I arrive at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall at around 7.15pm, with just enough time to grab a typically over-priced beer and soak up the atmosphere — it’s one of intense anticipation from the crowd, which is quickly filling to its capacity of just over 3000 people.
The lights go down and the first support act, Will & The People, take to the stage. The hoards of young girls scream, thinking that it’s the Script, and are slightly disappointed when they see the truth — a five-piece band who describe themselves as ‘melodramatic pop’, although there are more than just a few hints of ska in their songs. WATP certainly have enough about them to get the crowd bouncing, although things don’t quite turn out that way. There’s a definite sense that the sell-out audience is saving themselves for the headliners, despite the tartan-clad front-man’s claims that this is “the best audience we’ve ever had”. They play a great set and the applause when they finish shows that they probably deserved a bit more dancing than they were given.
Song to hear: Salamander.
The lights are killed again and the crowd goes wild but, alas, another false dawn. Gary Go walks onto the stage, video camera in hand. As if in hope of appearing in a music video or DVD extra, the throng at the front of the stage screams and waves — only adding to Gary’s already huge ego. Although first appearing as a 4-piece ‘band’, this is very much Gary Go and his backing band. His first words “I am Gary Go” ensure nobody sees things any differently. The spotlight is on the lead singer, with the rest of the band shrouded in smoke for much of the gig. Arrogance aside, Gary Go is a very tight, accomplished act. He has a brilliant voice and the perfect harmonies provided by his backing only emphasise this. There seems to be a general admiration from the crowd, who sway in time to a group who sound remarkably like the Fray.
Song to hear: Wonderful.
After a short break the room goes dark and the audience know that the headline act is finally here. As The Script takes centre stage the room erupts with screams from a crowd which seems to be 90 per cent female. First out is drummer Glen Power, who shows he has talent beyond a pop band with a short but brilliant drum solo. The feeling of euphoria is only heightened when guitarist Mark Sheehan and handsome vocalist and keyboard player Danny O’Donoghue appear, with the latter clearly a favourite with the girls in the audience tonight.
The drum solo smoothly leads into the Script’s first song of the night, ‘Before The Worst’. O’Donoghue’s instantly recognisable keys are greeted with another roar from the audience as the crowd seem to finally be giving this gig their all.
The first thing you notice about the band is the way they line up on stage — an unorthodox arrangement which sees the drummer on the right hand side, in line with guitarist and singer, and the bassist pushed to the back and out of sight. With drummer Power being involved with much of the vocals as well as providing some very astute percussion, it is clear that he is a massively integral part of this band.
The other thing that is evident straight away is how tight the band are as a unit and it appears Power is the one keeping them this way. He plays flawlessly and is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished drummers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. He doesn’t overdo it but every fill and every beat is perfect. The only downside to this is that sometimes the drums are a little over-powering, with the crowd struggling to hear the keys and guitar at times. Regardless, the Script is on form tonight – the threesome of Sheehan, Power and O’Donoghue work perfectly together, both vocally and instrumentally. They play with an honesty and passion which cannot be ignored, whilst all the time keeping things simple and just doing what the crowd adore them for.
As they move through the tracks on their impressive debut self-titled release, crowd favourites ‘Breakeven’ and ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ bring the best out of what had been a timid audience. By this time most of the sell-out crowd are singing along with every word.
The Script is a primarily pop band, although they certainly like to add a sense of hip-hop to their songs. This is no more apparent than in ‘We Cry’, the song which the band cites as the one which made them famous. They leave the stage after a party atmosphere for ‘Rusty Halo’ but the crowd know an encore is inevitable.
O’Donoghue and Power return first and play a gorgeous rendition of ballad ‘I’m Yours’. Power is now on guitar, but somehow still manages to play the hi-hat and bass drum on his kit at the same time. Sheehan and the unnamed (and seemingly unimportant) bassist are back for the band’s finale — a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, and it seems that for the huge audience packed into the Civic Hall tonight, that’s exactly what the Script are.
Before The Worst
Talk You Down
The End Where I Begin
If You See Kay
Fall For Anything
The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
Heroes (David Bowie Cover)
Review – Jack McCormick
Photos – Chris Barber