LIVE REVIEW: Paolo Nutini, O2 Academy, Birmingham, 28/10/2022
Photo Credit: Jodie Canwell
Any album after an eight year break is a surprise and an accompanying tour is an even bigger surprise, however when Paolo Nutini almost subtly announced his comeback tour with his highly anticipated fourth album Last Night In The Bittersweet, excitement was an understatement for his fans across the country. A thorough UK tour to demonstrate that the long break wasn’t wasted was exactly what his fans were looking for.
As soon as Nutini was ready to come on stage, the entire crowd chanted his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army which significantly raised the energy for the night. He instantly revealed his strong and experienced vocal abilities with his first tracks, Afterneath and Lose It, both being a part of his latest record. The former being a perfect way to introduce his new style to the crowd as it serves a wavy yet familiar prologue to the album which says to the listeners “I am back and better than ever”, Scream (Funk My Life Up) followed which served as a reminder as to how much Nutini’s sound had developed from his hiatus. The crowd didn’t mind the shift however as they were ready to join in to sing the title whenever it came up in the song.
A long stretch of songs from the new album such as Acid Eyes and Through The Echoes filled up the bulk of the middle of Nutini’s setlist which is understandable as this is the tour to promote it. However, we saw it as a shame that he didn’t spend too much time with his older material as that is more than likely the way that the attendees were introduced to him. The atmosphere remained high until Nutini urged everyone to quiet down as he introduced a solo acoustic version of One Day from his 2014 album Caustic Love. People went so far to shush others that were still talking so they could witness the sound of one man and his guitar. The experience was breath-taking as he didn’t need to compete with drums or other guitars but we thought that having such a slow tune in the middle of a run of more upbeat songs generally broke up the flow of the concert.
There was no more reason to worry about this however, as after another stretch of songs from Last Night In The Bittersweet, he dived straight into Pencil Full Of Lead from his second album Sunny Side Up. This version of the song surprised us as compared to the very folk sounding studio recording, it has been converted into something more reminiscent of mid 2000’s Kings of Leon including stronger riffs and louder drums. Following this was a mash-up of Jenny Don’t Be Hasty, New Shoes and Teenage Kicks by The Undertones. Although they were fifteen years old, his songs sounded like they could have been released even more recently as a result of their brand new aesthetic of a mix of punk and hard rock.
Nutini slowed the entire set as the night was beginning to wind down starting with Candy and leading on to Everywhere and Iron Sky. After a night of epic highs and slower ballads, ending the night with a raw example of his astounding vocals was the only appropriate conclusion. The sold-out crowd could only stand in awe as Nutini showed off what just one person can do, and we think he pulled it off successfully. With the evolution of some of Nutini’s older tracks and his new sound shown in his new album, we are eagerly waiting to see what is next in store for him as the only direction is up for him. 9/10
Written By: Jack Delve
Photo Credit: Jodie Canwell