. in Vilnius Lithuania
Credit: Julia Mason

LIVE: Fontaines D.C. / Akli – Vilnius, Lithuania, 16/06/2024

With Fontaines D.C. touring as support to Arctic Monkeys across the States last year, it has been 18 months since I last saw them play – at Galways Leisureland on 3 December 2022. The band announced a string of dates in European countries they hadn’t played before for early this summer, filling in the gaps between festival appearances.  And all of this scheduled before the news of their 4th album Romance was confirmed, set for release on 23 August on XL Recordings.

The current run of dates began at Bergenhus Festival in Norway and Sideways festival in Helsinki, Finland.  Thanks to Ryanair and a direct flight from Edinburgh, I found myself heading to Riga in Latvia for the third show of this run, at the Palladium, the first of their own headline gigs. The following day I travelled on to Vilnius, Lithuania. The venue Lukiškių Kalėjimas is a converted prison with capacity 1000 for the show in its courtyard. Surprisingly this gig was not sold out, and with UK venues for November’s tour now at 12k+ capacity it was an ideal opportunity to see the Irish 5-piece in a more intimate space.  The setting was outdoors in beautiful midsummer sunshine.

It was obvious from the very beginning of their set that the support band Akli, a post punk industrial music project from Kaunas in Lithuania, were beloved of this crowd. Their songs were met with huge applause and to see the locals singing along was wonderful. They were given a longer, 45-minute slot which was so well deserved.

  • 1000109299 scaled
  • 1000109287 scaled
  • 1000109286 scaled
  • 1000109316 scaled
  • 1000109283 scaled
  • 1000109284 scaled

Fontaines D.C. now find themselves in that enviable position of deciding what to play in a set, with three successful albums under their belt.  This show opened with ‘Romance’ the title track of their forthcoming album.  Drummer Tom Coll and guitarist Conor Curley were first onstage with Curley beginning in the middle, bassist Conor Deego III’s normal spot. Deego began at keyboards further back, with guitarist Carlos O’Connell, and Chilli Jesson, an additional guitarist and keyboard player for this tour, completing the musicians.  Lead singer Grian Chatten was last onstage, strolling to the front as his singing part commenced.  And we were off….

  • 1000109264 scaled
  • 1000109579 scaled
  • 1000109360 scaled
  • 1000109432 scaled
  • 1000109380 scaled
  • 1000109375 1 scaled
  • 1000109416 1 scaled
  • 1000109347 1 scaled

What followed was a euphoric hour of exhilarating music.  The set was sprinkled with tracks from all three albums.  I do suspect this is a band who will never forget their roots.  ‘Too Real‘ and ‘Big‘ from debut Dogrel is still thrilling after five years.  During the former every time Grian threw his arms in the air, the crowd roared in response. However it is 2022’s Skinty Fia that pulled in the younger fan base they now have.  ‘Jackie Down the Line’ , ‘Nabokov’ and ‘Big Shot’ were included in the main set. The lyrics of ‘A Hero’s Death‘ still strike an emotional chord, the title track of the second album. The crowd yelled at recognition of every song, and bounced from start to finish. The new single ‘Favourite’ was slotted in midset, providing another sneak peak into new album Romance. The main set finished on the raucous ‘Boys in the Better Land’. It had whizzed by but thank goodness gone are the days of not doing an encore. And I have never heard “One More Tune” chanted in a foreign language before, never mind Lithuanian!

Returning to the stage the band threw red roses out into the crowd. I was beside a young English couple, the guy being a huge fan. Catching one, tears of joy swiftly followed. We were rewarded with three more songs: ‘Skinty Fia‘, ‘I Love You’ and the extraordinary ‘Starburster‘, the first single released from Romance.  It made for a tumultuous end to the gig. Fans know there is little chat from the stage, perhaps just two “Thank you’s” from Grian throughout the whole gig. It is the performance that counts. They may not mosh or crowd surf in this part of the world, but the Lithuanian crowd demonstrated their obvious love for this band. The two members of security had nothing to do all evening! Heading out of the venue the excitement was palpable, fans lingering to savour the moment.

With no promotion visually obvious around the cities of both Riga and Vilnius it would be interesting to know just how the promotion in these countries operates. A number of fans had travelled from the UK, the combination of smaller venues, cheaper tickets, the chance to visit a new country, and, for some, watching Euros 2024 in fan parks scattered around the cities, a combination too good to miss.

  • 1000109428
  • 1000109440
  • 1000109445

Fontaines D.C. move on to Poland, an extensive tour now beckons for months to come. It would be foolish to predict the trajectory of any band, but to be able to say “I was there” a la ‘A Lucid Dream’ for this performance in Vilnius is something that will live long in the memory.

Photos Credit: Julia Mason

For more information on Fontaines D.C. please check their facebook and instagram.

Fore more information on the venue Lukiškių Kalėjimas please check their website.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.