Richmond Fontaine – The Workman’s Club, Dublin – Live Review by Killian Laher
Richmond Fontaine have built up a dedicated, devoted following over the years. They recently announced the end of the band, so this is their final tour. Not everyone’s idea of a fun Friday night out, their brand of literate, alt-country nevertheless drew a sizeable crowd.
The support act, Argentinian-American folk singer Fernando, played a decent brand of mellow protest songs, winning over a partly indifferent audience. Joined by Richmond Fontaine guitarist Dan Eccles songs like The Dog, True Instigator and a cover of Three Sheets To The Wind by the late Jimmy Boyer played to the pair’s strengths, Fernando on acoustic with subtle touches on electric via Eccles.
Playing a set that dipped in and out of several of their most recent albums, singer Willy Vlautin cuts a self-deprecating, almost apologetic figure that’s at odds with the band’s confident, powerful dark folk-rock. After a slow start, the band settled into an angry groove with biting story-songs such as 43 and Hallway. Don’t Skip Out On Me recalls the Rolling Stones in their imperious, early seventies period.
These are hard songs. Songs of harsh experience, that know life’s not just about having fun. The broken and bruised Whitey and Me is tender, while Out of State fantasises about drawing the curtains and hiding away from the world. “We can stay like this for days,” sings Vlautin, making such a retreat sound heroic. The embittered A Night In The City was arguably the highlight of the night. Introduced as a song “about a one night rebellion”, its bleak lyrics of a man who didn’t go home after work cut to the bone, particularly combined with the intense playing by the band.
The encore didn’t disappoint, with I Can’t Black It Out If I Can’t Remember one of the strongest songs of the night. Despite what many initially thought, this wasn’t their final gig in Dublin, they’re returning in October to play Whelans. It’ll be a full house.
Wake Up Ray
I Got Off The Bus
Don’t Go Back There
Don’t Skip Out On Me
Whitey and Me
Out of State
Post to Wire
A Night In The City
Tapped Out In Tulsa
(Freddy Trujillo song)
Lost In The Trees
I Can’t Black It Out If I Can’t Remember
Two Friends Lost At Sea
Always On The Ride