By Dylan Bryant (Music Editor)
“One I’ll never forget” shares Loyle Carner (Benjamin Coyle-Larner) on his social media in the hours after his show at The Brighton Dome on the 5th of March.
During the set Loyle Carner spoke about his love for Brighton and told the crowd how he’d spent the day on the pier and eating fish and chips on the beach with his son. Pinning it as a show he won’t forget didn’t feel surprising when I saw the post on his Instagram the next day. Some gigs just have that atmosphere – when you feel like you’re experiencing something special. A standing ovation that lasts for what feels like 5 minutes as the show concludes solidifies just this.
Loyle Carner isn’t just a rapper. He’s an artistic muse who is one of the most genuine and thought-provoking MC’s on the UK rap scene.
The British rapper, singer, and songwriter is currently touring his sensational new album Hugo which blends his intense and instantly recognisable delivery with his bold and imposing production.
After gaining popularity in 2017 with his debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, Loyle Carner has gone on to accumulate Mercury and Brits nominations, as well as NME Awards. With his 2019 record Not Waving, But Drowning charting at number 3 in the UK albums chart – he is now one of the most recognisable names in the UK music scene having just sold out Wembley Arena with an additional date at Hammersmith Apollo.
Loyle Carner opens the set with Hate – the first single from his newest record. Screams instantly filled the room as he burst on to stage to the pounding drum beat and hammering piano chords of the explosive track. The atmosphere was palpable as the tone was set for what was about to become the best gig I’ve been to in 2023.
Loyle Carners newest record Hugo – named after his Dad’s car number plate (which we find out during a mid-set story) sees him write with such a refreshing sense of clarity. This is beautifully delivered live as Carner expresses the importance on various topics from mental health and family to knife crime before he performs his songs.
In Georgetown, Carner incorporates lines from Half-Caste – a poem by John Agard, which adds a poetic dimension to the performance. Whilst Still (a personal favourite song of Loyle’s) sees him acknowledge his personal fears of releasing the honest and reflective track, but ultimately believing it could have a positive impact on the discussion around mental health.
Loyle Carner constantly refers back to the phrase, “take these words and go forwards”, which fills the room with love, appreciation and happiness. This gig had a beautiful energy and I felt genuinely lucky to have experienced such a powerful performance.
The set was perfectly balanced featuring 9 tracks from Hugo, whilst fans enjoyed belting the lyrics to his classics such as Loose Ends and Ain’t Nothing Changed from his first two albums.
A personal highlight was Nobody Knows (Ladas Road) – a powerful and anthemic track from the latest record, which I have had on repeat since the release.
Loyle Carner closes the set with HGU – a beautifully honest track about his relationship with his dad. “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you, after everything we’ve been through” sings Carner as the crowd listen in awe of his talent and honesty – A beautiful ending to one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.