The Script, 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London


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The Independent Culture

The Script make pop music for people who don’t want to admit they like pop - and they do it well.

They’ve had two number one albums and tonight is the last in a set of UK dates before they travel to the States to promote their third album, cleverly entitled #3, for easy tweeting.

The Irish trio wear a loosely coordinated, vaguely punk-rock costume tonight, but still have the wholesome good looks you’d expect from a popular boy band. Their music can be described in a similar way - it has familiar soft rock riffs similar to Coldplay or Keane, but the uplifting keyboard-led highs and catchy lyrics of a good pop track.

Frontman Danny O'Donoghue (who is also a judge on “The Voice”) makes good banter, mostly referring to his own love of drinking, encouraging the audience to drunk dial someone they shouldn’t, and frankly admitting: “We sound better when you’re drunk”.

It’s true, even with a great backing band they sound much better recorded than live, but O'Donoghue’s cheeky antics save the evening from becoming completely dull. He has a warmth and ease that his fans relate to; as he runs up the back tiers of the Empire, flanked by a team of nervous security guards, you can tell this prank is unscripted, but it means the world to his fans, who hug him and thrust their smartphones at his face (a modern-day sign of appreciation).

"The Man Who Can't Be Moved", arguably their greatest hit so far, which peaked at number two in the UK singles chart in 2008, features in tonight’s set, but it doesn’t get the warmest reception of the night.

The sweet ballad “I’m Yours” written “at two o'clock in the morning when I was really drunk and I had’s about giving all of yourself, ” and "Six Degrees of Separation," from the new album, about O'Donoghue’s breakup with his ex,  get the loudest cheers. Whether this is because the fans are sympathetic to O'Donoghue’s problems in his personal life, or because “Six Degrees” features a fun hand dance where people count along to the lyrics on their fingers, it’s hard to say.