Fontaines DC + Altered Hours 26.10.2021 O2 Academy Bournemouth
If I was only allowed to go to one venue for a year it would probably be this one – the O2 Academy Bournemouth, or Boscombe rather. The old Opera House is a lovely venue – not totally without its shortcomings but generally it has a decent programme of touring bands, in an attractive historic building. The downside is the lack of pubs around and the druggie and beggar honeypot the high street has become, especially on a busy night at the O2.
This is a biggy. Fontaines DC on top of their game, two albums in and a sellout Tuesday night. That extra expectation is there.
The queue to get in the only bar I know in the area (Chaplins – a good spot) and no desire to start wandering these intimidating looking streets tonight means it’s in early through the phone fumbling Covid app and ticket checks – I’m obviously looking too old and infirm to warrant a search tonight… but then my gig buddy this evening was waved through unpatted also (I’m with Ben who I think may be classed as my step-son which seems quite an amusing label…best behave ourselves). We’ve already been spat at by a woman whose begging approach we dodged.
Inside, the new addition of Shipyard Pale Ale on tap is good to see but just a pint this evening so we can hold our place in the centre with the mixing desk barriers to lean back on. Bar queues are always bad here after everyone is in.
Support band tonight are Altered Hours from Cork. A five piece with vocals interchanging between a male and female. Thumping rumbling drums. There is mention of The Velvet Underground in their on-line blurb and I can see that in their slightly chaotic ‘rough’ and roll approach. There’s a bit of early Jagger in there as well.
I can hardly see them the lighting is so arty…but it works. I haven’t delved. They finish with ‘Fuck the Police‘ ..really?…..not looking for radio play then, but keen to announce that one.
The place has filled up now… to the third floor ‘the gods’ seating and the rafters above. Lads and dads. Students, old John Peel disciples, curious and supportive Irish. Worn Dr Martens, Idles t-shirts, Irish sports kits, hoodies, wild beards and all ages 20 to 70. The boys from Dublin are in town.
I saw them earlier this year at the Victorious Festival and this is so much more intense and absorbing, as it always is when your audience has paid to see just you rather than passing through on a hopefully barmy Summer’s day.
Grian Chatten paces around, seemingly uncomfortable with the gaps between the songs – frequently walking around in tight circles, mic stand in hand. Everyone is with him, singing, no..chanting, the lyrics back at him but not a word from him throughout unless it was part of the song.
A ‘thank you’ at the end and that’s it. He doesn’t have to do any more to package up the performance, a performance that the audience and its participation is a very important part of. I watched a livestream performance in Lockdown and it was lacklustre without a crowd to bounce off.
The chant of Televised Mind… Televised … Televised Mind, from the more recent album sounds almost disturbing – Joy Division with urgency.
Every song is greeted with similar enthusiasm, some then facilitating more shoulder riding and air punching than others. It’s pretty full on. I’m happy with the mixing desk behind me – I can hold a camera up without pissing anyone off and ankles are protected from a forward surge.
Boys from the Better Land remains the anthem and the one they finish with tonight, returning for an encore of Liberty Bell.
The steamy O2 Academy empties after another top gig and it’s off home to get the Lateral Flow Tests ready. Great to see a full house to see a band on top of their game.