Paolo Nutini shines a light in summer of 2023

“Who is Paolo Nutini?” I am pretty sure that most people would answer: “Paolo Nutini is that guy who sings New Shoes”.

Wrong! Well, right! Of course, Paolo Nutini IS the guy who sings New Shoes, but he is also more than this. In fact, the right answer to the question should be: “Paolo Nutini is a singer, songwriter – with a career spanning almost 20 years – who has written and composed songs which have become great successes like New Shoes, Iron Sky, Candy or “Scream (Funk My Life Up)”.

If we only focus on New Shoes, we would be tempted to consider him as a “mainstream” artist, and even if he could match this definition, his overall music production can be considered at the borders between “mainstream” and “independent”.

On 1 July 2022 I was on a train from Milan headed to the Montreux Jazz Festival. Headphones on, I was listening to One Night in the Bittersweet, his brand-new album, the first after a hiatus of 9 years.

After a series of appearances to present the first singles extracted from it, his presence at Montreux Jazz Festival – a second home to him – was the first opportunity to listen to some of the new songs performed live for the very first time, and for me a real revelation, because after many years spent chasing him, I finally had the chance to see him live.

On 24 June 2023, after one year of touring all over the world to promote his new album, Paolo Nutini came back to Italy to perform at “I-Days Festival” in Milan.

It was a great night to taste some of his “old” successes and the “most recent” ones, reshaped and transformed with new arrangements. In this special occasion, the audience was also delighted with a tribute to the Scottish folk/rock band Steeler Wheels through their most acclaimed success Stuck in the middle with you.

On 19 July, I was among the accredited press at ZOA (Zurich Open Air) festival in Switzerland.

It was a perfect night. No sign of rain as it was originally expected. When I reached the venue, the sun was still high in the sky and there was a gentle breeze mitigating the hot temperature.

Thala, a female emerging artist born in Germany but raised in Canada, is the opening act. She is so sweet while addressing the audience telling it was the first time for her to perform in front of so many people.

At 9:00 pm sharp, Paolo Nutini and his band take the stage. The setlist and the arrangements are not much different from the concert in Milan. Candy, for example,becomes a real 60s ballad.

Going back to New Shoes, the rearrangement is made for the audience to rediscover it on a completely new framework.

The “grand final” is the transformation of the stage and of the whole venue into a disco club at the sound of Shine a Light.

On stage Paolo Nutini brings all the ingredients and references – mainly the 60s and psychedelia without forgetting Tom Petty – which have made One Night in the Bittersweet the best album in his career and one of the best albums in 2022.

Unfortunately, at least at the beginning, the acoustic, especially for the vocal parts, is not perfect. Sometimes this is the prize to pay when attending open air concerts and most of the times it is nobody’s fault. In fact, wind and humidity and other climate conditions can have a huge impact on the sound and affect the overall performance.

In a summer dominated by big events (Bruce Springsteen), massive tours (Coldplay) and unexpected reunions (Blur) and where artists have become a reference even for the most well-known economists as a possible explanation for the rising inflation in some countries (i.e., “A Beyoncé Price Bounce?”– Paul Donovan – UBS Wealth Management Chief Economist – Weekly Update – 23 June 2023), Paolo Nutini has become the ray of light we all needed in summer of 2023.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email