Sunday 24 February 2008

sing like you want this....

One Night Only @ Rescue Rooms, 23rd February 2008

I have to say that when I heard their album, I rather feared the worst. There's nothing terribly wrong with it, I suppose, but neither did I find anything much about it that I could get excited about. One Night Only (another awful name) seemed to be another of those bands where the best thing you could say about them was that they were inoffensive and the worst was probably that they were insipid and deeply uninspiring. The album opens with their big hit single, "Just For Tonight", which is nice enough, but for me it was then downhill all the way. I note from their homepage that the band have a twitter page. It doesn't seem to be terribly incisive (are any twitter pages?). It's perhaps early days , with only 11 updates and 6 followers, but already I can tell that their hearts aren't in it. Perhaps as far as web 2.0 goes, they're all Myspaced and facebooked out? Hmmm. Given that the gig clashed with France vs England in the Six Nations, I wasn't exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of seeing them live. Still, a night out at a gig is never entirely a night wasted, so when I set off for the Rescue Rooms with LB later that evening, there was still everything to play for.

The first thing to say about the band is that they are children. Seriously, I know I'm getting on a bit in gig-going terms, but this lot have clearly never owned a razor between them. Not a single member of the band has yet reached 20, and I reckon that most of them are still not old enough to drink (in fact, through the whole night, the only member of the band I saw drinking something any stronger than bottled water was the drummer taking a surreptitious sip from a can of lager). Perhaps not surprisingly, they seemed to have attracted a pretty young crowd too. The tickets proclaimed that it was a 14+ show, and I would say that the average age was about 19 or 20, with more than the usual amount of squealing teenage girls. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except that it does make me feel like the oldest person in the world - a feeling that is subsequently usually exacerbated when I fail to "get" the music that is sending the kids wild with joy.

Actually, tonight the crowd seem to be almost more interested in chatting to each other than they are in listening to the band. They get an enthusiastic welcome when they take to the stage, and there's a pocket of hardcore devotees near the front, but otherwise people seem only to be passingly interested. It's a shame: One Night Only are quite a lot more muscular onstage than they are on record. Their sound is quite keyboard driven, it's true, but the guitars are a lot more prominent here, and to my ears they sound all the better for it. The songs aren't brilliant, I don't reckon, and some of the lyrics are bit from the cat / hat / mat school of rhyming, but the band play with gusto right enough, and they're only kids, so I'm patronisingly going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they just about get away with it. The crowd continue to baffle though. The students right in front of us are chatting away, but they're quite sweet really as they hand cans of Red Stripe up to their friends in the balcony. They're here as part of their Saturday night out, and they're clearly going to be staying here for the club night afterwards. The band are only of passing interest to them, but good luck to them. Far worse are the slightly older guys who seem to get an awful lot of pleasure from spraying the crowd in front of them with water. On the one hand, this makes a welcome change from the lager that is often chucked about at Rock City, but it's still irritatingly juvenile. I'm out of range, but it's distracting and my attention wanders from the band.

The band are on for about an hour in all, but for almost the entirety of the last half of the set, it's all about an increasingly restless crowd waiting for the big single. They distract us with a joyous cover of the Sugababes "About You Now", but we just want to hear the hit now. I think wisely, they save it up until last, but then they let us have "Just For Tonight" in all its glory. It reached as high as number nine in the UK singles chart, is used in the theme music for the show "Nearly Famous" and was the theme chosen by Sky Sports for the Euro 2008 qualifiers. It's by far and away the most famous thing the band have done, and is greeted with predictable rapture and a lot of destructive moshing by the water chuckers.

What can I say? It's a decent enough tune. I wouldn't say it's the greatest song ever written, but it's the greatest song One Night Only have ever written, that's for sure. The kids love it, and perhaps that's enough. It's a start for them, anyway.

And that's it - it's a Saturday night, so there's a 10pm curfew on the set. After their hit, the band are off and we push our way out through the queues waiting to get into the Rescue Rooms club night, dash home, run to get some fish & chips before the shop shuts and then settle down to watch the mighty, mighty England on Sky+. Not a bad night, by any means... although in an ideal world I could have done without the bassist telling the crowd the result of the rugby, but thankfully not the final score. Does he not realise the lengths you have to go to in order to avoid hearing that kind of thing? It's bad enough that the BBC read out the football scores before Match of the Day, never mind having the teenaged member of some band trying to ruin your enjoyment of a game... It's a beginner's mistake for sure, and the boy should look at people like Bono, Michael Stipe and Morrissey. I bet they'd never do something like that...

Ah, they're young. They'll learn.

Verdict. 6 / 10

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