Only Real at Shacklewell Arms
Hailed as the next big thing, Only Real’s rise to fame has been truly catapulting. Only a year ago the sub-pop wonder was an entirely mysterious figure, yet now with new EP Days in the City and a signing to Virgin EMI just last week, it appears that Only Real is poised for greatness. The man behind this hype is 22-year-old Niall Galvin from West London. Producing his songs on a faulty computer in his bedroom he is a rousing success story of the DIY-demo generation.
This evening’s show at Shacklewell Arms marked one of only a handful of Galvin’s live concerts in the capital, his career taking off instead from the recorded singles he has tantalisingly released online over the past year. Filled to the brim with bright young things, all eager to hear a piece of the latest music trend, the room buzzes with a youthful energy. This adolescent fever is a driving force within Only Real’s music. Naming his sound as “baby music for babies”, his tracks ring with a playful vigour as he tells tales of London’s suburban youth culture in fresh, gritty colloquialisms. Tonight Galvin is joined by three band members, introduced as “Meredith Hammond”, “Fred. Just Fred” and “pretty Ian”. “We’re about to take you to outer space and back again,” Galvin screams and we are certainly not disappointed.
Punks and Potions, the first track from Days in the City, begins the set; its metallic guitar chiming easily to a soft 80s drumbeat marked with discordant piano inflections. A strong funk vibe permeates Backseat Kissers which drifts along dreamily, the swooping guitar and jingling piano chords complementing Galvin’s falsetto choruses. Despite only playing a short time together Only Real are an impeccably tight band demonstrated in their thundering cover of the Hawaii Five-O theme.
It’s Galvin’s dazzling charisma, however, which really makes the show. He jokes around delivering funny lines and playing spurts of Little Wayne to the audience, accentuating each song with pelvic thrusts and dizzy twirls. His malleable vocals turn from muted falsetto to hyperbolic rap in seconds and he expertly navigates the shrieking screams and sharp syllables of new single Get It On.
Only Real’s live show is an extravaganza of juvenile dramatics, hypnotic hip hop influences and psychedelic, retro beats. His talent is astounding and it’s a certainty that we will be hearing more from him in the near future.
Photo: Alexandre K
For further information and future events visit Only Real’s website here.
Watch the video for Get It On here: