Paolo Nutini at The Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
Paolo Nutini at The Olympia Theatre – March 20th
There’s a guy works down the chips shop swears he’s Elvis. Well, actually he’s not Elvis. But he is Paolo Nutini. Looking at him onstage at The Olympia last night it’s hard to believe he’s the son of a single of chips merchant. Posing a slim slinky profile bathed in blue lights, this pin up from Paisley is causing chemical reactions in the crowd. It’s a right dolly mixture of paying punters. Those who were lucky enough to secure tickets for this vintage luxury venue have packed it out. Gazing couples, swooning teenage girls, tattooed boys, bearded dads and quite a few youthful glamorous grannies are here to witness and worship.
And worship they do. Opening with his latest single “Scream“ a single shot of retro vintage funky soul notes. Backed up by brass and gospel “Hallelujah“ choruses hit the spot. A different texture to the older crooner, love song style many have come to know and love. “Let Me Down Easy“ next delivers a reggae tinged tale of selling dreams and redemption. Nutini is clearly at ease with the mutual appreciation in the room, sailing through his set list seamlessly from old to new and back again. The new stuff is absorbed, the old stuff adored. Humble grins greet the folksy flavoured “Alloway Grove” from his “These Streets“ album way back when he was but a bairn in 2006. Dedicating “Looking For Something“ to his mother with “hands that used to heal me only curse me now” emit considerable sadness crafted in 70’s guitar vibes and wrapped in brass.
More new tunes with “Diana“ and “Watch It Fall“, sexy, jazzy, high notes, rich vocals. A new dish from the new menu. “Better Man“ brings back the familiar. A charming tribute to every girl who makes every man “A Better Man.” “And you’ll either love me or you’ll hate me“ he pleads with gravelly intent. For the record, most of them love him. That one’s hard to hate, even the cynical hearts defrost for it. “10 Out Of 10“ and “Coming Up Easy“ hold familiar hands into “One Day” and the fresher rocked up riffed out “Cherry Blossom”. Finishing the standard set with passionate pain and angst of “Iron Sky“ he leaves.
A minute silence before the crowd’s cingey cries of “Ole Ole Ole“ charm him back. A trio of trendy remixes. “Tricks & These Streets”, “Jenny“ and “Candy“ rock out the encore. Edgy guitars, indie riffs, layered bass lines and distorted vocals cut the croon out of this bit. Musical hugs from, the newly formed Nutini Mutual Appreciation Society. Taking up his honest acoustic guitar, he gives us Christy Moore’s “Ride On“. A heart warming gesture of acknowledgement and respect to the Irish fans. It’s infectious. He works it well, almost reluctant to leave the stage as he slips in a few chords of “New Shoes” for effect.
Nutini has evolved from an overlooked, corporate crooner of endless love songs into supersized, full fat, glamorous, intoxicating retro rock and roller. Take note for Electric Picnic, there’s a guy works down the chips shop swears he’s Elvis.
Review by Ciara Sheahan
Photos by David Doyle