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The Script

The queue for this gig is immense, stretching along the seafront and snaking round the car park near the harbour. Thank goodness the weather is glorious, because people have been there since 4am, and it seems impossible, as we arrive at 7.00pm, that the venue will manage to get everyone in before the music starts.  Once inside, witnessing the swift, efficient machinations of the Spa's front of house team, that worry is proven unfounded; the queue has been vanquished and the hordes are in ready for support act Stooshe's opening track, 'Slip'. It's reminiscent of 'Never Can Say Goodbye', a motown classic, and indeed their look and sound is distinctly motown-influenced. As they move into second track, 'Love Me', their synchronised dance moves and urban glam outfits hint at a meld between the Supremes and Salt N' Pepa, and they get riotous applause for their efforts.

'Black Heart' is one of their most well known tracks, and causes a sea of camera-phones to be waved in the air; many of them are up for most of the night, and I have to wonder if people have forgotten how to just be in the moment and enjoy something without the need to record every second of it in low-quality shake-o-vision. Nevertheless, this soulful song goes down well and you can't fault the energy of these ladies. There is unfortunately something not quite right with the sound at times, the lyrics are muddily indistinct, seemingly drowned out by the drum levels. They slow things down with the ode to regret and lost love, 'Fly Again'; it's a lovely song, with beautiful harmonies, and is mostly guitar led with less drum, so the lyrics come across better. They finish with a song to 'raise the roof ready for The Script' - it's 'Kiss Chase', and they attempt to split the sides of the audience to join in on the chorus. Played live rather than recorded it has a great funk-rock quality to it, and their energy is immense, particularly Karis Anderson who dances up a frenzy.

The Script tease the audience slightly, as a glimpse of them is caught at the doors to the side of the stage. It's a little after this that the lights dim and film footage starts on the screen behind them. This runs for a few minutes, building the tension, then suddenly the lights rise on the band and the music has started. As they run through 'Good Ol' Days', singer Danny O'Donoghue works the stage, giving every area his attention. It's a powerful, well balanced start. Second track, 'We Cry', gets the audience singing, and there's a genuine smile of pleasure on his face. The screened footage runs throughout, mixing pre-recorded backing effects with close ups of the band on stage; as 'Breakeven' starts, things go dark with just a few intense lights searing the blackness. Some people are in their own little world, lost in the music, swaying to themselves.

Another blackout - there's one between virtually every song - is followed by some fiery visuals and a moment of pause. Music builds back up with drums ticking along, before the guitar joins. There is, to my ears, a U2-esque sound, as the 'oh oh oh ooh-ahhh' of 'Science and Faith' sees Danny conducting on the stage while the fans accompany the track and Bond-style visuals roll on the screen. Danny is a dab-hand at yearning looks that seem to connect with everyone in the audience; as a lesson in stage presence he is a master. Taking time for some chat with the audience, they say it is ages since they have been to this area, and are pleased to be supping Yorkshire Tea - naturally, it elicits a big cheer.

Next up, the song that hit no2 in the UK charts back in 2008, 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved'; they have only to announce the song in order to get the audience singing acapella to start it off, before Danny's voice joins in, making those high notes seem effortless. There is a huge cheer and the band are clearly delighted too at the end, as guitarist Mark Sheehan holds his guitar aloft triumphantly. He also takes on the audience for some banter, getting them to chant profanities before they play one of their new songs; "Everyone can relate to this" he tells us, "and it means a lot to us". 'If You Could See Me Now' is a song about losing someone - not a lover, but a parent. It's a poignant moment, without being overplayed. With Mark taking on a significant part of the vocals, it is an example of the balance and collaboration between the band; Danny is the natural frontman, yes, but there is a strong sense of this band being a team of equal partners.

'Before The Worst', another early tune, begins with lone drumbeats before Danny is illuminated, with a keyboard having appeared for him. As this song ends, the place literally shakes with thunderous applause & stamping. During new single, 'Millionaires', the lighting becomes blinding; I almost get my sunglasses out. The singing though is faultless, as is the playing; all elements are so in sync, and there is a quality to this group that I admit I had never appreciated before. They also know how to give a good show, pleasing the crowd by taking a photo of them and getting Mark to down a beer, everyone chanting. Next there is another sing with a universal theme, bitterness towards an ex. They joke that everyone should phone their ex and hold the phone up during this song; Danny holds his aloft throughout 'Nothing'.

The audience, about 80% female, are dancing like it's a disco towards the front. The intense lights are fast, matching Glen Powers' frantic drum pace. There's a lot of enjoyment being had by performers and fans alike. You can see the passion from all three, but especially Mark, as they perform popular hit 'Talk You Down'. Danny also picks up a guitar for '6 Degrees of Separation', spotlit, and almost seems to be serenading by the end of this song, connecting with faces in the audience with panache. By the encore, he's connected even more closely for a few in the right place at the right time; first track is 'You Won't Feel' and whilst the lighting is dark and mysterious on stage, it transcends he has made it discreetly to the balcony; there is a rippling wave as heads turn in realisation; it's a bold move, and hilarious to see one lady cheekily grab a kiss and cop a feel, before a security guard positions himself strategically. It's a great touch, and leads into his return to stage, flaming torch held aloft as they end with their first UK no1 single, 'Hall of Fame'. It's a good choice, fitting well as a finale and leading to a rather spectacular confetti cannon, filling the air right up to the domed ceiling of Bridlington Spa. It's grand, and delightful; yet it's not quite the end, as Mark stands on stage for just a few moments after the others exit, still singing along to the audience, before waving and leaving; it somehow feels like a grand yet personal ending, melding the feeling that has come across throughout the night, of talented songwriters and world-class performers, perfectly in harmony with each other, and a degree of down-to-earth accessibility.  If you are a Script fan, you will most likely have felt that the £35 ticket price was a bargain for the performance just witnessed; and myself, not really a particular fans before, well, it is safe to say that I came away with a new found respect for these artists. 

 

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