Live Review: Paolo Nutini

SSE Hydro – 9/1/15

The Hydro is an undeniably impressive venue. It’s difficult to envision West Coast native, Paolo Nutini, performing to a crowd of this size in such a massive venue . There’s a sense that a primarily acoustic solo artist may get a little lost performing to a crowd of this size; that his sound may not carry to the back of the 13000 capacity venue.  Over the course of the night, these worries were firmly put to rest.

The Paisley-born charmer took to the stage with the confident swagger of an arena headliner. Immediately launching into ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’, Nutini’s sheer unadulterated talent in itself is alone enough to silence any doubters.

Nutini incorporates a mix of the old and new into his set, with hits ‘Jenny Don’t Be Hasty’ and ‘New Shoes’ climaxing early in the evening. These older songs are refreshed with a more mature and warmer sound in keeping with Nutini’s most recent album release, Caustic Love. This fresher sound helps the set, which includes a raucous rendition of ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ and a lighter waving ‘Tricks of the Trade’, flow into one another impeccably.

A “Happy Birthday” chorus arises from the crowd at several points throughout the evening. The show takes place on Nutini’s 28th birthday as a result of the rescheduling of the show due to illness; a birthday he later claims was “one of his best birthdays ever” in one of his many speeches of appreciation during the evening. He darkly quips, “Who would have thought I’d have made it to 28? What were the odds?” A reference to the so called “27 Club”, a club of musicians who passed away at 27, which many predicted Nutini would be set to join…

After a performance of ‘Iron Sky’, backed by a stunning audio visual of Charlie Chaplin’s closing speech of The Great Dictator, Nutini exits the stage to be summoned back by fierce demands for an encore. The encore’s highlight is a rousing cover of MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’, the song’s signature synthesisers replaced by soulful brass.

Nutini leaves the stage a triumphant Homecoming King; leaving no doubts about his ability to command this vast venue and filling it with a truly tangible atmosphere.

[Claire Thomson – @clairecatrina]

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