Kneecap at The Academy, Dublin on October 3rd 2019

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and in the case of Plec Picks Kneecap this certainly rings true. Having had their status cemented by condemnation from the DUP, Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Provaí took the Irish festival circuit by storm this summer, and are currently touring ar fud na tíre (all around the country) for their ‘Yer Ma Hates Ya’ Tour. So what’s on the itinerary tonight? Only to free the Pale, of course. 

Overlooking the crowd from the mezzanine balcony and it’s a Fenian wet dream: tops off, flags out, copies of the 1916 Proclamation floating about. Undeterred by the backlash of previous gigs, chants of varying degrees of anti-brit sentiment come in waves. When DJ Provaí kicks Kneecap off with Tá na Baggies ar an Talamh, it becomes apparent that the hype is real. 

The craic is 90 from the get-go. There’s moshpits, handheld CO2 cannons and Buckfast-drenched songs ranging from their pet peeves (Bouncers, Your Sniffer Dogs Are Shite) to the Good Friday Agreement babies answer to a rebel song (Get Your Brits Out).

Kneecap seem to take pride in maintaining disorder. At one point in the night they tell the crowd, “security wants no one on each others shoulders, you know what that means!”, then at another point they’re leading chants of “more merch, more drugs!” after lamenting their drug shortage, observing “if ya wanna buy our merch, we can buy more drugs!”. With t-shirts at 25 quid a pop, that’s enough baggies to keep the lads going for the foreseeable future.  

Earlier in the night however, Móglaí Bap took the opportunity to make a praiseworthy stand against the behaviour witnessed at the previous gig in Monroe’s(where someone assaulted multiple women in the crowd), prompting a bualadh bos from the crowd. 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, DJ Provaí starts giving out foam cups filled with Buckfast, as Mo Chara pours a mystery baggie all over himself. It’s not so much Straight Outta Compton as it is Straight Outta West Belfast. 

They attempt to finish up just over the hour mark with breakout single (featuring the greatest opening line ever*) C.E.A.R.T.A. It’s hard not to feel a burst of pride, seeing a sold-out room of young people singing word for word as Gaeilge. “If we could play all night, we know we could play all night”, the lads tell us. It’s a brave statement, as they soon return for their first ever encore to give H.O.O.D its second outing of the evening, now featuring even more smoke’n’bucky and green blow-up aliens (presumably these were freshly smuggled out of an aftersesh in Area 51).

The sheer energy exuded from such a short set and the sparse back catalogue only serves to make the groups quick success even more impressive. What better way to celebrate Junior Cert results night than to witness the emancipation of the Fenian masses? The lads kicked up a bigger storm than Lorenzo could ever dream of.