Paolo Nutini and Martha Wainwright

First appeared on Never Enough Notes on July 16 2010

Live at the Eden Project, Cornwall on July 2010

Eden Sessioners are massive fans of what they know and what they like. But if they’re not sure, they’re more than happy to just have a chat with their mates which is something that Martha Wainwright has had to cotton onto tonight: “I would talk to you but I don’t think I need to, there seems to be a lot of talking going on away” she says wryly.

After a day of sporadic torrential rain, the sun has come out for tonight’s main acts, the first of two sold-out sessions from Paolo Nutini and Martha Wainwright. It is the season finale of an epic set of gigs that has seen acts from Jack Johnson, to Mika, to Doves play in the futuristic Eden Project setting.

Wainwright starts minimally with acoustic tracks including the beautifully executed ‘This Life’. The band then melt on stage for ‘Bleeding All Over You’. There is a tranquillity to Wainwright’s set and although the crowd is chatty they still seems to be listening intently. This gig is part of her ‘Martha Sings Piaf’ UK tour and she plays three of these songs now, full of passion, dedicating one to her mother, Kate McGarrigle, who died at the beginning of this year.

This along with the premature birth of her son Arcangelo has meant that Wainwright has not had the easiest 12 months, the fact that she is back on tour and delivering great shows deserves to be highly commended but a lot of this emotion is lost here.

In contrast, Paolo Nutini springs on stage vibrant and full of enthusiasm to a crowd screaming with excitement, flanked either side of his set with the dramatic theme to The Godfather, perhaps a reference to his Italian ancestors.

Unlike many chart favourites the 23 year-old singer songwriter shows he deserves to be taken seriously as he moves effortlessly moving between reggae, soul country and pop, his band is also very adaptable. Like Wainwright, he plays a smattering of covers including a version of MGMT’s Kids and a song from Jamaican reggae star John Holt.

Despite his slightly worse for wear appearance Nutini has obviously planned this set well, saving one of his biggest hits ‘Last Request’; to the encore, the perfect ‘lighter moment’ with the same stillness that marked his performances of tracks such as ‘These Streets’ contrasting the vibrancy of ‘Jenny Don’t be Hasty’ and ’10/10′.

The show is very impressive, the whole band are giving it their all; there is some skilful VJing and lighting. Although he makes the odd mistake, Nutini’s loveable rogue smile and laid back manner means that the audience is putty in his hands and he seems to reciprocate this positivity along with a sense of awe for Eden’s futuristic setting he leaves the stage with “I love you Jurassic Park”.

8/10

 

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