Wednesday 4th February bought with it my first experience at Southampton’s infamous intimate venue, The Joiners. Treated to tickets by my friend, we were there to see One Night Only, a band I have loved since I was about 12. Recovering from a long-term hiatus, the band announced tour dates at the end of last year alongside new singles ‘Get Around To It’ and ‘Plasticine’.
When telling people about the gig, their instant reaction is to claim they “swear they remember that name” and then when I remind them of their smash hit ‘Just For Tonight’ that reached the UK Top 40 back in 2008, or the fact that front man George Craig used to date actress Emma Watson, they make “ahhhhing” noises and say they “didn’t realise the band was still around.”
Support band, The Luka State, looked about 14 and had clearly had quite a few beers before the set, which was messy as each song started strong and sounded promising but unfortunately quickly sank into background noise. Regardless, the boys were passionate about their sound and were clearly nervous as I overheard them ‘fan-girling’ to the One Night Only band members at the end of the night.
The main event began with the headline act entering the stage with not a smile to be seen. Considering it was only the second night of the tour this was extreme even for a moody/angsty ‘indie-rock’ inspired band. However, towards the end of the opener, new single, ‘Get Around To It’, the four-piece, (plus frontman Craig’s older brother accompanying on drums), seemed much more relaxed and at ease – especially as the crowd were warmly receiving the new music and many were even singing along.
By the time the band had rattled off hits from their previous two, more well-known albums, such as ‘It’s About Time’ and ‘Bring Me Back Down’, George Craig’s cheeky smile could be seen as well as his well-chiselled jaw – both clearly major factors in him landing modelling jobs for both designer brand Burberry and high-street indie chain, Urban Outfitters.
The atmosphere was up-beat and adoring from the crowd that had begun to swell the small venue. Right at the front, I was party to grins that now radiated from the majority of the band as they realised the crowd truly was there for them; they all omitted an endearing shy quality that is increasingly absent from bands who normally prefer to opt for the NME/Gallagher brother-fuelled cocky approach.
Rounding up their set up, the other band members left lead singer and guitarist George Craig on stage to perform a beautiful acoustic medley of ‘Long Time Coming’ and ‘You & Me’. The crowd sang every line to the latter and even joined in during the harmonies. The whole gig was very much a joint effort – at one point in nod to the fact George Craig is currently with ex, X-factor contestant, Diana Vickers, a crowd member was invited up on stage to announce the band’s next song in the style of the show’s famous voice-over man.
Closing with ‘Just For Tonight’, an explosion of movement suddenly erupted from the onlookers. The ‘classic tune’ had managed to create a wave of giddiness where every fan was now beaming with appreciation and hope that the boys will deliver similar-style songs on the highly-anticipated new album.
Despite the gig appearing to be an attempt at ‘testing the waters’, speaking to the band members afterwards, they seemed positive and hopeful that their new stuff would excite fans new and old. George Craig especially, a wonderfully polite and sweet man, thanked us for our support whilst he signed our stolen set-lists and promised this would not be the last time we would be hearing from the band.
Even though One Night Only have been around for over 10 years now, I truly hope for them that 2015 is their year and their new album will mirror the success of their first few singles.
Get a free download of a live version of One Night Only’s latest single ‘Plasticine’ on their Soundcloud.