Paolo Nutini at The Marquee, Cork, 8 July 2014
Earlier this week, we fought off that inevitable mid-week slump with a trip to The Marquee to check out Paolo Nutini on the first of his two night residency. Both gigs had sold out sharpish and The Marquee was practically vibrating with the buzz as we waited for the gig to kick off.
Though he’s just 3 albums into his fruitful career, the 27 year old Scot has already proven himself to be quite the chameleon. Since the release of his debut record in 2006, Nutini has been the heartbroken heartthrob, the rinky-dink rock-and-roller and now, the leader of a serious funk and soul ensemble. That considered, it was apt that the band took to the stage to Dr. Dre’s The Next Episode as it really feels that ‘Caustic Love’ is a shift in a new direction for Nutini. He was accompanied by a band of 8 which included a 3-strong swinging brass section.
The band opened with Scream (Funk My Life Up), the new album’s lead single, and scream they did. The fantastical level of hysteria that the Paisley lad generated amongst the crowd was brought on by his showmanship and heightened by his matinee idol looks and of course, his natural charisma. Nutini quite frankly, is catnip for the ladies both young and old who made up the bones of the audience.
No doubt they were over the moon to have his 12 ft duplicate projected in impressive live capture visuals as the backdrop for the show. Vocally, Nutini was consistently superb, his great Scottish squall easily permeating the steamy space above the audience wonderfully.
He took a break from throwing shapes when he performed Better Man accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar. Instantly, he made the cavernous tent feel tiny as if he had flicked on the intimacy switch. The crowd ate this up and Nutini showed how he appreciated them when he cracked one of his dazzling smiles. His Scottish brogue caused a mass swoon when he bantered the time away between songs.
Far from a greatest hits set, the program mostly consisted of his newest and in our opinion, his finest material. His cover of fellow Scot’s CHVRCHES Recovery seemed a little lost on the crowd but he won them back with One Day as he fell to his knees, James Brown style.
Then he ramped it up again with a rollicking version of Cherry Blossom followed by crowd favourite, Pencil Full of Lead. He finished up the set with a stirring performance of Iron Sky which features an excerpt of Charlie Chaplin’s impassioned speech from 1940s political satire, ‘The Great Dictator’. From the maturity of this composition alone, it’s clear to see how far Nutini’s songwriting has progressed since he released his debut at just 19 years of age.
The crowd were far from ready to go home and used their feet, voices and hands to make Nutini aware of the same. He responded by delivering an encore of fresh reworkings of his most loved songs, Jenny Don’t Be Hasty with a chorus of New Shoes thrown in for good measure and Candy. He brought the show to a final halt rather appropriately with an acoustic version of Last Request which he delivered alone shrouded in a tricolor, leaving the throng in the Marquee sweaty, weary but satisfied.