Ireland’s Fontaines D.C. finds U.S. visits a rollercoaster

click to enlarge Ireland’s Fontaines D.C. finds U.S. visits a rollercoaster
Fontaines D.C. are, from left, bassist Conor Deegan III, guitarist Carlos O’Connell, vocalist Grian Chatten, drummer Tom Coll and guitarist Conor Curley.

Conor Deegan is sometimes shocked by the kindness of Americans.

The bassist for the Irish band Fontaines D.C. was crossing a street in Detroit when a car’s passenger shouted a compliment.

“Americans are underrated for how nice they are in general,” Deegan said.

“It was really nice to experience going around America, to go to places like Detroit and actually meet the people and realize that they’re so nice. But then, there are the crazies.

“But I had just left a hotel in Detroit and a guy started shouting. I’m like, ‘Here we go.’ But he said, ‘Excuse me. You look great. Isn’t that a nice jacket.’ Then he waved and said, ‘Have a great day.’ I thought, ‘What the hell is this? Where am I?’ I heard that a couple times. I think they’re just extremely polite.”

Fontaines D.C. will give Tucson a whirl when it plays 191 Toole on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The gig is in support of Fontaines D.C.’s newest album “Skinty Fia,” which debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts. It follows its sophomore album, “A Hero’s Death,” which saw it become only the second Irish band to receive Best Rock Album Grammy nomination.

“I think ‘Skinty Fia’ fits in really, really well in the catalog,” Deegan added via Zoom from Germany.

“On the live side, it’s something that we needed because our second album as exactly what we wanted to make at the time. It’s kind of a bit dour and lethargic. This one has a bit more groove to it and is a bit vibier. It gives the live set a bit of an up and down. But ‘Skinty Fia’ is really a culmination of what we’re trying to do. We found a nice middle ground between the first and second albums. It isn’t a child of compromise. It’s a child of a concrete vision so that’s a great thing.”

Positive reviews have poured in about “Skinty Fia.” The critically acclaimed band isn’t affected by the buzz surrounding it. If anything, Deegan said it’s refreshing.

“It’s kind of a relief because I know it’s a privilege to get to work in music,” Deegan said.

“We have been working hard at it to try and get a bit of a foothold in places so that we can have a sustainable career. We can live off of the fact that we’re getting noticed and we can sell out venues.”

Playing U.S. venues is inspirational to Deegan, who grew up with parents who enjoy country western music.

“I’m really into westerns and cowboy music,” he said. “Driving around Arizona and New Mexico was brilliant for me.

“When you grow up in rural Ireland, there’s a fascination with Western culture and country and western radio dominates radio there. Everyone my parents’ generation would go country and western dancing as a social thing that doesn’t involve just going to the pub. So, they go out and they go dancing, which is lovely.”

Some of the songs make Deegan laugh; others he called ingenious, like 1983’s “Pancho & Lefty” by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson

“There are extremely humorous country songs,” he added. “They sometimes put you off because they’re very generic. How many more songs am I going to hear about driving a truck around? But then there are some that are take the simplicity to a genius level.

“When you get a bit older and you discover outsider country music like Marty Robbins or Townes Van Zandt, that when you see the edge to it. I think there’s something really desolate about the frontiers. From a contemporary standpoint, it’s a very dark thing. But that song ‘Pancho & Lefty,’ the lyrics are absolutely incredible.”

Fontaines D.C. w/Wunderhorse

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20

WHERE: 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole, Tucson

COST: Tickets start at $23


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