Live // LOYLE CARNER, O2 Academy Brixton, London
South London rapper throws his biggest birthday party at O2 Brixton.
Before Loyle Carner has even walked out onto stage at the O2 Academy Brixton, the crowd break into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’. Tonight, the rapper celebrates his 23rd birthday with a sold-out show at the prestigious 5,000 capacity venue.
As hordes of eager fans wait impatiently for the gig to begin, the stage is set up to perhaps resemble Carner’s bedroom – a large desk station set up with a Mac, a leafy plant, a lamp and a couple of football trophies; a cabinet complete with multiple bottles of booze including a bottle of Jack Daniels, and beside it a grand leather armchair. An oversized red football shirt with ‘Carner’ on back is used as a back drop. It provides fans with an intimate insight into his life, and gives the show a very personal touch before it’s even begun.
As the lights fall the crowd roars, and Loyle prances onto the stage to the gospel choir – lead opening of ‘The Isle of Arran’, with a red football scarf around his neck and an overly large grin.
Carner’s sound is original and endearing – whilst labelled as a ‘hip hop’ artist, his music has a much more emotional feel than that of the typical hip-hop genre. His debut album Yesterday’s Gone (2017) explores themes of heartbreak, grief and loss and friendship. Musically, there are incorporations of old-school soul as opposed to RnB style rap, and every word of his hour long set is chanted back to him, seemingly much to his surprise.
It is very clear how much a show of this scale means to the South London born rapper, and at just 23 years old he’s already come a long way, and is only set to go further.
Photos: Katie Willoughby