Gig Review... Only Real @ Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London, 3rd June 2014

                Arriving at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, there was already a brewing essence of pretentiousness about the evening – walking around the foyer to try and find the bar (the venue for the show), I encountered a lobby-based DJ, a cash machine with a minimum withdrawal amount of £300 and an apologetic woman turning punters away from tonight’s sold out “guestlist only” (it wasn’t) show. Prior to Field Day at the weekend, the set-up included a delightful, easy-listening yet artistic set by My Sad Captains; before the one man DIY project that is West Londoner Niall Galvin (a.k.a. Only Real).
                Previously being compared to the likes of Jamie T and King Krule, Only Real whittles out half-rap half-90s alternative which is centred around sun-soaked, distorted guitars. Sharp lyrics, childish behaviour and reverberating melodies were on show as he ran through the likes of ‘Blood Carpet’ (after a well saved “technical difficulty” during the Beavis and Butthead based intro) and glowing new single ‘Cadillac Girl’, which seems slightly slower live but has a lot more punch. Niall’s conceited presence made for divisive viewing, but it’s hard to criticise something that glimmers with such enthusiasm and energy. The juvenile bravado is, however, well contradicted by Niall and his band’s ability to almost perfectly execute their sound – highlights included ‘Punks And Potions’ and ‘Jerk’, a song which is from Only Real’s debut album expected to be released early next year.
                Instead of converting his relatively small experience into a lamentable piece of work, he’d rather keep a fresh, na├»ve outlook at his shows – this approach seems to draw a mixed audience, split between those who enjoy the recorded work and are inquisitive about his live show and whether he has got what it takes, and those who share his laidback approach and are there for the kicks (in this case, a large number of girls who wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Made In Chelsea). Notable attendees included Only Real’s mates Childhood, one half of RIzzle Kicks, Mikill Pane and DJ Premier. Despite the mixed response, ‘Cinnamon Toast’ ended the show by bringing everyone together in a synchronously energetic sway and dance.
                If you’re attending Field Day and are looking to enjoy a short laidback set to absorb the summer vibes, look no further than Only Real – he plays on Saturday at 14:30 on the Shacklewell Arms stage.

Only Real played:
(Intro)
Blood Carpet
Punks And Potions
Beastie
Backseat Kissers
Jerk
Get It On
Cadillac Girl
Cinnamon Toast


Written by Richard Maver