It’s a nationally-recognised fact that Loyle Carner is one of the Nicest Guys in the Biz. He’s the guy you’d happily introduce to your mum and he’d probably whip out a dish of Chilli con Carner in preparation of meeting her. There’s a distinct eloquence to his confessional lyricism that showcases a menagerie of people and memories that’ve made him the man he is today - yet he manages to do this without falling into an abyss of corny sentimentalism. At tonight’s sold out Alexandra Palace show, this sense of bittersweet nostalgia is present, yet Loyle celebrates it, diving in headfirst with an eclectic, high energy set with guest appearances by Tom Misch and many others.
Like a decadent five course meal, Loyle’s live show is a tour de force serving up tracks from his Mercury-shortlisted 2017 debut ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ and this year’s ‘Not Waving But Drowning’. Combining everything from gospel choir to soul, laid-back jazz and old school hip hop, tonight these ingredients are amalgamated into a highly danceable yet moving union of sounds through his poignant storytelling.
“I’m from Guyana and it’s always been in my hips – I should’ve listened to my hips!” he laughs while slowly dancing on the stage, addressing one of the most monumental themes present in his work: his mixed heritage and the absence of his biological father. There’s vulnerability and tenderness in his words that stay with the audience, from the heartwarming bromance of ‘Angel’ to quietly moving ‘Sun of Jean’ and ‘Isle of Arran’ - all the way to the wordplay of ‘Ottolenghi’ – an ode to one of his culinary heroes. “Without rain there’s no stunning growth,” he wisely notes at the beginning of the track, perfectly capturing the only thing that really matters – hope. ‘Nuff said, Loyle.
Get your copy of the latest issue
Loyle Carner - hugo
While it feels like we’re still waiting on a total knockout from him, ‘hugo’ suggests he’s verging ever closer.
Album ‘hugo’ is released next month.
He’s heading out on the road early next year.
The album features artists including Wesley Joseph, Madlib, JNR Williams and Olivia Dean.