It doesn’t happen very often that when a band drops a new album we’re graced with a live show to go along with the promotion train that follows it. Sydney fans were fortunate to not only have Irish rockers The Script play for them, but it was at The Metro too, a considerably smaller venue than the last time they were here. After seeing their invigorating show last time I was keen to check them out again and see the difference a more intimate setting would make on their performance.
The reality TV machine has been churning out acts for a while now, most of whom we get to experience when they perform support for larger artists. Case in point Taylor Henderson, a former X-Factor and Australia’s Got Talent contestant. Henderson’s now onstage for us churning out some honeyed pop tunes for all the younger fans in the crowd. He’s probably way too sweet and innocent to be supporting the Irish lads and his music lacks the brute force and worldly experience of what our headliners deliver with real conviction. His cover of Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait” was alright but it just seemed to lack the depth and emotional ache of the original. Nonetheless his own songs are likeable enough and about a quarter of the room is singing along to “Borrow My Heart” or “When You Were Mine” off his first and second records respectively. I feel like he has everything required to further his musical career, it’s just I’m not his target demographic so it’s not really resonating with me.
There’s a remarkable and noticeable change in gear once our headliners arrive. The pace kicks up a few notches, the overall volume increases (from both the band and the fans vocalising) and we are delivered nothing short of a stadium performance in the confines of that much smaller room. With green white and orange lights blazing and “Paint The Town Green” to commence, The Script want to show us just exactly what’s in store for us with their new record. In the first half hour they unfurl “Superheroes” and “Energy Never Dies” and all of these songs feature on their shiniest LP No Sound Without Silence. The most ardent of fans the ones singing along to the words of these new songs even though the record has only been out for a couple of weeks here.
One of their largest hits and probably the one that broke them in Australia “Breakeven” gets a spin. I have to admit that when this song first came out I absolutely loathed it due it being inescapable and on every radio. It wasn’t until I saw the band perform live and well after their debut record had its day and the song had finally died off the airwaves that I actually appreciated the song’s merits. Guitarist Mark Sheehan is a typical Irish charmer, taking a break in proceedings to discuss how “Man On A Wire” came to be after watching a documentary about famous wire-walker Phillipe Petit’s crossing of the Twin Towers but that it didn’t really alleviate his own fear of heights, but it’s more a metaphorical look at taking risks.
The band keep the banter to a minimum though, preferring instead to just churn out song after song, the main part of the set full to the brim with the hit songs the fans love. “Six Degrees of Separation” and “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” both rousing sing-a-longs and accompanied by frontman Danny O’Donoghue bounding around from one side of the small stage to the other or jumping down into the pit area and high-fiving fans. One of his trademarks though is getting an audience member to call their ex boyfriend/girlfriend and getting us all to sing “Nothing” to the hapless person on the receiving end. In that moment we all are shouting our pain away and it’s cathartic. When we return for the encore O’Donoghue is up on the balcony area of The Metro in amongst the fans as “You Won’t Feel A Thing” rings out and drummer Glen Power blasts us with an impressive show of his drumming skills. The night finishes with “Hall Of Fame” and there’s nothing quite like a good clap-a-long as O’Donoghue rouses us “the world’s gonna know your name coz you burn with the brightest flame”.
After having seen the band at both the Hordern Pavilion and the Sydney Entertainment Centre it was surprising how much of the large scale production value they poured into this show even though it was at a significantly smaller venue. The light show was just as bright and blinding and it was obvious that pushing the sound up was affecting the quality of some of the songs that resulted in a little too much noise and not enough distinction. Still out of a 16 song set we were treated to 5 new tracks and the only slow (ish) song of the night was “If You Could See Me Now” and even then it’s not really a ballad. From start to finish this was a high powered performance and it’s obvious that The Script have very little intention of slowing the pace down when they return in 2015 to tour Australia.