Paolo Nutini

Exeter University, Exeter on Sat 13th Jan 2007

Months after the gig was first scheduled and with tickets going on ebay for treble face value for this sell out show, Paolo Nutini and band finally roll into Exeter before heading to Europe for the rest of their tour and wows an audience dominated by adoring fans who re-pay the favour by singing ‘Last Request’ back to them.

The crowd are going delirious, most of the student population of women are here tonight and there’s the occasional boyfriend or bewildered group of men. ‘Just Too Good To Be True’ turns into a sing along as the intro music heralds the arrival of this dashing lad from Paisley.

Paolo Nutini

I cannot understand a word he says in his thick Scottish accent throughout the night, not that I can hear him that well over the screams of adoration! The lighting for the evening is impressive and the blue beams blinding the stage light us up as Paolo’s cracked voice croons ‘Alloway Grove’ the delivery takes some getting used to – he’s bent over face staring at the floor.

The band around him are very accomplished, Michael McDaid does a stirling job on bass, Donny Little is superb on guitar and Jim Duguid may not have drumming full of frills but he’s great on keyboards and it’s not often you see a drummer doing both tasks in a band.

When Paolo dons a guitar for ‘Rewind’ the stage is awash in glowing red/pink light and half the crowd join in. Donny’s guitar work is sublime and very soothing, as are the lights which are a perfect counterpoint to his gravely vocal.

Paolo Nutini

‘January’ is a departure from the debut album and showcases his thoughtful lyrics and title track ‘These Streets’ is well presented by Paolo and Donny unaccompanied by a rhythm section. The lighting sets the moment and every girl in the audience knows every word – it’s quite incredible to hear.

‘55 to 1’ is a new tune seeing Paolo and co attempt country music. He does a passable impression of a country singer and we clap along to the railroad beat. Donny’s slide guitar completes the illusion. The lighting is reminiscent of a sixties club and Paolo’s stripey jumper and the construction of their music wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Six Five Special’ for instance - it’s like we’ve travelled back to the late fifties.

Paolo sings ‘Dolphins’ a statement about the world and the environment unaccompanied with Celtic knotworks spiralling behind him, he plays it to us, just because he likes it. I’m surprised it’s so gentle, and yet still can captivate the Saturday night crowd.

‘Autumn’ returns to more familiar ground, perhaps because of the new track and the sea of phones recording it, the crowd remain quiet and Jim shines on keyboards still playing his cymbals at it’s climax. The band all return for ‘Rainbows’ and the phones are all out recording it again. Am I the only one who finds this intensely annoying? The band let loose, descending rapidly from high fragility to low slung blistering rock and roll for ‘Jenny Don’t Be Hasty.’

Paolo Nutini

The song is no longer sounding like the radio version, deep red lit and a jazz funk opening more akin to the Shaft soundtrack it builds to a crescendo, the boogie is unlocked and the whole crowd is writhing to this grooved up version, rather surprising but terrific to hear. The band saunter off under the light barrage and the intermission builds to a hubbub.

Moody blue lighting sees the band return for ‘Northern Skies’ a similarly moody song, before a belting cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ which is at least as good as her original, and Paolo contorts himself as he breaks the words from his throat.

The band exit an almost silent arena, and as he stands up keyboardist/drummer Jim mouths, “More!” to the crowd and it erupts! Of course they return for the ‘Last Request’ which imbeds itself into the heads of everyone on the walk home who can be heard humming it as they issue out into a warm night. The song itself is only part performed by Paolo and band, from the second chorus – Paolo and the band stop silent as the huge wall of female voices sing it back to them. Impressive. The band wind it up and it’s been surprisingly good entertainment.

He’s a talented lad and it shows in the song structures. Tonight the crowd adored him, I wasn’t expecting to like Paolo, but it was far better crafted than I suspected and a pleasant revelation. Possibly boosted by it being a Saturday night and the venue being mainly full of young attractive women, who appear to worship his tales of wistful love.

Set list:
Alloway Grove
New Shoes
Million Faces
These Streets
55 to 1
Natural Blues
Loving You
Jenny Don’t Be Hasty
Northern Skies
Last Request

article by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams

published: 15/01/2007 23:06


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.