Thursday the 12th of October
This year Benjamin Coyle-Larner a.k.a Loyle Carner put his first album out. After generating a significant fan-base from the few singles he released prior to Yesterday’s Gone he visited Manchester for a number of small shows. Now with a debut album and a Mercury nomination under his belt, he returns to Manchester to pack out the O2 Ritz.
Loyle Carner’s family-oriented brand of confessional hip-hop is reflected in the staging at the Ritz. A lamp illuminates the decks from where Carner’s longtime friend and producer Rebel Kleff provides the beats. An armchair sits off-centre next to a whiskey cabinet and potted plants are dotted around.
The effect that you’ve entered Loyle Carner’s London home seems at odds with the fifteen hundred yelling fans as Carner walks onstage. Nevertheless, as the show gets underway it’s hard not to feel a sense of familiarity with the grinning 23-year-old. His continuous bantering with the crowd and genuine warmth are infectious and are reciprocated by an attentive and eager crowd.
Loyle Carner works his way through the material from Yesterday’s Gone as Rebel Kleff lays down simple yet groove filled beats. There’s nothing too complicated about the production but that simplicity works well mixed with Carner’s intelligent lyricism and energetic delivery. In the absence of layers upon layers of instrumentation what remains is stripped back hip-hop that’s refreshing and fun.
If there’s any major issue with the show it’s the lack of material. With only one album to his name, Carner doesn’t have much variety in the tracks he plays. However, with stories and jokes woven between tracks it never becomes too noticeable and on ‘Damselfly’ Tom Misch’s rich backing vocals provide a welcome change of pace.
On ‘No Worries’, Rebel Kleff emerges from his corner to join Carner on stage. Although he doesn’t detract from the performance his flow is a little too similar to Loyle’s to make his rapping feel necessary. However, consistent with the album version Loyle Carner ends the track in fantastic fashion with a brilliant freestyle.
The show closes with Carner and Kleff jumping across the stage and the crowd singing along to ‘NO CD’. The two walk offstage and the crowd begins to filter out. It’s certain that Loyle Carner has celebrated great success this year and it’s easy to see he deserves it.
With his abundant supply of enthusiasm and energy, it is clear Carner won’t be showing any signs of slowing down. It will be exciting to see where the next year takes him. Hopefully, back up to Manchester.