Live Review: The Script and Mary Lambert Differ Strokes at The Fox

The Irish rock group and ascendant singer appealed to the sold-out crowd with dissimilar techniques.


  • Gillian Edevane
It’s been six years since Irish pop band The Script hit it big with “Breakeven (Falling to Pieces),” a melancholic ditty about a man who prays to a god he doesn’t believe in after realizing he’s let “the one” slip away. The song's sweet, catchy lyrics appealed almost as well to forty-something moms as to their teenaged daughters.

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Which summed up the demographic on Sunday at The Fox Theater, filled to capacity for The Script. Girls in braces walked unsteadily in heels as if the look was a requirement. Perhaps there was no better crowd for opening act Mary Lambert, who rose to fame via the duet “Same Love” with Macklemore, to give a heartfelt sermon-like lesson on self-acceptance. She took to the mic, stood at her piano, and begged the audience to love themselves. Reading a poem, she asked the crowd, “When the knife hits the skin, is it the same thing as purging?” Lambert spoke with conviction and yet sounded as if she was holding back tears. Wryly, her eyes closed, she continued, “We’re still hoping the mortician finds us fuckable.” 

All in all, Lambert’s short gig seemed more like a cozy fireside chat than a concert. She amused the crowd with anecdotes from her days as a restaurant hostess, introduced the audience to her best friend Tim and cracked enough jokes to make one concert goer rhetorically ask, “Is she going to do stand up or sing?” A bit of both, as it turned out. The singer ended her brief set with the radio hit “Secrets,” belting the lyrics along with the audience in what successfully created an intimate, warm, and — by her own admission — “safe” space. She made The Fox seem like a quaint neighborhood bar where your drink orders are remembered and the friendly bartender calls you “honey.”

  • Gillian Edevane
The Script, composed of Donoghue (lead vocals, keyboard), Mark Sheehan (vocalist, lead guitar) and Glen Power (drums) came on after a brief intermission and blew that carefully orchestrated atmosphere to smithereens, playing familiar tracks such as “Before the Worst,” “Breakeven (Falling To Pieces)” and new favorites such as “If You Could See Me Now.” Lambert’s neighborhood bar quickly transformed into a crowded club complete with bright blue, red and yellow pulsating lights and deafening screams from the audience. The ambiance changed so dramatically, so quickly, that it’s hard to believe the same concert was unfolding. The Script, which has more popularity in the U.K, is used to bigger venues, so the band’s entire vibe is understandably different from the one Lambert humbly cultivates. The trio has repeatedly sold out arenas for their “No Sound Without Silence” tour, named after their internationally successful 4th album, so adapting the set for smaller venues in the U.S. might take a bit more work. The show felt a tad impersonal, especially following Lambert’s love fest, though perhaps that was intentional. Lambert approached the audience as a friend; The Script approached them as rockstars, worthy of this headlining tour and many thereafter. Likewise, Lambert seemed to speak off the cuff, admittedly nixing any formalized set list, while The Script was a well-oiled machine rehearsed in its charismatic performance. The juxtaposition was jarring but ultimately worked in the band’s favor. It was like getting two very different experiences all for the price of one. The subdued tone of Lambert’s show made the main event feel full of boundless energy, even during The Script’s slower tracks such as “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.”

Through out the evening, Donoghue worked the crowd like a pro, utilizing the entirety of the stage and hyping the audience with the movements of his thin frame. Before playing “Man on a Wire,” a soothing track about dangerous love off the new LP, he paused in the middle of the stage, took a deep breath, and said, “Every step counts.”