Smoke, mirrors and a retro edge as Paolo enchants the Marquee

Smoke, mirrors and a retro edge as Paolo enchants the Marquee
Paolo Nutini, Live at the Marquee: Miki Barlok

If anybody in the Marquee crowd was annoyed at missing the Brazil-Germany game last night, there was no sign of it as Paolo Nutini took to the stage just before 9pm. Wearing a leather jacket and with his trade mark swept-forward hair, he was channelling old-school rock and roll and the crowd - mostly made up of ladies of all ages- were loving it.

The 27-year singer from Paisley has changed over the years - becoming more confident and more stylised. Taking in soul, funk, R & B and some classic rock and roll, the 90-minute set showed off his musical talent and his impressive vocal range. His band was also superb - a nine-piece outfit including a bad-ass brass section.

Paolo had the packed - and steamy - Marquee in the palm of his hand - he has just the right amount of Scottish charm and Italian confidence and if, at times, he was veering into swaggering showmanship... well, can you blame him?

All it took to send the ladies swooning was a few almost unintelligible words in that soft Scottish accent and that was it - they were his and he was theirs and it stayed that way for the rest of the night.

The feel of the night was decidedly retro. With a backdrop of his mirror image and the vintage-style graphics distorting him with smoke and fire, Nutini started off with "Scream (Funk My Life Up)". Mainly taking in his newest album, "Caustic Love", he had no problem with playing the crowd favourites too - even if he changed them up a little. A sexed-up “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” with a little “New Shoes” thrown in during the (first) encore cleverly showed how much he has grown as an artist since his first album "Sunny Side Up" while also delighting the die-hard fans.

One of my group checked his phone about half an hour in - 5-0 to Germany - and while that distracted us, it was only for an instant as Paolo launched into the sunny “Coming up Easy”. Any thoughts of the devastation in Brazil were quickly banished as he then got everyone dancing with an irresistibly upbeat “Pencil Full of Lead”.

Paolo has become quite the showman over the years - as comfortable in front of his band as he is on his own with an acoustic guitar. He finished off the night by coming back on stage alone draped in an Irish flag, and played the crowd their "Last Request". The crowd knew it better than he did and they sang it up into the roof of the tent before raucously cheering him off stage.

On the way out, I heard some grumblings over the songs he didn't play (Ok, I may have done that too) but it just shows many crowd favourites he has.

Since he didn't play my personal favourite, I'm just going to leave it here.

If you're heading to the Marquee tonight for Round Two, enjoy and blow Paolo a kiss from me.

Live at the Marquee continues at Cork Docklands until July 15. Tickets for many of the events can still be purchased from Ticketmaster and usual outlets.

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