Like another acclaimed combo from Dublin, fictional feature-film stars the Commitments, the Script borrowed stylings from older, more established acts during a happy and occasionally enthralling Wednesday set at DAR Constitution Hall.
Vintage Eminem provided the musical template, though not the attitude, for the earnest Irish trio’s melodic lite-rap on “Good Ol’ Days” and “If You Could See Me Now,” with guitarist Mark Sheehan rhyming over lead singer Danny O’Donoghue’s falsetto crooning.
And there was more than a hint of Coldplay to the Script’s strongest pop tunes, the best of which, “Nothing,” had the crowd standing and swaying. There’s not much of an edge in the Script’s songbook, but the band specializes in uplift. “Hall of Fame,” originally recorded with Will.i.am (of the Black Eyed Peas and a co-host with O’Donoghue on the British version of televised talent show “The Voice”), is a pop pep talk, counseling that anybody who chases his dream will “be a champion on the walls of the hall of fame.”
“Talk You Down,” like much of the material served on this night, featured processed guitars and keyboards, and was as middle-of-the-road as anything played on a Christian rock station. Yet “Break Even,” among the band’s biggest hits, had O’Donoghue singing about “praying to a God that I don’t believe in,” which would probably keep the band off such a station’s playlist.
O’Donoghue, a tall, pale and handsome 32-year-old, made for a very charismatic frontman. He struck messianic poses, with arms outstretched and his eyes skyward, whenever he wanted fans to take over vocal duties, and he made several jumps into the crowd to mingle with the flock. Each walk-through incited mad rushes to the front of the half-filled hall and was met with boy-band-worthy shrieks from a mostly female crowd that was much older than a typical boy-band following. With an encore of the 2010 hit “For the First Time,” the Script provided the happy ending the fans came for.
McKenna is a freelance writer.