The 56th edition of the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival is officially underway, with crowds flocking to the Lake Geneva shoreline for 16 days of unmissable music. Returning to full capacity for the first time in two years, Montreux is back with its biggest line-up yet, including performances from the likes of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Stormzy, Diana Ross and many more.
Following on from John Legend’s ebullient set on Monday, Paolo Nutini took to the 4000-capacity Auditorium Stravinski last night, just days after the release of his brand new record ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’, which is on course for a UK Number 1 album.
Adorning the stage in a denim shirt and t-shirt, he proudly shows his stripes as a tenured performer, and the crowd welcomes him. The 35-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter’s fourth studio album marks his first release in eight years, showcasing a plethora of tracks from the comeback release. Beginning with the symphonic album opener ‘Afterneath’, Paolo stretches his yearning syllables over a fleeting fuzz guitar before his rhythm section kicks in and brings the whole crowd into an uproar. He continues the tour of his latest material with ‘Lose It’, ‘Acid Eyes’, ‘Echoes’ and ‘Petrified’, interspersing them with tracks from his 2007 album ‘These Streets’ including the fizzling title track preceded by a raucous transition from ‘Jenny Don't Be Hasty’ into the ubiquitous ‘New Shoes’.
His hazy pop-rock is brought to life by the acoustics of the auditorium, catching each fleeting crack in his candid vocal delivery in full technicolour, allowing each phrase to breathe. Crowd pleaser ‘Candy’ is met with rapturous applause, whilst the reflective, teary ‘Iron Sky’ ebbs and flows before the coda utilises the full force of his supporting band. Nutini calls an end to the night with the near 6-minute epic ‘Shine A Light’ — a new mid-album track that serves as the perfect dessert to an outstanding performance. Nutini commands the audience into collective movement, rendering him not only a remarkable songsmith but equally a born performer. His comeback is welcomed by the zealous audience, who will no doubt be pulling the album off the shelves as they exit the lauded Stravinski.
Paolo has previously topped the Official Albums Chart with 2009’s ‘Sunny Side Up’ and 2014 record ‘Caustic Love’, and if tonight’s performance is anything to judge, he’s about to pick up his 3rd number one album.
With many more incredible performances yet to come, this early highlight gave a fantastic sampling of this year’s thrilling Montreux line-up, as the town comes alive with life and culture for two weeks this July…
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