Belfast Telegraph

Paolo Nutini, Caustic Love, review: No sick note for Scottish soul man

By Claire Cromie

We were counting ourselves lucky he hadn't cancelled, as Paolo Nutini was diagnosed last week with tonsillitis that led him to postpone four dates.

So there was a sense of nervousness in the arena; would the Paisley-born singer be on top form for his first live performance since medical advice had forced him off stage?

We were reassured instantly, as he opened with Scream from his new album Caustic Love, belting out the funky number with his familiar raw-throated, gravelly yet powerful voice.

He crooned R 'n' B number Let Me Down Easy sexily - a hint of bad boy - then performed Coming Up Easy in the electric style of James Brown.

An 80s synth version of the popular Jenny Don't Be Hasty was followed by raspy Celtic tones in Looking For Something, a song "aboot tha woman who nursed me back to health".

Much of the set then replicated the self-effacing, apologetic tone of his latest album and his desire to "be a Better Man".

In between songs, Nutini had the disinterested look of an Italian footballer but the minute he grabbed the mic he exuded an intense passion that lifted everyone in the room.

His superb 10-piece band left the stage for an acoustic version of These Streets, but a mass singalong provided plenty of back-up.

Nutini's ragbag of music prompts critics to say he has yet to find his individual sound, but this was his defining attribute - that no two songs sound the same - and I suspect this is precisely why the audience lapped him up.

Four stars

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