Paolo Nutini, a winsome 19-year-old from Paisley, has no problem winning a room. The boy with the face of an angel, and the voice of Otis Redding gargling gravel, shambles on to the stage of Edinburgh's Liquidroom to a hero's welcome. It is, perhaps, no more than he deserves. This summer, his debut These Streets, a collection of soul-infused numbers about growing up and "getting freaky", sold more than 100,000 copies in two weeks. He has sold out venues single-handed. He has supported the Rolling Stones, although he may not care to remember the day Keith Richards mistook him for Darius Danesh.
By the time the main event arrives, the Liquidroom crowd, featuring screaming schoolgirls and blue-rinsers alike, has already had an earful. Callal, a charming gaggle of north Edinburgh indie kids, kick off the evening with some winning lines and some less than winning harmonies.
There is less banter and more quality from Unkle Bob, whose engaging folk-pop has been given real urgency by their new bassist, Tad McDonald, and the increasing swagger of their established members. Forthcoming single "The Hit Parade" is greeted with particular enthusiasm - and itscentral line, "I want to get laid, I want to get played, I want to walk down the hit parade" - must have resonated with the young Glaswegian in the wings.
Nutini's performance is riveting, if a little inconsistent. On the big numbers, and there are four or five on his debut album, he is heart-stopping. "Rewind" contains some exquisite phrasing - and as he drags his vocal cords over the stuttering rhythms in the line "when I kissed you in the hallway", he displays a musical sensitivity one might expect of Van Morrison.
At times, though, his understandable lack of material lets him down. Tracks such as "New Shoes", a straightforward little rocker where he and his three-piece band work their instruments into a little sweat, seem a touch workaday. Unlike many new acts, though, Nutini is unafraid of a cover - and the upbeat version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" markedly improves upon the original.
This year, singer-songwriters, from the execrable James Blunt to the admirable Ray LaMontagne, are big business. On tonight's performance, Nutini could sell more records than both of these acts combined. But he needs to develop a body of work. All in good time. Tonight, he begs our forgiveness and asks if a "pissed boy from Paisley can dae another cover". Since you asked so nicely, Paolo.Reuse content