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Review: Paolo Nutini, Barrowlands

Marianne Gunn's verdict: five stars

With the imminent release of his new album (Caustic Love, out on 14 April), this might just be a vintage year for Paisley's most famous musical export. The 27-year-old is the headline act for Radio 1's Big Weekend in Glasgow (tickets are available from Monday) while he can also be seen in the capital, a few days later, playing the Usher Hall.

The Barrowland Ballroom has a special place in many musician's hearts, and Nutini certainly seemed thankful to be there. While in a home crowd, he also dedicated a few tracks to his family: Looking For Something for his mum and a little Italian number for his dad (Lucio Dalla's Caruso). Numpty (from his new album) was, cheekily, sung for a close friend.

Caustic Love is packed with some fantastic new songs, and Scream (Funk My Life Up) opened the almost two-hour set. "Let's get this show on the road!" was one of the few discernible mumbles, although Nutini's on-stage diction is, admittedly, much improved. Let Me Down Easy and Better Man, which are already getting considerable radio airplay, were well received while Diana brought a different, more mature feel while also showcasing vocal dexterity and his impressive upper range.

Swigging a few, ahem, apple juices from this point of the night (and clearly enjoying every minute of the music-making with his astonishing 10-piece band) new arrangements of more well-known tracks such as Growing Up had the sprung floor bouncing. One Day and Cherry Blossom were some final offerings from the new album, before a medley of greatest hits reached its pinnacle with a solo performance of Last Request.

Nutini has obviously been working on his showmanship, as well as his musicianship, and re-entering the stage for his encore with a Native American headdress was probably a taste of things to come over what will undoubtedly be a super-busy festival season for this very talented young man. The '80s synth version of Pencil Full of Lead would have found a home in any John Hughes film while his reflective rendition of reggae-inspired 10/10 was testament to his reinvention.

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