After tracking the progress of this enthralling 20-year-old for over a year now, it was with huge anticipation that Far Out headed back to Soup Kitchen in Manchester to catch Loyle Carner on the penultimate night of his first headline tour.
Much talked about stints with the likes of Kate Tempest, Atmosphere and (recent Glass Animals collaborator) Joey Bada$$ seemed to spread the word far and wide, with Carner enjoying ever-growing festival audiences throughout the summer too.
Now taking to the stage bolstered by a big shiny deal with Virgin, it’s time for Carner to really show us what he’s made of.
One of the greatest talents Carner seems to have is an ability to maintain a party vibe when discussing subject matter that is very personal and at times tinged with sadness.
The set kicks of with a burst of unbridled elation from the sold out crowd as a sample from Ariel Pink’s ‘Baby’ provides the backdrop to ‘BFG’.
The track is an ode to Carner’s late step father, with family life providing the inspiration for much of his output.
It looks as if we will still have to wait a little while for this new hip-hop sensation to truly prove his worth with a debut album. There are a few tracks that he plays acapella so as not to give away too many surprises, but the lyrical signs seem very promising indeed.
There’s a dexterity to every line that comes out of Carner’s mouth and a tightness that puts many of the big name MCs sitting on major contracts right now to shame.
The one piece of compiled output that his army of fans do already have to grasp on to, however, is last year’s EP, A Little Late, which we get the majority of – including ‘The Money’, which sees beatmaster and best friend Rebel Kleff put his own voice to a flawless couple of verses.
The night is brought to a crescendo with a rendition of ‘Cantona’ (during which he manages to get the whole venue to join in the infamous Man United ‘oo-are’ chant) and finally the truly explosive ‘OCD’ – a track that carries all the traditional swagger of old skool hip-hop through the semantics of mental incongruence. It’s got a banging call and response chorus which probably helps though.
Carner gives us one final taste of spoken word with ‘Eleven’ and then leaves a stage that will almost certainly be too small for him to revisit next time around. Huge things await in 2016.