Paolo Nutini * * * *
at the Carling Academy
Review by Jo Reeves and Naomi Bolton
After two very different support acts, the crowd roared. It was only Paolo Nutini’s drum kit being unveiled. Such is the anticipation for the singer-songwriter’s visit to the Academy.
Comparisons with Jameses Blunt and Morrison abound. Nutini’s acoustic guitar and messy hair have labelled the young Scot as this year’s model, but thanks to a strong soul influence he’s comfortably escaping these comparisons.
One of the new songs, 55:1 has a distinct country vibe – could the next album see a change in style? More unfamiliar tracks lack the heart breaking quality of the debut album These Streets.
The most recent single, Rewind, seems to mean as much to Paolo as it does to his fans, illustrating masterful songwriting.
Jenny Don’t Be Hasty, a story of losing a lover, gets everyone singing along. After the final line "If I’m only eighteen", Nutini exited.
Returning with his second on-stage beer, he performed another new song and – ironically – Amy Winehouse’s Rehab.
Delaying the start of the song to finish his drink, Paolo burbles into the microphone "This is my favourite song at the moment".
As he pulled up his sleeve and started to sing, he revealed his tattoo of three Texas stars. Obtained on a drunken night in the state, Paolo ran out of money halfway through so couldn’t have them circling his arm as originally intended.
Last Request, was an understated but magnificent end to the evening. Daring to ‘pull a Robbie’ Paolo offered his microphone to the audience. He grinned as the Academy belted his lyrics back at him.
Joining the crowd for the final chorus in his honey-and-gravel voice, he matched the promise of his studio album with a live performance of real warmth and humour.