In The Middle with The LaFontaines

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Supporting Eliza and the Bear on their tour are Glaswegian band The LaFontaines, whose music is an interesting mix of hip hop and rock that has tended to polarise critics. Kerr, the bands charismatic frontman, says to be playing the Brudenell Social Club is “amazing because it’s got so much history to it. And it reminds me of a pub where I’m from.”  The band have garnered a reputation for excellent live performances, and after seeing them perform it’s clear why. They transformed the crowd and the atmosphere, and it’s easy to see why Eliza and the Bear love having them on to “warm-up” the audience.  The band recently put out an album, and did so through their own record label. “We recorded the album last year, and for four or five months talked to a good majority of the major record labels… but it just became bullshit. We’ve been a band way too long to be selling our soul for fame.” The decision to produce the album themselves definitely paid off. ‘Class’ was a top 10 Scottish album, a top 100 UK album and the highest selling independent record for a month. This was a great reward for the graft involved in putting out an album without the support of a record label: “We had no budget… it was just the power of the people spreading the word.”

As the title indicates, the album deals with issues of class, and the growing gap between rich and poor. Kerr calls his verses “social commentary”, as the band “are working class lads who come from a very working class background. As soon as we finish the tour we go back to the working class life on a building site or something.” The LaFontaines are living the life they depict in their music, not reflecting on it from the comfort mansions as so many hip hop artists do, and this gives their sound a gritty realness that accounts for their growing popularity. This is a band whose uncompromising integrity has so far served them well, and it will be exciting to see how their next album, which is currently being written, will fare.

 

Fionnuala Deasy

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