In a homecoming of sorts, the group, headlining Thursday at the Hollywood Bowl, served up a compelling mix of pop, rock, blues and reggae.
Published: June 4, 2014 Updated: June 5, 2014 12:21 p.m.
With: The Script, American Authors
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine
When: June 3
Next: The tour stops at 7 tonight at the Hollywood Bowl
How much: $29.50-$87.50 ($41-$102.95 with fees)
|Singer Ryan Tedder and cello player|
Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic
With two members of headlining OneRepublic hailing from Orange County – cello player Brent Kutzle was born in Newport Beach and lives in Orange, drummer Eddie Fisher grew up in Mission Viejo – this was a homecoming of sorts for the quintet. Over the course of 100 fast-moving minutes, the band delivered its genre-blurring mix like it was a celebration among friends.
Though they opened with “Light It Up,” off last year’s album Native, that song was dramatic but not as potent as the majority that followed. The strings-heavy “Secrets” was next, the song’s engaging blend of R&B and pop a perfect excuse to move to the music.
Technology also was used effectively to enhance the early part of the set: During “All the Right Moves,” a geometrically-shaped rear-projection screen featured shots of Abbey Road Studios in London and the singing of a children’s choir that morphed into the band’s live performance, Kutzle’s virtuoso cello work propelling the tune. The song turned on a dime, however, as lead singer Ryan Tedder shifted to an upright piano and finished it off quietly.
Other memorable moments featured the group in both stripped-down and amped-up modes. Accompanied by his acoustic guitar, Tedder brought a heartfelt approach to “Stop and Stare,” then traded in the six-string for 88 keys in an emotive version of the band’s biggest hit, “Apologize.” Those wanting to dance were more frequently rewarded via the brisker likes of the electronica-tinged “Counting Stars,” the grooving “Can’t Stop” and tuneful “Good Life.”
OneRepublic’s sharp encore centered on the downright blues-heavy “Love Runs Out” (the official video of which arrived this week) plus a piano-anchored cover of the Louis Armstrong standard “What a Wonderful World,” with Tedder pushing his falsetto to its upper reaches, before the band finished with the uplifting “If I Lose Myself.”
Less than a year after Dublin export the Script warmed up for Train and Gavin DeGraw at this same venue, the trio (aided by several touring members) displayed a confidence and power far greater than it did last August.
Led by singer-songwriter Danny O’Donoghue, the group displayed that gracious and welcoming Irish spirit early and often. The frontman ventured out into the crowd during opening cut “Good Ol’ Days” and seemed determined to make friends. His camaraderie was welcome, and so was the troupe’s involving sound: “Before the Worst” was melodic, with a big chorus that filled the vast space, while the urgent, reggae-tinged “We Cry” mined Jamaican outfit Third World’s territory authentically. And the Script came closest to countrymen U2’s sonic turf via the anthemic “A Man That Can’t Be Moved,” boasting yet another superb chorus.
The ensemble’s best was saved for last, with “Hall of Fame” built on an infectious dance feel bolstering a powerful message about ordinary folks achieving extraordinary things. A fine set to be sure.
In its 30-minute set, the members of New York's American Authors, the first act on the bill, were likely hoping to achieve the kind of magic that the Script did last summer. Despite a somewhat muddy mix that drowned out some of the unique banjo and mandolin textures during the early part of the set, the band gained significant ground amid the pretty acoustic song “Trouble” and a drum- and banjo-fueled take on their ubiquitous smash “Best Day of My Life,” which proved to be the first party anthem of the night, one that got concert-goers in motion.