A packed crowd at Birmingham’s LG Arena were more than happy to make Paolo Nutini feel ‘at home’ as he breezed through a ninety minute set-list following his recovery from severe tonsillitis.
Kicking things off with ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up), from number one album Caustic Love, there were no signs of vocal wear and tear after Nutini was forced to reschedule three gigs last week due to losing his voice.
While his songs are usually strong and his performances always from the heart, it is that voice which makes people part with their cash for a ticket.
Nutini and his band seemed to particularly enjoy playing the Caustic Love material, with its dark, electronic soul fitting perfectly into an arena setting.
The new songs sounded muscular, bass heavy and seem to indicate the start of a new era for Paolo.
While the nine-piece band seemed to find their groove in these moments, it was hits from the Scottish-born singer songwriter’s second album, Sunny Side Up, which proved to be the biggest sing-a-longs.
First up from the 2009 album was Coming up Easy, its refrain echoing round the room long after the song had finished.
Later a reworked version of Pencil Full Of Lead sparked mass dancing across all ages in attendance, with Nutini congratulating the crowd on their work afterwards.
Audience banter was kept fairly minimal, save for a confession that the man who had held a crowd of thousands in the palm of his hand had felt ‘nervous’ before the show, before thanking the people of Birmingham for making him feel at home.
The final song of the main set was Iron Sky, by far the standout track from Caustic Love, which prompted huge cheers from the moment its first chords sounded.
While each and every song seemed to hit home with those in attendance on some level, Iron Sky took things supersonic for a few minutes and is clearly the number everyone on stage enjoys playing most.
A four song encore followed, starting with the solemn and reflective Tricks of the Trade before a surprise cover of MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’ brought the party spirit back.
A reworked version of Candy followed before the band left the stage.
The show wasn’t over yet however, with Nutini seemingly intent on playing all night; such was the sense of enjoyment he gave off.
In the end, a tender, solo version of his first hit Last Request brought things to a close, followed by rapturous applause.
If Nutini genuinely felt nervous before the gig, he had no reason to be.
Nobody was left in any doubt as to his capabilities as a performer following this energetic and musically perfect show.
By Jordan Harris
THURSDAY 6TH NOVEMBER 2014