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Coachella 2009: Paolo Nutini veers toward the conventional*

April 18, 2009 |  5:56 pm

PaoloNutini_250 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