One Night Only at Norwich Arts Centre

Emma Lee Hotly-tipped new kids on the block One Night Only are in Norwich for, well, one night only this Saturday. EMMA LEE spoke to singer George Craig.

Emma Lee

“It's a really quiet place - apart from when the tourists come. It's really picturesque. Nice people, really warm and welcoming,” says One Night Only frontman George Craig. He's describing Helmsley, the north Yorkshire village he hails from.

“Oh and there's a great band from there…soon it's going to be the rock capital of the world,” he adds with a cheeky laugh.

The band, made up of schoolfriends, formed in 2003 when George was just 12.

So, doing the maths, that does make him, yep, still sickeningly young. In fact all of the band members are still in their teens.

“It can be quite surreal. I'll still stop and think 'what the hell's going on'. I can't believe all this has happened to someone of my age,” George says.

Most Read

“Being on the road I've learned to look after myself and be more independent.”

The band - Mark Hayton (guitar), Sam Ford (drums), Dan Parkin (bass), Jack Sails (keyboard) - took the traditional route.

They began as a noisy covers band, annoying their neighbours in the genteel village in the process and mastered their instruments before graduating to working on their own original material.

“Basically we all went to school together. We were originally a four-piece, without a keyboard player. I was into the Libertines at that time.”

So was it Carl-and-Pete who inspired him to get up on stage himself?

“Actually, my brother was always in bands,” he says. “And I wanted to do it too.”

The songwriting is “80 per cent” George, who has been likened to a young Richard Ashcroft - praise indeed.

Reference points include all the greats.

“At the moment I'm listening to David Bowie, Bob Dylan, all sorts of stuff. I'm really into 80s bands like the Cure and Jesus and Mary Chain. I'm going back to albums that I'm not old enough to know about,” George says.

“I write about life and friends and things that have happened. Things that people can connect with,” he adds.

With the support of the likes of Steve Lamacq, who championed their early recordings, things started to move quickly for them and A&R scouts were practically bashing their door down to get them to sign on the dotted line.

In March last year they signed with Vertigo Records, which is also home to Razorlight and the Killers, and barely had time to pause for breath before hitting the road for two months supporting Milburn and the Enemy.

“The day we signed was the best day of my life,” George says.

Then they took a break for some recording - and went in the studio with the legendary producer Steve Lilywhite, who has worked with the likes of U2 and Morrissey.

And then there was more touring to be done - this time supporting the Coral.

Now they're off on their biggest headline jaunt to date, which starts in Norwich this Saturday, in support of their second single Just for Tonight - a Jo Whiley record of the week, don't you know.

And, signs are, that this could be your only chance to see them in a venue as intimate as the Arts Centre.

While they're being touted as the next big thing, George is trying to keep his feet on the ground.

“Things are looking really good,” he says.

t One Night Only play Norwich Arts Centre this Saturday. Box office: 01603 660352

t The single, Just for Tonight, is out now and the band's debut album, Started a Fire, is out on February 4.