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Live: LOYLE CARNER // 170 Russell, Melbourne

170 Russell had the pleasure of hosting Loyle Carner, post the Laneway Festival over the weekend. 

The 23-year-old has had a pretty epic twelve months. After the release of his debut LP Yesterday’s Gone, he has been touring every major festival and headlining shows all over the world.

It was a hot night in Melbourne on Tuesday and the weather was reaching high temperatures too. As the signals aligned, smoke machine pumping and lights down low, the crowd waited patiently for Loyle Carner to enter the stage. He was even gifted an Australian soccer jumper which he held through a few songs. “Football is like a religion”, he said.

“This is the best time we have ever played and I’ve never said that before”, flattering the crowd. As The Seamstress, Florence and Gotham were played you couldn’t keep your eyes of the impressive performer. Moving across the stage with style and ease, his energy was magnetic. And the audience were keeping up the pace. Patrons getting on shoulders and arms up in the air bouncing around in every track was a sight to see, it was a Tuesday night after all.

After opening up about his dad, Loyle moved into Cantona. It only brought the tight crowd even closer. As he stood in awe he pounded his chest, humbled and taken aback the support he was getting from the crowd. It was quite a sight to see.

“What you reckon? We should get some energy back in this room? This one is about South London. This one is called Tierney Terrace“, he proclaimed. As the drum beat came in, heads bounced in unison and arms waved around. A little dose of London in Melbourne is always appreciated. Following that up with Ain’t Nothing Changed was the cherry on the top. He was spoiling us now.

“I’ve been having a shit last few days and you guys have turned that whole f*cking thing all around. Alright you want to hear one more song?”, Carner confessed. And as the guitar came through the speakers the crowd knew to prepare themselves for what was about to happen. NO CD detonated and so did the city basement venue.

“Melbourne is my favourite city in the entire world. And I’ve said that in other places and not meant it. When I say it here I f*cking mean it from the bottle of my heart.”

“I don’t know if any of you have seen my ‘Like A Version’ yet. Do you want to hear it?” Loyle covered 80’s classic Give Me The Mic by George Benson for Triple J and it went off at 170 Russell. The track brought some pure joy to the place and people were grinning from ear to ear. What a great way to celebrate the night overall.

“By this point, no joke, we are off the stage we’re back there we go have a beer and I call my mum but I need to give you something else, I don’t know what it is but I’ll think of something”. The frenzied crowd continued to show their support for Carner but now he was celebrating the audience. To finish the night he performed a freestyle that blew the last of our socks off and a group clap unleashed that lead into an outbreak of applause. Our time together was now over.

“I will never ever forget it. Ever.” And then he was gone.

Photos: Liz Stephens