Fontaines D.C. + The Altered Hours @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK – 11th October 2021

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

There’s always those few gigs that stick in your mind for regretting not attending. One of mine is Shame at the O2 Institute back in 2018, not only for the headliner but also for its then little-known support act Fontaine’s D.C. Now here we are three years later with them selling out the whole O2 Academy on the back of their incredible second album “A Hero’s Death”.

The Altered Hours

Unusually for a show in 2021 the set times were released for the gig. Unfortunately, this was to the detriment of support act The Altered Hours who found themselves to be playing to a quarter of the sold out audience. That didn’t stop them from giving it all they had at their first Birmingham gig. The six security guards stationed in the pit for the headliners looked kind of redundant as hypnotic joy division basslines and slower psychedelic sounds emerged from the band.

The Altered Hours

The last two tracks showed the potential they have, first a Brian Jonestown Massacre lite psychedelic duet and then launching into the aptly named “Fuck the Police” which upped the tempo significantly.

About ten minutes before Fontaines D.C. took to the stage the crowd suddenly filled up. They took to the stage and immediately the atmosphere changed like a storm had suddenly arrived overhead. Frontman Grian Chatten dispersed of the flowers he carried and manically jumped and jerked himself around the stage driving himself into a frenzy. As soon a “A Hero’s Death” kicked in his energy and the blistering performance of the rest of the band sent the audience wild.

There was little chatter from the band all night as they held up a continued barrage of tunes. From the hefty “Sha Sha Sha” to the intense “Televised Mind” you couldn’t take your eyes or ears off them. Chatten is one of those unmissable frontmen who commands the stage and your attention with his frantic twitching, aggressive delivery of poetic lyrics.

By the time the encore came around the entire room was a sweat pit. As one of the most incendiary live acts around, it’s hard to see their ascent to stardom stopping here. Don’t regret not catching them where you can, it won’t be long before they are selling out venues much bigger than this.

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