Paolo Nutini - Night & Day Manchester - 17.7.06

You just cant manufacture the sheer sexuality that Paolo Nutini possesses. In factories around the world companies are trying to bottle what is fast becoming the Paolo effect - like CK1 Paolo is an artist for a man or a woman if the cries are anything to go by. A mad scottish woman shouts how she's travelled 285 miles to see Nutini, it may not be the 500 miles as mentioned in the Proclaimers song but it's an amazing display of dedication for an artist a few months back was virtually unknown. Seconds later lairy scouser are desperate for Paolo to whip of his top for the lads. Sexuality oozes out of Paolo - the pouty lips of Jagger, the tussled hair of Bolan and the sort of body that Germaine Greer would lust over as one of her boys.... this would all be to waste if it Nutini didn't have the songs and vocals to back it all up, but when his deep Scottish spoken brogue slips into the 20 cigs a day rasp you understand why he could become the icon of this generation. Singer songwriters have got a bad rep recently with the likes of James Blunt and Katie Melua polluting the airwaves, but Nutini is genuinely inspiring and these songs have as much relevancy to this generation as the Arctic Monkeys or Razorlight. The fact that he chooses to play they relatively stripped down and bare with a rootsy instrumentation means that although undeniably at least 50% of the audience is here because of his looks there's another 50% who would normally listen to Bob Dylan, Tom Waits or Van Morrisson and are here simply because they heard "These Streets" or "Last Request" and decided to see a intimate gig for the first time in years.

"Alloway Groove" proves that far from ploughing mid tempo ballads there's much more than the singles have suggested. Part Rolling Stones and part the Byrds-ian jangle that fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub draw from so often there's a moment when you think Paolo could simply sing out a shopping list and it would sound like the best song ever written. Even an obvious pop friendly hook of "la la la" seems new and the vocals while familiar manage to weave through raspy throaty vocals to sugarsweet soul in the space of one songs. "Million Faces" and "New Shoes" follow but it's the single "Last Request" which initially didn't make an impression on Designer Magazine that really soars with a simple chorus that Noel Gallagher would have loved to written. Similarly "These Streets" performed with just Paolo and an acoustic really hits the mark.

Starting as he'd finished on a modern rock'n'roll classic "Jenny Don't Be Hasty" again dips into everything from The Rolling Stones to Rod Stewart and through to Aztec Camera. It's easy to knock artists who write conventional well written songs but it's always been the mainstream songs rather than the avante garde that stands the test of time and there's enough to suggest
tonight that Paolo Nutini could sell records far longer than his boyish good looks remain.

Alex McCann
Photos: Rebecca Lee

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