Music: Review: Loyle Carner, Marble Factory

Annie Nash, February 15, 2017

Loyle Carner’s debut album “Yesterday’s Gone” gives an intimate look into his world, family life, heartbreaks and lost father figures, all underpinned by classic hip hop beats, laced with jazz melodies. It’s not all doom and gloom though; as Carner says after his opening song, “Everyone thinks I’m sad, I did an interview yesterday and the man was like, you alright though? You need a hug? But I’m alright I’m actually quite happy!” 

Carner returned to Bristol as a headliner after supporting Kate Tempest in 2015 and selling out The Marble Factory in the summer. The stage is designed in a way that reflects a running theme of family and everyday life. There’s an armchair you can envisage his Granddad sitting in and decks resting on shelves, with keepsakes and a vinyl collection with his album’s artwork, a family photo, backing the stage and turning Motion into his living room for the evening.

So the stage is set and we wait patiently, just as the crowd is getting edgy we see Carner. The lights are up and the sounds of a choir introduce us to the first track off the album, “Isle of Arran”, the crowd are loud, very, very loud and chanted his name until he begged us to stop. Carner is visibly taken aback by the love he’s shown and muses how grateful he is to play to a sold out audience and thanks the crowd for supporting the album before launching into the next song. The two songs that hyped the crowd the most were, “Florence” which Carner explains he wrote for his mum, about the sister he never had and “No CD” which everyone went wild singing, “Oh please, we ain’t got no P’s / Because we spent all our money on some old CDs”.

What I loved about this gig is there wasn’t that mid gig lull, when you feel like I’m enjoying this but I might just pop to the bar or check my phone. Carner brought the audience with him throughout; he has a real skill of making you feel that you’re part of something special. The audience are in the palm of his hand the whole time whilst he peppers freestyles and poems throughout making you feel as if you may have just heard a one off and that this gig had to be the best one so far.

Carner includes a video of his clearly beloved mum performing a poem about him her “Scribble of a boy” before the gig comes to an end and he shares the final and title track off the album, “Yesterdays Gone” a song written by his late father. We wouldn’t let Carner go though, chanting for an encore he came out sheepishly declaring, “I promised my mum I wouldn’t do any encores this tour I got no tunes left but would you like to hear a poem?” And we did, he left the stage singing his dad’s song as we gripped our loved ones and made our way to the exits. 

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