Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Review: Paolo Nutini at Belsonic, Belfast

Paolo's croaky voice brings warmth to a cold night

Paolo Nutini performing at Belsonic Festival in Custom House Square, Belfast
Paolo Nutini, from Paisley in Scotland, on stage with members of his band, The Vipers, in Belfast's Custom House Square
Preparations for Belsonic Festival in Custom House Square

Paolo Nutini last played Belfast just eight months ago, at the Waterfront.

Last night's Belsonic headline slot was a rather speedy return, though eight months probably seems like a lifetime to the 23-year-old singer.

The fans weren't complaining either, having snapped up all tickets for this Custom House Square gig weeks in advance.

The rain held off for most of the night, though 5,000 expectant souls were huddled in the cold as Nutini and his seven-piece band sauntered onstage half an hour late.

Dressed in jeans and a striped jumper, the Paisley-born vocalist flopped about, rarely moving from centre-stage or communicating with the crowd.

He certainly isn't the most dynamic performer — and with his raspy voice Nutini is like a 70-year-old blues vet in an indie rocker's body — but the audience hung on his every croaked lyric.

Opening with the upbeat reggae of 10/10 and lurching between pop, funk, soul, jazz and country, the Italian-Scot gave new meaning to the word ‘eclectic'.

It was like a Jools Holland programme in which every time Jools spins around to introduce a band it's the same musicians playing in a different style.

Still, the likes of Alloway Grove, Candy, Worried Man, Pencil Full of Lead and New Shoes got the crowd moving — though it may just have been to keep warm.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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