After touching down in Manchester just a couple of months ago within the more modest surroundings of Soup Kitchen, the buzz of anticipation coming from a packed-out crowd at Deaf Institute proves the wheels are already in motion for Loyle Carner to become one of the MCs of his generation.
The jump up in venue appears to have the fresh-faced rapper in awe, but never overwhelmed, as he proceeds to treat the audience to a set of infectious hip-hop numbers that range from poignant and raw emotion right through to a singalong of Kanye West’s ‘Heard em’ Say’.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the Londoner’s show is that he narrates what he knows, and perhaps even more importantly, what he feels – a trait that can be all too often neglected in the modern arena of corporately-sanitised rap music. Even the reimagining of West’s 2005 single (fuck, I feel old) sees Carner take complete ownership with some encapsulating delivery on the verses.
Best mate and sample junkie Rebel Kleff backs up this exciting new talent as usual, stepping forward on a couple of occasions to offer a nice vocal counterpoint – most notably on ‘Money’, taken from the debut EP A Little Late.
In a set that is packed with variety given that it is only administered by two people, Kleff also sits back during Carner’s enchanting freestyles and brief dabblings with Accapella. As he guides a transfixed room through his dreams of having a little sister to look after, it’s clear there is no need for overbearing, macho hip-hop in 2016.
There’s news that Carner’s already burgeoning popularity may be set to rocket even further soon, too, as he reveals that the airwaves of the blogosphere will soon be treated to an unveiling of ‘No CDs’ – a standout banger with a call and response chorus that just has to be a hit.
Then to end proceedings the audience get a brand new slice of Accapella – the only bit of extra material he has that can appease the rapturous cries for more as the evening comes to an end.
We’re not sure whether he’s a fan, but Carner’s final tale of the tribulations of a night on the town, contending with lairy bouncers and pissed-up club-goers, very much conjures the same themes as John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Kung Fu International’ – a comparison we would never make lightly.
All in all, tonight has been flawless, but then in just 18 months Far Out has come to expect nothing less from this searingly exciting new talent.
(Featured image by Sonny Malhotra)