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The View From Far Out: Loyle Carner - Academy 2, Manchester

Just a couple of weeks since we were given the chance to finally wrap our restless lugs around Loyle Carner’s debut LP Yesterday’s Gone, Far Out just had to catch him bring the record to the live stage.

As we were expecting, there are a few bits and pieces that illuminate tonight’s show which the London hip-hop prodigy held back until the album’s release – and his set is all the richer for it this time around.

There was – many would suggest inevitably – a slightly more raw sound to Carner’s breakthrough EP A Little Late – an enthusing collage of bedroom samples and effortless, genuine flow.

Yesterday’s Gone, however, immerses the listener even more, with samples taken from a lost album recorded by Carner’s late father and a spoken word interlude featuring his mother reminiscing over his exuberant youth. Both are incorporated into the show tonight, adding a touching element of personality to the night’s curtain closer, which marks the end of a set greeted with euphoric elation throughout.

The similarly youthful audience is defined by a sea of camera phones that threaten to dominate our eye line from the back of the room at times, but this does nothing to quash a performance that is on point from the off – and that goes for Carner’s beat-master and occasional MC best friend, Rebel Kleff, as well as the man himself. The pair trade verses effortlessly over a reworking of A Tribe Called Quest’s classic ‘Check the Rhime’.

There’s another guest too on album stonker ‘No Worries’, with UK hip-hop stalwart Jehst appearing for a bonus cameo.

Tracks like ‘BFG’ and ‘Cantona’ still shine next to the new material, with a deafening call-and-response chorus on the former proving one of the moments of the evening.

You would think all the hype of the last year or so may have hardened Carner’s reaction to adoring crowds, but he still looks truly humbled when casting his eyes across the vista of a packed-out, sold out and blissed-out audience. With between-song chat that is as warm and enthusing as ever, he takes them back to a support slot with Joey Badass a few years ago, which played host to a far more sparse group of onlookers.

It’s been a joy to watch Carner from afar as he has crafted and developed the sound that has resulted in Yesterday’s Gone, but the most exciting bit has to be that he is really only just getting started.

Patrick Davies