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Review: Paolo Nutini plays Postbahnhof, Berlin

Although the forthcoming album Caustic Love also features the fruits of recording sessions in the US and some star session musicians, particularly in the rhythm section, on the live circuit Paolo Nutini has kept faith with musicians who have played with him since before his second album, with guitarist Donny Little and bassist Michael McDaid the longest serving members, and Dave Nelson, once of Glasgow band Ashton Lane, and Welsh saxophonist and trumpeter Gavin Fitzjohn only a little behind them.

With the latter joined by Tom Pinder in the horn section, Janet Ramus providing crucial backing vocals alongside the lads and a fine keysman in John Tilley, drummer Jay Sikora is the newest recruit to The Vipers.

Little still has the most flamboyant solos, particularly now on Cherry Blossom, the track that will bring the new album to its climax and the one that is perhaps furthest from the soul/R'n'B feel of many of the new songs and the most rock'n'roll of Nutini's compositions so far.

Elsewhere McDaid has a pivotal role, his melodic bass driving Looking For Something (a heartfelt and moving tribute to Nutini's mother which follows the song for his father, Simple Things, on Sunny Side Up) and in the pulse of Diana, another potential single that should appeal to lovers of Prince and the best of George Michael.

The Berlin audience unsurprisingly includes a large number of young women, perhaps on average a little older than you might expect to see in Britain, although many will, of course, have grown up at the same time as the man onstage. Energised by the powerful set opening of new single Scream (Funk My Life Up), the crowd reacts well to the many hooks in other new songs, Let Me Down Easy and Watch It Fall, the latter featuring fine New Orleans-style piano from Tilley.

Nutini adds his own acoustic guitar to Better Man, nodding towards his earliest style, but other These Streets favourites - Alloway Grove and an encore of Jenny, Don't Be Hasty - are served up in rearranged versions that match the funkier sound of the new songs. The set ends with Iron Sky, certainly one of the most thoughtful of Nutini's compositions so far, its sampling of a famous speech from Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator included in the mix, with One Day, another of the most carefully constructed new songs, as the first encore.

This new expansive Nutini still has room for the sweetness of Candy and New Shoes as concluding crowd-pleasers, but his music has moved on to embrace much more food for the soul.

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