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Nutini rules

'I've not felt such good vibes in a long time." So says Paolo Nutini as we chat backstage shortly before he steps out on stage at T in the Park last night.

Glasgow rockers Twin Atlantic, above, and  Katy B, right, helped warm up the Balado main stage crowd for Paolo Nutini
Glasgow rockers Twin Atlantic, above, and Katy B, right, helped warm up the Balado main stage crowd for Paolo Nutini

The Paisley-born musician is riding high right now. His latest album, Caustic Love, debuted at No.1 and was the fastest-selling record in the UK, and he even pulled Germany in his band's World Cup sweepstake. The man, it seems, can do no wrong.

These positive vibes Nutini hopes will travel well across the pond as he heads for the US to bring his gritty Scottish soul sound to the land he credits for Caustic Love's inspiration.

After weeks of shuttling across Europe playing to sell-out crowds and with global stardom beckoning, the singer said he was looking forward to getting reacquainted with his home crowd as he prepared to take to the stage last night.

He said: "I'm happy that the opportunity to play T in the Park came about with the album just released. It's only been out for a matter of months so it's nice to kind of segue back into things and take these chances.

"A Scottish audience is a different crowd to anywhere else. I've done the Barras and I've done King Tut's and it's like there's a rope and the audience has one end and I've got the other and we're pulling on each other.

"You've got to take care not to go too deep into yourself and forget about them, and likewise you don't want to give them too much and forget about your own performance. You hope there's a balance and an equilibrium."

Caustic Love has pleased most critics. With its mature lyrics and raw sound, one writer described it as the best R'n'B since the 1970s.

However, he can't please everyone, with others asking why he doesn't do more of the things he's done before.

"It's always worth fighting for what you believe in," he says. "You might get people who instantly dismiss it, but hopefully they'll come back to it from a different angle. The weirdest things can happen."

The album is a world away from the 27-year-old's earlier, lighter, pop tunes, and he believes it's his most accomplished record to date.

He seems genuinely surprised that so many fans have taken it to their hearts.

"Atmosphere and production-wise, I felt that, when we finished it, it was like watching a film whereas the other albums you were flicking through a collection of episodes, and I think that's what people have been warming to."

Having conquered Europe, the Scot has already played one gig in the US this year to a crowd of 1600 at a one-off event. Caustic Love is yet to be released stateside, but when it does it will be a case of the music going back home, according to its creator.

"If there's one thing I love about America, it's the music. One of the first records I ever heard was a Drifters record," says Nutini. "That led to listening to people like Clarence Carter, The Coasters, Solomon Burke, it just went on and on. I was drawn towards these musicians and the Stax guys like Issac Hayes and Eddie Harris.

"Their music is the one thing where I could say, 'that's my thing.' Other people would have their bands to listen to, but I loved the way these men were out there singing about their vulnerabilities, singing about their weaknesses or how they have become enamoured with this person and that's all they can think about and that's what's keeping them up at night."

Nutini himself knows something about such vulnerabilities and weaknesses, with his own career having gone through rough patches.

Nutini insists that Caustic Love is his most personal album to date and that it had been a good feeling to give his muse full rein.

"Maybe it was just the right time to tap into those things I'm talking about. It's more honest in its essence than trying to conjure up a song like the ones on the earlier albums."

Next up on Scottish soil will be two concerts at the Hydro, Glasgow's newest and biggest music arena.

Despite his headline status, he said he was at first unsure about playing a venue of its size, but has now come round to the idea after the success of Caustic Love.

"I've always said I should do small shows rather than do a big show for the wrong reasons. But what led us there is that people were p***** off that they weren't getting tickets.

"So we said, 'let's try this'. I've heard good things about the Hydro. I mean, Clapton strolled off, but the other bands that played there say the sound is fantastic.

"I was worried that any message that I had or any subtlety or nuance would vanish in a theatre like that but I'm hoping it will bring a more personal aspect and that's what led us to try these shows out."

For now Nutini is on a roll. Last night, along with Scottish band Twin Atlantic and Katy B he kept the T in the Park fans more than happy, despite the break in the weather that brought rain to Balado, receiving a hero's welcome when he took to the main stage.

The biggest cheer of the day rang around the grounds when the frontman launched into his set with a full-throttle rendition of hit Scream (Funk My Life Up), the first track of his new album.

The vibes were indeed good.

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