Music review: Paolo Nutini, Hydro, Glasgow

Paolo NutiniPaolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini has has grown into a true five-star performer, his former diffidence now looking more like warm confidence, writes Fiona Shepherd

Paolo Nutini, Hydro, Glasgow *****

In the past, Paolo Nutini has made no secret of his preference for the intimate club show over the arena concert but, on the first of a five night residency at the Hydro, he and his superb band thoroughly embraced the possibilities of scale, to put together a two hour set of thrilling moments big and small.

Nutini has grown as a performer – that old diffidence is looking more like warm confidence these days as he unleashed that beast of a voice on soaring opening jam Afterneath, now with added rock screamer edge, then started a teasing Lose It as a brooding baritone and ended as a gospel soul testifier.

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Older songs were repurposed or concertina’d into multi-part epics. Cherry Blossom started subtly, but always with somewhere to go and carved a satisfying psychedelic soul arc.The jaunty new wave inflections of Petrified In Love developed into an LA Woman-style acid boogie version of Pencil Full of Lead, while Jenny Don't Be Hasty was beefed up and infused with a burst of Teenage Kicks and New Shoes.

The quieter moments, meanwhile, were spellbinding, from the understated pastoral folk feel of Better Man to the simple troubadour petition of Through the Echoes. Stranded Words sounded like an ancient Scottish folk ballad with woozy ambient backing, while the dreamy rapture of Take Me Take Mine deserved a reaction as big as the following number Candy, dispatched with a twinkle and a burnished guitar solo.

The encore was introduced by a trippy animated fantasia, and Nutini copping to "f***ing around with the songs". But there was nothing to change in the dramatic conscious soul of Iron Sky, which remained perfect as it was, while closing number Shine a Light has been in our lives for less than a year but already gleams like a timeless talisman.

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