11 October 2006
This was Paolo Nutini's 3rd performance in Brighton this year, first was the Komedia in May during the Great Escape festival, the next was the Hanbury Ballrooms in July. Having seen the two previous performances I knew that his first real big gig in Brighton was going to be something special. The support act wound up their set (some folksy country band) and the crowd of mostly young girls made their way to the best possible vantage point.
Paolo Nutini when you first hear him sounds like he's been singing and touring for years, so well honed are his vocals. This lad is ultra talented not only is he a great singer, not only is he a good-looking lad but he's only 19 years old. The world at times doesn't seem fair, to be honest though Paolo works extremely hard and no one can begrudge him his achievements so far. His debut album 'These Streets' went straight into the top ten at number three, behind Lily Allen and Razorlight who had far more press coverage. His debut single 'Last Request' sailed into the charts at number five, he has gained fans everywhere he has gone with his soulful and well penned songs.
Paolo Nutini entered the stage to a massive cheer, there were a group of young 15 year old girls behind me screaming in unadulterated pleasure, here was their hero and they wanted him to know they were here. Paolo's strong voice drawled through the set with pure emotion, his songs of love and life hitting a chord with everyone in the room. You can't help not being drawn into Paolo's world of sensitive observation. 'These Streets' is a tale of his leaving Paisley the town he grew up in and moving to the mean and often uncaring city of London. The band Paolo tours with have been with him from the start and the well rehearsed tunes glided from their instruments as naturally as a bird in flight. Some of the crowd listened with wide eyes others sang along to all the songs with pinpoint precision. 'What A Day For A Daydream' is a cover Paolo performed at his last Brighton gig and it went down well, this guys voice is so good he could sing the Yellow Pages and it would probably sound great. It's hard to believe how far he's come in such a small amount of time, supported for The Rolling Stones as well as Paul Weller and has his own crowd of die hard fans. The audience suitably warmed up, takes in a few slow numbers and there is a group of girls at the front throwing knickers onto the stage. The music is soulful to the point of being able to seduce and for a moment I cast an eye over the mainly female audience and they looked hypnotised, the attention Paolo commands is deserved.
The girls can't take their eyes off him while the boys in the crowd move to the infectious tunes. 'Jenny Don't Be Hasty' is a great tune although one with limited appeal, the girls love it, it's a sensitive tale of losing a girl he has fallen for because of lying about his age. My own opinion of this song is although it sounds great the lads just aren't going to get it, they don't really go for all that loved up stuff and I couldn't see too many going out to get it. 'These Streets' the title track is the one I believe will land Paolo his first number one, as it has much broader appeal and great poetry to go with it, almost Pete Docherty like! That said the crowd went mad when Paolo performed JDBH and it sounds absolutely fantastic live. Paolo went off, the crowd weren't fooled he hadn't performed 'Last Request' yet and there would probably have been a riot if he hadn't. Sure enough on he came and sang a real slow acoustic number (its all in the build up). Then as if for a last request Paolo performed the song that propelled him from a virtual unknown to pin up king.
They say you know you've made it when the crowd sings your songs back to you and sure enough half way through his song he stopped and the crowd sang it back to him in perfect time. The smile on his face was one of utter gratitude and you could see he enjoys it greatly every time it happens. 'Last Request' finished and the crowd erupted in appreciative applause, Paolo Nutini was not finished. To end one of the best sets I have seen at the Concorde, Paolo finished with a sped up version of Gnarles Barklys 'Crazy', it all worked really well and then Paolo and band retired from the stage to great applause. Paolo said he wasn't pleased with the sound after the gig, well make no mistake he was the only one there who wasn't.
Words: Neil McLennan
Photos: Justin Evans
More Paolo Nutini photos at Concorde 2, Brighton, 11 October 2006
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