Coachella 2009: Paolo Nutini veers toward the conventional*
It's hard to fault anyone's impulse to trot out Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher" in a festival setting, especially one like Coachella where much of the teen and twentysomething audience is exhibiting a curious nostalgia about the hippie culture of their parents or even grandparents by way of tie-dyed everything.
But Scottish rocker Paolo Nutini lost the charm he'd created early in his main-stage set Saturday afternoon by abandoning the jug-band-rooted folk for a more conventional rock 'n' soul amalgam.
Fans were bouncing happily to such endearing pop throwbacks as "High Hopes," built on a gossamer blend of ukulele and harmonica.
He's got that field practically to himself, at least in Indio this weekend. He ought to run with it.
-- Randy Lewis
*Update: An earlier version referred to Nutini as an Italian rocker. He is from Scotland.
Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty Images