Loyle Carner – Roundhouse, London (7th May 2019)

Loyle Carner tonight proved why he is the brightest star in British music. At a packed Roundhouse, the London hip-hop gem pulled out all the stops to produce a performance that tips him for future headline slots at the UK’s biggest festivals.

This is the reason Carner is so refreshing. Headline potential when the conveyor belt of headliners is growing tired, old-school hip-hop when grime is taking centre stage and brilliantly grounded when acts seem hell-bent on Instagram-stained celebrity status.

Bringing out Tom Misch, an artist who has picked up a fervent fan-base clamouring for his jazz-beat soul, the pair perform ‘Damselfly’, making the London crowd lose their minds.

Carner was buoyed by the fact his beloved Liverpool were pulling off one of the best comebacks in Champions League history, announcing the score between songs. This homecoming show and his team performing out of their skin. That is the sort of feeling Carner produces, the sort of occurrence that he makes feel like a certainty rather than happy coincidence.

The emotion in the Roundhouse tonight hangs in the stomach, with ‘No CD’ ripping around the circular venue and a buzz created for this crowd knows something special is unfolding.

‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ is the song that sums up where this young influencer lies on the map. Socially aware, in the loop and the feeling he is “one of us”.

Playing tracks from his latest album, ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’, the love felt for new tracks goes further to show how hooked he has the young fans on the British music scene. ‘Loose Ends’, featuring Jorja Smith and ‘Desoleil’ with Sampha, who joined Loyle onstage, add a splash of soul to a set that meanders wonderfully through an array of genres.

Tonight was typified by one moment. Loyle Carner asks the crowd if it was “cool” with them  to read a poem. You can imagine the response. He goes on to brilliantly deliver his lines, before talking of his love for his mother. She was then brought out onstage to read a poem of her own. The biggest applause of the night.

Loyle Carner has buckets of talent, and a heart of gold. Watch him defy the odds, as he goes far in an industry where the knives are always out.