Scottish artist crosses the pond for local show

by Jack Haworth, Staff Writer

Twenty-seven-year-old Scottish artist Paolo Nutini performed in front of a packed house on Monday, Sept. 29, at the House of Blues, San Diego. The musician brought an impressive collection of songs and a nine-piece band with him for a fun-filled night. If fans closed their eyes, they could imagine listening to an artist from decades ago: someone like an Otis Redding, early Rod Stewart or even Marvin Gaye. Instead, they were listening to a current U.K. soul sensation.

pauloOpening for Nutini was an alternative-folk band from Baraboo, Wisconsin, by the name of Phox. They warmed up the crowd with smooth songs highlighted by the powerful voice of lead singer, Monica Martin.

The excited crowd was a mix of old and young fans all waiting for one person, Paolo Nutini. Finally it was time for Nutini and his nine-piece band to take the stage.

He started off on a high note by working the crowd during “Scream (Funk My Life Up),” a song from his newest album, “Caustic Love.” His third studio album received popular reviews since its release back in April and features 13 songs, which range from psychedelic rock to deep soul.

It’s the soul in Nutini’s voice and delivery that sets him apart as an artist. His voice begins soft and calm and as the music builds up, so does his voice. It begins to sound rawer, even like a growl, until the peak when the entire performance explodes with the unfiltered emotion that only soul music can bring.

Throughout the set, Nutini played most of the songs off his new album, including the soothing song “Someone Like You.” There were also heartbreaking numbers such as “Let Me Down Easy” and “Looking for Something” in which one could hear the pain in Nutini’s voice.

However, Nutini made sure to mix in plenty of high-energy songs especially when he combined two of his biggest hits, “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” and “Shoes.” This mash-up was performed flawlessly and the crowd approved with roaring applause.

A dance party broke out among the crowd when Nutini played a rousing version of his 2009 hit single “Pencil Full of Lead.” Arguably, the highlight of the entire show was the climax of this song where Nutini let out a bluesy yell, the horns exploded with sound and the crowd went into frenzy.

The show finished with a very intimate encore with just Nutini and his acoustic guitar. While Nutini’s thick Scottish accent was difficult to understand, the crowd loved his humorous banter in between his final songs and cheered loudly.

The night came to an end after Nutini played his 2006 single, “Last Request.” Nutini allowed his fans to sing along with him and left everyone with the feeling that they each had the chance to perform.

It was a perfect conclusion to a night filled with great music from a great artist. While Paolo Nutini is already huge across the pond, it’s only a matter of time until he reaches that popularity here in the U.S.