I Lost My Phone in a Mosh Pit at a Fontaines D.C. and Been Stellar Concert (a Recap by Madeline Byrnside)

On a hot, sweaty, and slow Tuesday in Chicago, I slowly but surely dragged my boyfriend out the door and onto a red-line train to Wrigleyville. Before leaving our Bucktown apartment I looked him dead in the eyes as I fixed my hair and said “It’s a sold-out show, but it shouldn’t be too crazy…no mosh pits or anything like that.” Now, it’s not that the thought of a possible pit didn’t cross my mind while buying resale tickets to this sold-out show off of VividSeats. It’s just that I had never considered Fontaines D.C. a hardcore punk band of any sort. You might be wondering why the fuck I thought that. You also might be wondering if I had ever listened to Fontaines D.C. before in my life. Yes, dear reader, I know how utterly dense I sound and I can assure you I had listened to the Dublin rockers many, many times before. 

Skinty Fia, Fontaines D.C.’s most recent release was one of the most acclaimed records of 2022, and I was a victim of the hype. It had been a hot minute since I had found a band to become entranced with and for a while I had many peers who begged me to listen to them. I was skeptical even after one of my friends got a tattoo of lyrics from the song “A Hero’s Death” from their 2020 record of the same name (it was “life ain’t always empty” on both her knees…it looked really fucking cool). However, when Skinty Fia came out, it felt like the record I had been looking desperately around for. Soon, they became my number one listened-to artist for the year 2022. Of course, it is hard not to talk about Fontaines D.C. without referencing their Irish heritage and influences – frontman Grian Chatten’s vocals are hard to miss with the thick accent. Most of their work consists of lyrics referencing the historical and cultural influences of Ireland. I mean, D.C. stands for Dublin City after all. 

The band’s stint at Metro Chicago was the first in a series of sold-out solo shows before they went on tour opening for Arctic Monkeys starting the week after. To start off this small solo tour, they brought the New York band Been Stellar (named after the famed comedic actor) with them. The five-piece band has been together since 2013 after vocalist Sam Slocum and guitarist Skyler Knapp met at school and soon brought three others into the mix: Laila Wayans on drums, Nando Dale on guitar, and Nico Brunstein on bass. When they came on stage I was shocked at how young they looked – I swore to my boyfriend that they couldn’t be much older than us, but once they started playing I immediately retracted my statement.

Been Stellar, no matter how old they may be, has it all figured out when it comes to their artistry. The band leans into more goth-rock and shoegaze roots but makes sure to enlighten a crowd with energy fit for a heavy metal band. Slocum’s vocals were powerfully built, Wayan’s percussions were perfectly loud and oftentimes angry, and one of my favorite parts of their performance was Knapp’s melodic and artistic guitar playing. Together, Been Stellar represents some of the best characteristics that came out of the 2000s post-punk scene in New York City. I was reminded of Interpol, the Strokes, and even Inhaler during their performance but they of course brought something far more raw, gothic, and powerful to the mix. I was surprised that the crowd was not more hype during their set even though they were certainly enjoying it. In my honest opinion, they were one of the best-picked opening acts I had ever seen at a show. 

Before Fontaines D.C. entered the stage, they turned down the lights and played “Black Boys on Mopeds” by Sinead O’Connor. Frontman Grian Chatten entered and immediately started to work on getting the packed and sold-out crowd at the Metro as hyped as they possibly could. In an almost childlike way, he walked around the stage in circles, flailed his arms around, pointed, and yelled at individuals in the crowd, etc. It definitely worked. Almost immediately, the entire left side of the crowd went fucking crazy. The Irish post-punk darlings kicked things off with “Too Real” from their 2019 record Dogrel, and I flipped my shit too. I turned to my boyfriend and told him to hold my purse and my $5 beer and I pushed my way into the huge circle of sweaty people throwing themselves at each other. It wasn’t until after they started playing their next song that I realized that my phone which I had secured in the pocket of my Old Navy shorts (I was definitely not dressed for the occasion), was gone. As a 22-year-old Gen Z-er, I started panicking. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the heavy-ass men in this pit wearing the heaviest fucking pairs of vintage Doc Marten/steel-toed work boots I had ever seen stepping and jumping all over my phone.

I bent down and tried to push around people to look at the beer-mudded ground for it. I heard the beginning of “Hurricane Laughter.” Oh, fuck! I would never find my iPhone during “Hurricane Laughter” of all fucking songs. I was about to lose all hope until a tall, slender, and shaggy-haired man wearing a graphic black tee and pants to match looked into my eyes. He grabbed my shoulder and bent down a little so that he could speak into my ear. 


I grabbed his shoulder and then yelled into his ear. “MY PHONE!” 

He looked at me, surprised. “WHAT KIND?” 


Then, he stood up straight, cupped his hands around his mouth, and screamed at the top of his lungs. “EVERYONE, LOOK FOR A RED IPHONE!!!!!” Almost the entire pit turned around, looked at him, then looked at their feet. 

That man, my savior! My hero! Thank you, kind stranger! It wasn’t long after until a balding man wearing a baseball cap standing right beside my knight in shining armor then handed me my phone. I thanked them as loud as I could before running back to my boyfriend to debrief and catch my breath after being thrown around in the crowd. Chatten was encouraging the pit the whole night, pointing and shouting at that crowd from the stage the entire time until at one point there was even a wall of death situation. I went back periodically, most excitedly during “A Hero’s Death” and “Nabokov.”  I was incredibly sore for a week after as I’m sure many other people were. 

What I love about Fontaines D.C. which was only heightened by their performance is they did not seem to take themselves too seriously. They also took pride in the fact that they were artists and poets before being a band, an underrated dynamic that seems to have worked in their favor. They have a distinct and yet reminiscent post-punk sound that scratched an everlasting itch in my brain, and even though they absolutely were influenced by noise-rock and clean-cut indie rock bands from the 2000s, they were able to find an interesting median for all of those aspects. This meant delivering some of the most radio-friendly rock songs of the past decade. 

So, if you ever have the chance to see Fontaines D.C. live – do it. Just do it. You won’t be bored, as they are definitely “get in and get out” type of performers. But they are energetic, clean-cut, and full of raw power all at the same time, and absolutely beautiful artists and musicians. They had an energy that I had not felt or witnessed at a concert of that size since before COVID, something I needed and I’m sure many others did too. Fontaines D.C. are legends in the making with their discography filled with generational trauma, love, pain, and perseverance. And Been Stellar are music industry freshmen that you do not need to sleep on. Just make sure that when you see them live you wear the appropriate attire. 

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