All photography supplied by @MikePalmerPhotography.
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it one hundred times! We love a bit of Loyle Carner at GIGsoup! The south London rapper hasn’t toured for a while, but that certainly doesn’t mean he’s been idle. Carner, has of course, been working on his second album ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ and has been drip-feeding singles such as the sacrine and visually tripped out ‘Ottolenghi’ and the Jorja Smith featuring ‘Loose Ends’ since the year began.
His 2017’s debut ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ reflected the kind of heart-on-sleeve veering to the side of awkward lyricism that we’ve come to expect from Carner. But it also felt like the realizing of an artist who is growing into himself and his sound, featuring conscious rap blended with hip-hop/jazz production
‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ is a slight side-step for Carner; maintaining the same sound and delivery as his previous works whilst diving headlong into a different subject: his new found love. Lyrically, it makes you feel a little guilty when you listen, almost like your being bad and peering into a diary of a friend. It’s awkwardly confessional. But, that’s why he is loved by so many, and what makes him oddly unique- saying the things we all want to say to our mums, brothers and lovers when we’ve had a few too many lager shandys.
On Thursday, a few hundred fans were selected at random from a hugely popular ballot to watch Carner present a slew of groovy and soulful tracks, both old and new. On the night, Waterloo’s House of Vans hosted not only Carner’s music but a large array of art by both the rapper and the likes of Damien Hirst and The Connor Brothers. This particular show seemed reflective of Carner’s willingness to dip his toe into many bodies of water. He recently announced that his cooking school for kids with ADHD will be starting back up again this summer and he’s been collaborating with Vice to get more young Liverpudlian’s into music to name a few side projects.
House of Vans is a bit of a silly venue, making you feel like you skated as a teenager when in reality you actually sat inside and played Tony Hawk’s. It’s all cement walls and bold looking logos slapped to the wall. Just so you remember where you are. The crowd was warmed up by Carner’s collaborator and DJ Rebel Kleff who is responsible for Carner’s unique jazz-filled production flair. Kleff was, of course, shortly followed by Carner who bounded onto the stage, rattling through a huge range of his hits, old and new. ‘Aint Nothing Changed’, ‘Florence and ‘Isle of Arran’ were all met with moving singalongs from a crowd of fans. So catchy and eponymous is Carner’s work, that even ‘Ottolenghi’ and ‘Loose Ends’, both from his new album had a few onlookers repeating them word for word. Pretty impressive stuff, especially when you get to sing-a-long with guest starts Jordan Rakei and Jorja Smith respectively.
In closing tradition, Carner brought out his ever referenced idol and mother Jean, hugging her and his new girlfriend in front of a crowd of adoring fans GIGsoup has followed Carner since humble beginnings and it was great to see him fully basking in his much-deserved success. We didn’t want to give too much away about ‘Not Waving, Drowning’ because it really is a storybook that needs to have your full attention.
You can listen to ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ on all the major streaming platforms.