Paolo Nutini - Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
It is a rare occurrence for the Wales Millennium Centre to host rock or pop concerts which is a shame as the acoustics are second to none. Times are hard though and this financial white elephant is forced to demean itself and scrabble around in the populist dirt looking for a shiny penny or two. They certainly struck gold with Paolo Nutini as it is a total sellout tonight and the auditorium is buzzing with anticipation well before the man takes to the stage. It all comes as somewhat of a shock to this usually sedate venue however and staff are left aghast each time a punter does anything reckless like stand up, I mean, just think of the health and safety paperwork that’ll have to be filled in…
Paolo is so convinced that the show will be a success that he kicks off with the optimistic ska funk of ‘10/10’. It is a slick show and Nutini has surrounded himself with some devastatingly proficient musicians who look the part but are nonetheless content to melt into the shadows. Their rock solid performance allows Paolo to relax and soak up the adulation of the women in the crowd who are apparently all too eager to mother the poor young waif.
His voice is, as you’d expect, astonishing. Far more vibrant and gritty than he’s thus far managed to capture in the studio he’s a genuine soul sensation. Fears that this could turn into a Simply Red style smugathon are soon dispelled; he may occasionally stray into the Hucknall vocal range but the overall package is far more organic, reminiscent of greats like Van Morrison or even Ronnie Lane. If there’s a criticism to be levelled it is that he’s still too reliant upon coasting on Coasters covers but, on this evidence, that’s a crutch he’ll be tossing onto the fire before the year is out.