Paolo Nutini’s third and latest album, Caustic Love, debuted at number one upon its release in April 2014. A pretty mean feat, so how was he to continue his winning streak? By touring up and down the UK, of course.
Tuesday 3rd June marked the final date of the tour, with no better place to end it than at Camden’s renowned Roundhouse, a venue known for attracting only the best in music, including past acts such as The Doors and Jimmy Hendrix, and more contemporary names like Paloma Faith, Travis, and now Paolo himself.
The night kicked off with Haight-Ashbury, a folk-blues trio mixing the twang of a country riff with the pounding of a simple bass drum, their haunting voices singing the story-like lyrics with power through each track. With a 30-minute wait between their set and the start of the main event, the audience were left in nervous anticipation to see one of Scotland’s biggest acts perform one of the fastest selling albums of 2014 – and he did not disappoint.
Easing into Scream (Funk My Life Up), it’s obvious Paolo loves performing, especially to an audience as receptive as his. A variation of ages, tastes and styles, everybody’s focus was on him and his music. Caustic Love certainly steps away from his 2009 release Sunny Side Up and debut album These Streets (2006), with his latest output full of hard-hitting, soulful lyrics and catchy, funk-influenced melodies.
The 16-track set, followed by four encore songs, definitely impressed the sell-out audience, with Paolo and his band carefully selecting songs from all three albums, as well as a welcomed cover of CHVRHCES Recover. Tongue-in-cheek Numpty, melancholic Better Man and upbeat Coming Up Easy were amongst the highlights, showing off Paolo’s ability to switch between the tender, touching tracks and the more lighthearted moments from his back catalogue. One Day, a personal favourite of mine, followed suit, with the leading man able to show off his vocal skills, holding onto the longer notes and reverberating them through to the cores of everyone in the audience. Alongside faithful performances of new and old material, the band also reworked the normally upbeat Pencil Full Of Lead into a slower, low-key number, moving into the equally stunning No Other Way and hard-hitting Iron Sky, featuring a backdrop film sequence from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (the film from which Paolo samples a roaring speech from Chaplin himself).
Ending on an encore performance of Jenny Don’t Be Hasty/New Shoes, Funky Cigarette, the beautiful Candy and debut single Last Request, there’s no denying that Nutini is one hard-working man. Having traveled and developed as a person and an artist over the last eight years of his career, his style may have changed but his talent has stayed the same. Possessing a talent unlike any other, Paolo’s sensational vocals are mesmerizing, with his voice sounding as perfect live as it does on the record.
Review by Jazmine Bradley