Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017

Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017

If you were to ask me to name my top 5 artists of 2017 Loyle Carner would certainly be one of them; he may even be number one. He crafted one of the greatest debut albums of 2017 with Mercury nominated “Yesterday’s Gone” and tonight he delivers it live to a sold-out O2 Institute.

I’m clearly well outside the demographic of the crowd tonight, the majority are in their late teens or early twenties and it is easy to understand why if you listen carefully to the storytelling of Loyle Carner. His lyrics quite clearly speak to a generation, but saying that his musical style and poetic feel are clearly something unique and as such, I believe he speaks across generations.

The evening started with Brixton duo Elisa and Srigala and as far as support acts go they were probably perfect for this gig. They blended a soulful Erykah Badu sounding vocal (Elisa) with some melodic beats (Srigala) and it actually really worked. You could see that the crowd respected their sound and the duo were feeling really privileged to be on stage as the warm-up act.

They are certainly worth checking out and you can find their music on Soundcloud.

Loyle Carner came on stage at around 9 to the blissful gospel sound of “Isle of Arran”, carrying his lucky football shirt and he was straight on it. The stage was set out like a living room or a better likening might be a 1970s office, with a huge backdrop of a football shirt. His superb beatmaker (and occasional rapper) Rebel Kleff was set up on a table that looked like bookshelves with vinyl records on. It was one of the most unique stage sets that I have seen in a long time.

When I think of the influences that he cites it is easy to see why I’m loving this gig. He is basically a storyteller like some of the greatest hip-hop artists and poets that have come before him. For me, his work reminds me of Benjamin Zephaniah but set to an infectious, beat-driven and beautifully soulful sound.

21-year-old Loyle is a performer in many senses of the word – yes his music tells a story but so does this gig. It is almost like a chapter in a constantly evolving novel. He wanted to give us a history of the time that he has spent in Birmingham, the people he has met on his travels over the last 7 months and how much he misses his mum. He blended this with audience participation, in particular with the Tom Misch featured track “Damselfly”, but I think everyone in the venue knew the lyrics to “No CD” and “Ain’t Nothing Changed”. His sense of humour came through when a bra landed on the stage prior to “Stars and Shards” which saw hands being waved in the air in an 80s hip-hop style. He showed so much emotion when he sang 2014’s “BFG”, a song about his late stepfather and one that really hit home bringing a tear to my eye with one line “Of course I’m fucking sad, I miss my fucking dad.”

It was nice to hear tracks from 2015 single “Tierney Terrace” and “Florence” as well as a brand new track which I will call “9-5, Price is Right”. During the one hour set, I’m fairly sure we heard his entire debut album – including all acapella tracks. He ended with a poem before leaving the stage to the title track of the album.

He has a humility that is refreshing to see from an artist almost not realising that the world is very nearly his. Tonight was a relatively intimate setting for a soon to be huge artist. His sound is wonderfully unique and his live performance is just captivating. This is simply the beginning. Trust!

Setlist (I think)

The Isle of Arran



The Seamstress (Tooting Masala)


Stars and Shards


No Worries

9-5 Price is Right


Mrs C

Tierny Terrace

Ain’t Nothing Changed

Sun of Jean

Left stage briefly



Yesterday’s Gone


Reviewer: Imran Khan

Photographer: Adriana Vasile

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One Response to “Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017” Subscribe

  1. John Wright October 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    Very good photo!
    Nice work!
    I hope to see more of you…

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