CONCERT REVIEW: Paolo Nutini w/ Matt Hires and Erin McCarley @ Opera House, Toronto – July 31, 2009
Despite Scottish singer, Paolo Nutini, not being as well known here as he is across the pond, the Opera House opened to a surprisingly sold out crowd. His demographic seems to be college-age girls and middle-aged women (who also dragged along husbands and boyfriends). I guess that goes to show that a handsome musician with an accent will make just about any girl swoon at any age.
To open the show was Matt Hires, a singer-songwriter with boyish good looks and a good voice. But “good” is nothing too special. The best song he performed wasn’t even written by him, but a cover of MGMT’s “Kids”.
Erin McCarley, most known for her songs featured on TV shows like One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy, was the second opening artist. She was alot better live than I expected and played a half hour set which included her popular songs “Pony (It’s Okay)” and “Love, Save the Empty”. But then again, popular is a relative term as many people in the venue didn’t seem to know or care who she was – talking through her entire set.
Therefore, a little tip: If you’re an artist who wants to get noticed, Paolo Nutini might not be the best artist to open for – his fans don’t seem very receptive.
At around 10 PM, Paolo Nutini finally took to the stage to perform to a crowd of restless and seemingly sexually frustrated bra-throwing girls. He immediately commanded the stage with his soul-gutting performances and powerful vocals, but his stage banter was seriously lacking – and when he did attempt a little conversation, his accent was so thick us Canadians had no way of understanding. However, that didn’t seem to bother his lovestruck audience who beamed from ear to ear, not even trying to hide their silly little schoolgirl crushes. Nutini had the crowd hanging on his every word and singing along with every song, not missing a beat. So, if you’re not too familiar with his lyrics – study up, my friend – or you’ll be the only one left standing there all shifty-eyed clapping along and pretending to sing along all the while hoping he never holds the mic up to your lips. There’s no denying that Nutini knows how to put on one hell of a show, but it’s his off-stage persona that really leave a bad taste in your mouth. You would think that after a sold-out concert, he would want to stay a while to thank his fans. But no – instead he make a run for his tour bus and slams the door without even a second look leaving many girls broken-hearted. If you go to a Paolo Nutini concert expecting a show – one energy-charged charged show you’ll get – but if you’re expecting to get a little meet and greet with your favourite artist, you can expect to leave disappointed.
Paolo Nutini fans are hardcore. Devout followers; there is rarely ever an in-between (in my experience). If however, you just happen to fall into the latter, be prepared to fight your way though an obnoxiously rude crowd. Oh, and apparently smoking is a prerequisite. I guess someone forgot to send me the memo.