Incense smoke wafts out of the unisex bathroom in Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom, and the man ahead of me is grumbling about having to wait in line. Catching onto his Scottish accent, my friend and I chat with him about the U.K. and how popular Paolo Nutini is back home. “But this concert sold out quick,” he says, “so I guess Paolo’s a big deal here, too.” [lead image via TheDailyPaolo.com]
Ever since his 2006 debut album These Streets sold over a million and a half copies, Nutini has been a rising sensation across the world. He’s a Scottish singer song-writer with a lot of selling points: an achingly real voice that has drawn Adele’s praise, a back-up band replete with saxophone and gospel singer, and a rock-star stage presence.
Paolo Nutini brought all of that and more on June 12th at the classic East Village venue. There were a lot of love songs. Some, like “Tricks of the Trade,” were blue-lit acoustic numbers that left the attention on Paolo’s voice. Some, like “Pencil Full Of Lead”, ignited the crowd with their rollicking energy. Throughout it all, Nutini pretty much stayed put at the microphone, transitioning quickly between songs. The showmanship came in the singing itself. He ended the night on “Iron Sky,” a popular release from his newest album, Caustic Love. The melancholic song, with its spliced-in excerpt from Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator speech and Nutini’s abrupt exit from the stage, left the audience in a poignant wake.