A night curated by Fontaines D.C. in aid of Focus Ireland and Homelessness served as an encapsulation of the breath and depth of Irish music.
Every once and a while there comes a tipping point when the bubbling undercurrent of the underground engulfs the mainstream in a sort of cultural coup d’etat. In front of a restless sold out Olympia Theatre in Dublin last night Fontaines D.C, the Murder Capital, Kneecap, Just Mustard, The Altered Hours, Melts, Stefan Murphy and the Mary Wallopers marked one such a sea change with a musically and politically charged night in aid of Focus Ireland and shining a light on homelessness.
Indeed, with the buzz leading up to Tuesday nights event being one of great anticipation for what could very well be a gig that defines this generation, and the music being created within that spectrum. There were anger, fury, and frustration on show, as the night built from act to act into a cacophonous crescendo as a community gathered under one roof.
Starting with the roaring punkish trad of the Mary Wallopers and on the wide-open indie of Stefan Murphy and on to the hypnotic post-punk drive of Melts, the twisting sounds and genres tangled together in unison as the night’s wide-screen presentation of the sonic diversity within the Irish music was cast largely for all to see.
Indeed, this was quickly followed by the one-two punch of a breathlessly intense set from psych-rock thrashers the Altered Hours and the dreamy doom-laden buzzsaw of Just Mustard, captured the imagination and lead the night into the throws of a happening that shook the Olympia crowd to the core as Kneecap’s politically charged set was a reminder of the importance of the shows reason for being, to raise funds and the issue of homelessness in Ireland as the trio brought out an election poster of Leo Varadkar was rightly met with a chorus of boos.
This led to Rock Against Homelessness’ finale as the now teaming Dublin crowd pushed ever forward to the stage for the final two performances.
The Murder Capital, fresh from a sold-out gig of their own at Vicar Street last Thursday, was met with a roar as they made their presence felt with a set that commanded the attention of the Olympia Theatre. All eyes were on the band as they delivered their pulsating music with authority and precision.
This all built to bustling anticipation as M.C. Paul McLoone introduced Fontaines D.C followed by the echoing words of Luke Kelly’s ‘For What Died The Sons of Roisin?’. One of the most impactful bands in music right now was about to arrive and tear down the walls as guitars screamed, drum beats pounded and vocal rang out to an audience who yelled them back with the same intensity. Dublin was being heard.
And so it goes, from the floor to the balcony to the hallways of the Olympia, the Irish music scene assembled under one roof and shook the foundations not just culturally but politically as the two merged into a night that will be sure to be one of those “were you there?” stories that will live on.
For more information and to donate to Focus Ireland visit focusireland.ie. All photos by Stephen White. Click and scroll to see the full gallery below.