Gig review: Paolo Nutini - Glasgow Hydro

Paolo Nutini played the Hydro, weeks after cancelling his two show late last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Paolo Nutini played the Hydro, weeks after cancelling his two show late last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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THE cancellation of his two-night stand at Glasgow’s Hydro arena late last year due to tonsillitis at least afforded Paolo Nutini the chance to return home for an unexpected birthday celebration in the company of several thousand friends.

Paolo Nutini - Glasgow Hydro

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The cancellation of his two-night stand at Glasgow’s Hydro arena late last year due to tonsillitis at least afforded Paolo Nutini the chance to return home for an unexpected birthday celebration in the company of several thousand friends. He was glad to be here, noting that he’s at least escaped the clutches of rock music’s notorious “27 club” (of artists who have coincidentally died at that age), and the crowd was glad to have him.

Often, in catering to the demand from a larger than usual audience on familiar turf, a homecoming hero can book a gig like this and look a little lost on the big stage. For Nutini this wasn’t the case – he may have had help from the huge screen surrounding him and a masterful live band including a three-piece horn section, but it was his sheer ability and the crop of good songs he’s developed organically over time which served him so well.

As gruff and shy as he may have appeared when addressing the crowd, his performance was masterful. There were shades of Isaac Hayes to the keyboard and horn stabs of One Day and more than a hint of Otis Redding amidst No Other Way (introduced by Nutini as “one for the romantics”). He cycled through funk on Scream (Funk My Life Up), blues on a retooled medley of older hits Jenny Don’t Be Hasty and New Shoes, and an epochal kind of classic rock on Iron Sky.

An almost contemporary cover of MGMT’s Time to Pretend aside, it’s the canon of classic, emotion-baring old-school rock stars to which his talent has slowly but most surely admitted him.

Seen on 09.01.15

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