Saturday, Jan. 27, The Annex, 9:30 p.m.
Three days after he plays a small Madison club for a $10 cover charge, Paolo Nutini will conquer New York City. The 19-year-old Scottish pop sensation will bite the Big Apple with studio appearances on the Today Show and Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Then he'll rock a sold-out Bowery Ballroom. It's all part of the U.S. release of his debut album, These Streets.
Young fans who idolize Nutini back in the U.K. would gladly buy scalper's tickets to this Saturday's Annex show, if only they could get here. Most of Paolo's spring 2007 European concert tour has already sold out. His record was released in Britain months ago, and it's already gone platinum.
Here's the short version of what's behind all the hype: Thousands of women think Nutini is drop-dead gorgeous. Onstage he oozes charisma and sex appeal. He can sing and play guitar. And his songs are pretty good, even by standards higher than Tiger Beat.
Despite his Italian name, Nutini was born and raised in Paisley, Scotland, where his father and grandfather have operated a popular fish-and-chip shop for many years. Bitten by the musical bug, Nutini quit school at 16 and moved to London to begin performing at clubs. Just after his 18th birthday, he was signed to Atlantic Records.
The first single off These Streets is a captivating soul-rock number titled 'New Shoes.' The chorus symbolizes Nutini's own overnight transformation from regular guy to international pop star: 'Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right/I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling; it's so inviting.'
Atlantic's publicists are wasting no time emphasizing Nutini's heartthrob credentials. The label's press release supporting the new album says many of the songs 'tell of Nutini's already rich romantic life.' An example is 'Jenny Don't Be Hasty,' which narrates the story of Nutini's hook-up with an older woman in a London bar.
'She was 23, so I told her I was 22 ' and she believed me,' Paolo is quoted as saying with a grin. 'In fact I was only 18.'
Will Nutini be as popular in the U.S. as he is overseas?
Madison, here's your chance to decide.