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Review: Paolo Nutini kicks his tour off on Tyneside in style

Paolo Nutini was at the Metro Radio Arena to debut his biggest UK tour yet, and he left no-one in any doubt of the talent and charisma which got him there, says James Harrison

*****

 

Getting a gig right isn't easy.

There's a fine art to making sure everyone hears their favourite songs and still gets a unique experience.

But for Scottish songster Paolo Nutini this is not an issue – every live song gets an individual treatment.

Kicking off his biggest UK tour yet at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena, the reigning GQ Man of the Year weaved just the right blend with a set list that rose and fell with the crowd almost perfectly.

Bowling onto stage he launched straight into radio favourite Scream (Funk My Life Up), from third and latest album, Caustic Love, and instantly had the sell-out crowd on their feet.

He then slowed things down for a couple of soulful renditions of stock album tracks before ramping up the tempo once again with Jenny Don't Be Hasty, from his debut long-player, These Streets.

This wasn't the radio track everyone knew and loved though, this was a great big stadium rock treatment of his modern classic.

Nutini is a natural showman – a troubadour for the 21 century – bounding across the stage like a man possessed and swinging his microphone around like a young Mick Jagger.

His cheeky-chappy personality shone throughout and when he dedicated a song to his mum, it prompted the obligatory chorus of “awww”.

Nutini is blessed with a special and unmistakeable voice that soaks every word in his signature and very natural charisma.

And when he dismissed his band to sing fan favourite These Streets solo, it was a joy to hear in its unadulterated form.

It also had every voice in the house belting out what must be one of his best known and best loved songs in an Arena chorus.

After that, the Paisley-born 27-year-old had a canter through some album tracks until he arrived at another fan favourite, Pencil Full of Lead.

Anyone familiar with the song will know it as a jaunty trumpet led number but here he gave another stadium rock, guitar driven treatment that went down a storm.

By the time he got to wrapping things up with Last Request everyone in the arena was left in no doubt that they had seen something special.

It was a show that delivered something for everyone – from the quiet and understated in Better Man to the brash exuberance of Scream.

And although the atmosphere did go slightly flat on one or two occasions it was quickly rescued.

Overall, Nutini gave Tyneside a night to remember and hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later.

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