It’s almost like watching one of your mates go up on stage and perform, a face you know, that guy down the road who spits bars in his bedroom with his best friend who makes the beats. The stage is set up to look like somewhere you know well, a bedroom with a shelving unit stacked with CDs and records and leather armchair in the corner.
Despite the hype Loyle Carner remains humble, he genuinely is dumbstruck by the size of the crowd and having played in The Marble Factory just one year before, as a support for Kate Tempest, it’s easy to see why he can’t quite wrap his brains around the fact that the crowd that stand before him are there only for him. He’s the new face of UK hip hop and has spoken to and for a generation. His rhymes are honest and his lyrics accessible, no pumped up chat about a flash lifestyle or rock n roll attitude. Instead he speaks about the little sister he always wanted, the father he lost and how ‘there’s nothing to believe in…believe me’. He fesses up that in almost every interview he’ll be asked if he’s alright; ‘people always ask me why I’m so sad…I’m not, I’m alright!’ He enters with the Isle of Arran, a little fidgety, hasn’t quite nailed down his position on stage but as he moves through older tracks like ‘Ain’t nothing changed', and newer releases like ‘no CD’, he finds his groove. His ability to make catchy, simple and raw tunes from both beautiful and sad truths makes him an artist, his ability to reduce complex emotions down to simple rhymes and rhythm that have thousands of people singing along (including Bristol gig veteran Jeff) might actually make him a star.
By the final track the crowd is humming and he brings us all down to earth with something particularly close to his heart – a recoded poem written by his Mum about him as a boy. She has him down to a T in her beautiful rendition of his chaotic unbounded life force. To her, he’s ‘that scribble of a boy’ and after the final song that ‘scribble’ returns to stage to recount one of his poems, a stripped down spoken word that is a final goodnight to a very happy crowd.